Application Engagement Analytics — The Key to Rethinking SaaS Management

Early in my career, I spent five years implementing software for various teams as an IT program manager. My success in the role depended on understanding how technology helped my company’s people get work done. In those five years. I rolled out roughly 10 applications. While the roll-outs often took months (sometimes years!), the pace was manageable and I had a lot of time to shadow teams and experience the nature of their work. That gave me the first-hand business knowledge to make recommendations and drive technology decisions, and that created a partnership my business counterparts valued. 

This was before SaaS and the consumerization of IT took off which changed everything. Perhaps the biggest side effect of SaaS was what it did to IT: when business units and even individual employees started to source their own software, it meant that IT was often not at the table to help with selection, testing, security reviews, and software rollouts. As compared to my days in IT, it meant that the invitation to shadow a team and experience the nature of their work became less important for business technology outcomes. To boil it down, the partnership IT had with their customers took a big hit. 

The good news for IT (and frankly for their customers who need them now more than ever!) is that by analyzing application engagement, IT can gain a clearer picture of how their customers are using technology. 

What are Application Engagement Analytics? 

Application Engagement Analytics provide visibility into how employees are using business applications and provides insight into how IT leaders can rationalize their application portfolio. Practically speaking, Application Engagement Analytics are about understanding what happens after people log in. It’s seeing the sharing of a file in Box, the use of screen sharing in Zoom, or the notification of an updated Zendesk ticket in a Slack channel. It allows IT leaders to analyze employee engagement with enterprise applications so that organizations can identify cost savings through consolidation, align the number of licenses for SaaS applications with the number of engaged users, and leverage engagement data to prioritize investments on the applications with the most engagement. It’s the who, what, when, where and how that IT needs to reconstitute the tight partnership between IT and the business. 

Application Engagement Analytics address the challenges that IT teams live and breathe every day. It goes beyond SaaS management, and the outcomes are what make a difference in being a true partner to the business. Here are some of those use cases along with how engagement analytics drive to better outcomes:  

Use case The value of Engagement Analytics
Purchasing and renewing software

See the use of the most important features and make decisions to purchase, renew, and expand based on actual use rather than whether or not a license has been provisioned or logged in within the last 60 days.


Example: “At renewal time, give me customized recommendations on exactly which licenses to renew and how much to renew”

Provisioning and deprovisioning licenses

Leverage engagement-based predictive models to get ahead of upgrade and provisioning requests.


Example: “Automatically upgrade Zoom Basic license users to Pro based on individual usage patterns”

Rationalizing application portfolios

Evaluate redundant applications based on whether or not people are engaged with an application rather than if they’ve logged in or have a license.

 

Example: “Help me make consolidation decisions around cloud storage based on feature-level engagement in Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive”

Driving adoption

Target efforts based on engagement at the feature and team level.

 

Example: “Show me apps and teams with the lowest provisioned-to-engaged ratio and run additional training for unengaged employees”

When done comprehensively, Application Engagement Analytics are integrated with HR, contract management, expense reporting, and Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools like single sign-on so that IT can accurately evaluate cost and understand how engagement happens at a team and regional level. This results in more intelligent application use and leads to improved  employee adoption and engagement and increased business performance and profitability. 

Does this resonate with you? Join enterprises like Fox and Equinix and partner with Productiv to understand how your people are engaging with the applications in your business. Sign up for a demo today!

Three key use cases supported by the Productiv + Zoom integration

This week, we’re at Zoomtopia talking with IT and business leaders about the importance of looking more closely at how people are using Zoom and the business value that drives. This is core to what Productiv does for our customers, so we thought we’d focus this blog post on three key use cases that the Productiv + Zoom integration can support.

