Application Engagement Analytics — The Key to Rethinking SaaS Management
Authored by: Scott Hogrefe
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.
|Provisioning and deprovisioning licenses||
Leverage engagement-based predictive models to get ahead of upgrade and provisioning requests.
|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”
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!