 

1. Driving Zoom adoption and ongoing engagement

 

Zoom is one of the leading providers of video conferencing and collaboration and has many features critical to meeting business objectives such as reducing travel costs or enabling a remote workforce. As IT teams take on rolling out applications like Zoom, they need to be able to track both initial adoption and ongoing engagement. Productiv provides deep visibility into application engagement, and for Zoom this translates to specifics about meetings across your teams. Productiv can help you answer questions like “Are we meeting our objectives for user adoption and engagement in Zoom?” or “Which teams are lagging behind or where has engagement dropped?”

 

2. Rationalize my application portfolio

 

Application portfolio rationalization should be a continuous process, not something organizations do every 18 months. As part of that process, IT needs to be able to quickly compare one application with another. For example, how is engagement in Zoom vs. Skype for Business? With Productiv, organizations can look at application overlap and compare engagement vs. provisioning with real-time data. This helps our customers make data-driven decisions about on which video conferencing application they should standardize.

 

3. Get ahead of upgrade demand

 

Many applications like Zoom offer different license tiers based on functionality, and it’s not uncommon to initially provision an entry-level license first to a new employee. The downstream implication of this practice, however, is a barrage of upgrade requests that bog down IT teams and slow down end users when they need advanced features the most. Productiv helps IT get ahead of these requests by providing predictive modeling on application use, so that upgrades can be provisioned automatically or through a notification to the application administrator.

 

There are several additional use cases we will explore in the coming weeks. The three shared here are significant and these are the types of things that get our customers so excited about Productiv.

As Milind Wagle, CIO of Equinix put it:

“Productiv gives us engagement analytics and that helps us ensure that we’re keeping adoption and engagement in Zoom at a healthy level. Through Productiv we’re tracking key feature use and getting ahead of requests from employees who require additional functionality. This is tremendously valuable for our business.

Interested in hearing more about Productiv and seeing it in action? Sign up here to see a demo and explore how application engagement analytics can help your organization.

Productiv Insights: How feature-level engagement analytics helped an enterprise drive Zoom adoption

At Productiv, we partner with organizations who want to know not only if their applications are being used, but how, why, and where those applications are being used inside the organization. In fact, one of our largest customers was grappling with these very issues with regard to their Zoom roll-out. They – like many other organizations we work with – had recently decided to make the leap from an existing video conferencing solution to Zoom.

Given the big bet they were making, they rightfully wanted to ensure that Zoom helped them drive stronger internal collaboration across the enterprise. More explicitly, they wanted to see that employees were actually using the key Zoom features that had gotten IT excited in the first place, like high-quality video and easy screen-sharing.

On the surface, Zoom adoption seemed to be going well: 70% of provisioned users used Zoom at least once a month. But our customer still had questions. Were employees embracing video? Had they started using screen-sharing so everyone could collaborate live? Were they migrating off the legacy applications?

The IT leader knew that video conferencing represented both a technology change and a significant behavioral change for users, but didn’t know how exactly to shepherd that change inside the organization.

This is where Productiv came in. With our engagement analytics, we dove below the surface and uncovered two actionable insights:

  • Feature engagement was low: Only ⅓ of provisioned users regularly used the video feature — the rest largely used Zoom as if it were a desk phone! Additionally, a similar percentage — only about ⅓ —used screen sharing. Certainly not what an enterprise wants to see after they’ve made a big bet on a game-changing technology. 

 

  • There were large pockets of adoption laggards: Productiv’s HR system integrations pinpointed users in specific teams and geographies who weren’t adopting Zoom. Although Zoom engagement was high in the Sales organization, adoption within the Operations team was meaningfully lagging. This wasn’t trivial, as Operations was the largest department in the organization.

In particular, Productiv uncovered that Operations was still using the legacy conferencing applications to send private messages, holding the team back from fully migrating over to Zoom. These actionable insights enabled IT to partner with the relevant business heads to double down on enablement efforts for specific teams; further, IT used Productiv to deliver notifications that educated and encouraged targeted users to adopt Zoom.

Additionally, Productiv enabled the customer to set specific adoption goals within the product and track up-to-date attainment against these goals, allowing the organization to stay nimble in their engagement efforts.

Once areas of improvement had been pinpointed and prescriptive actions had been taken, managing the different license tiers across the enterprise posed a whole new set of questions. Like many Zoom customers, this organization had a mix of Basic and Pro licenses, assigned to users based on individual requests. But the process of constantly responding to tickets for Pro upgrades was both tedious and time-consuming; meanwhile, IT suspected that many more users could benefit from Pro features but didn’t know to ask.

With predictive modeling, Productiv configured rules that anticipate license needs. For example: based on an individual’s activity, might they need to be upgraded to Pro in the near future? With our automated license upgrade process, the customer can precisely and seamlessly execute on these customized rules and dynamically ensure that the right user has the right license at all times.

Productiv application engagement analytics helped the customer realize the 70% login figure didn’t provide important feature-level visibility into how Zoom was being used in the organization. If solely reliant on that figure, IT would have been mistakenly satisfied with the organization’s Zoom usage and wouldn’t have been able to maximize the value of their Zoom investment.

We know that IT leaders are faced with a barrage of mission-critical questions like these every day. Join enterprises like Fox and Equinix and partner with Productiv to answer them. Sign up for a demo today at productiv.com!

Productiv + Box: A deeper look at the power of this integration

Box, along with a number of leading collaboration platforms, is key to what many organizations consider to be a transformative moment in how they enable their people to get work done. And even though Box has been a boon to employee collaboration and provided a centralized location for the content at the heart of every-day work, many organizations struggle to drive adoption and understand the value delivered.

Understanding how users engage with an app is critical to understanding the value that app delivers. But what do we mean by this?  Engagement is what happens after someone logs in. By going beyond binary insights like “did my team log in to this app,” engagement analytics leverage feature-level visibility into an application to help business technology leaders accurately measure adoption, track the use of features that signify collaboration, and find where saas redundancy is creating friction in employee workflows.

The customers we talk to about Box engagement typically ask for a few things:

  1. Show us how Box is being adopted
  2. Help us drive the use of Box collaboration features
  3. Show us redundant applications that Box can replace

Show us how Box is being adopted

Productiv looks at adoption in the context of a customer’s environment, segmenting adoption by team, geography, and device type, while also looking at applications that work in concert with Box. In this example we can see that many teams within this organization have a high level of Box engagement. The customer support team, however, is lower than expected. This targeted insight allows IT to focus their time and energy in the right place.

Help us drive the use of Box collaboration features 

Not all applications have the same collaboration capabilities, but Box and many other SaaS apps focus heavily on features that empower users to reach new levels of productivity. Business technology leaders need to ensure that teams are maximizing these benefits in order to drive the intended value from tools like Box. Given the volume of features, however, figuring out where to concentrate IT efforts is not trivial. To support this, Productiv gives organizations feature-level visibility into how apps are used. When coupled with the segmentation described above, it’s easy to focus collaboration analysis and quickly understand how to drive greater Box usage.

Show us redundant applications that Box can replace

How often do we hear or say “where does that file live?” or “where is that discussion happening?” Organizations have brought in hundreds of applications and face new challenges associated with the productivity friction in multiple tools that provide similar functionality, exacerbated by the lack of deep visibility into the value that applications provide. Productiv helps organizations measure and compare applications based on value, going far beyond looking at the “investment” side of the ROI equation. We help organizations see the “return” side as well. And with that, comparing applications that seem to do the same thing can create startling contrasts. At Productiv this is all about asking the right questions when it comes to how people are using applications.

We hope this gives you some more details about Productiv + Box. Are you attending BoxWorks in San Francisco this week? If so, stop by booth B21 to learn how Productiv application engagement analytics can drive better SaaS-related decisions for your organization. And, if you sign up for Productiv + Box at BoxWorks, you’ll also receive a $100 Amazon gift card with our compliments.