Lessons and Thoughts from Oktane 2021

Lessons and Thoughts from Oktane 2021

It’s been an exciting last week highlighted by Oktane 2021. We saw how companies are managing security in a remote environment and innovations around zero trust and identity management. 

We are thrilled to be one of Okta’s Premier partners, and share the same vision on improving security and reducing risk. The post-pandemic world will still need solutions around remote work and managing more and more cloud applications. 

Oktane had:

  • Thousands of participants
  • Over 100 panels and sessions
  • 61 sponsors

It was a great opportunity to network and discuss security and SaaS management with so many important partners, customers, and colleagues. 

Fireside chat with Sylvie, Dropbox CIO

The highlight of the show for us was the fireside chat with our CEO Jody Shapiro and the CIO of Dropbox, Sylvie Veilleux. Dropbox is a joint Okta and Productiv customer, and like many of our customers, faces unique challenges around managing hundreds of SaaS applications. Sylvie shared many forward-looking thoughts around how they’re tackling overseeing risk, training line of business partners, and improving employee productivity.

Changing role of the CIO

Sylvie was the first CIO ever hired at Dropbox in 2017, and has experienced how the role of the CIO is transforming first hand: she had to build out the tech and structure for Dropbox’s IPO. She has watched as the tech and tools that IT needs have shifted and how the CIO role is evolving as well. “I see the role is becoming more and more strategic to the business across all industries. The CIO and their organization have to be strategic partners to the business.”

Rapid Increase in SaaS

The rapid increase and importance of SaaS applications have played a role in that shift. Sylvie shared just how many of the mission-critical apps are SaaS applications.
“Dropbox is a digital-first company and without SaaS we wouldn’t be able to run the business as efficiently as it has been. There is a reason why we see SaaS increasing – it brings value faster and mostly at a lower cost to deploy and manage. However, when it’s not governed well, not only can it become a sprawl, it becomes a big risk for the company, and a driver for productivity challenges. With tools like Okta and Productiv, I can quickly identify investments of low value and engagement and catch anything that may have fallen through the cracks.”

SaaS administration and risk

Sylvie has coined the term “SaaS-at-Scale” and how to manage hundreds of SaaS applications. In the fireside chat she outlines how to best manage these applications and ensure security. She partnered with business colleagues to create oversight starting with a simple 2×2. This creates structure on how to prioritize each application. “The decision is largely based on how broad the technology is within the organization, how critical it is the business and how sensitive the data is.”

Impacting Employee Productivity

Finally, Sylvie discussed how SaaS tools can impact employee productivity and overall business efficiency. The increase in tools has lead to new challenges: “It is a problem when multiple tools are doing the same thing or when employees need to navigate between too many solutions to do their job – this fragmentation creates interruptions in workflows and impacts employee focus – at Dropbox we call this work about work”

We learned a lot from our conversation with Sylvie. The fireside chat is available on-demand for the next two weeks. Please check it out here.

Opportunities moving forward

2021 will be an exciting year, hopefully in a way that 2020 was not. We expect to see new work models, more SaaS applications, and a higher level of focus on improving the employee experience. 

The partnership with Okta and joint customer stories like Dropbox show the potential of where technology can take us. 

Enhancing SSO Coverage with Okta + Oktane 2021

How do you keep your SaaS portfolio secure? Chances are Okta or another SSO provider plays an important role. Productiv integrates with multiple SSO providers to enhance this even further. Our platform helps provide increased visibility and enables you to maximize your SSO coverage. With more and more SaaS applications each year, the problem is getting more complex. The average company has hundreds of SaaS applications, with some large enterprises having over 1,000.

We wanted to share several ways we are improving oversight and reducing risk for all of our SaaS customers. Our partnership with Okta highlights one of the ways we can help IT leaders each day. Productiv uncovers 42% more applications that are not behind SSO. The increased visibility then allows our customers to prioritize apps that need to be behind SSO. 

HashiCorp, one of our joint customers increased SSO coverage from 30% to 80% using Okta and Productiv. These stories are why we are part of Okta’s Premier Partner Program and we are looking forward to more success stories like HashiCorp.

Enhancing SSO Visibility

Earlier this month we released an important feature that can help IT secure more applications behind SSO. Our platform has visibility into over 20,000 applications, and we added an integrated security check for SSO.

Now you can easily identify which apps support SSO and track SSO enablement across your entire SaaS portfolio. See which SSO protocols an app supports and which SSO protocols are being used to log in, as well as the compliance certifications identified for the app. Understand if an app is SAML 1.0 or 2.0 compliant. The result is a clear view on which apps represent risk, which ones to put behind SSO, and which ones need to be deprovisioned.

Continuing the discussion at Oktane 2021

We are excited for further discussions around risk and security next week. Oktane, one of the biggest events for Okta, is happening next week on April 6th – 8th. It will be a chance for in-depth discussions around IT priorities, security, and measurement. Our CEO Jody will be speaking with Sylvie Veilleux, the CIO of Dropbox. Please register for the fireside chat at 12:30 PM PST on April 6th and drop by our virtual booth. We look forward to seeing you soon and discussing how we can help manage your risk and increase your SSO coverage. 


Productiv’s real-time app engagement analytics and security features help you make the right decisions about enterprise SaaS apps. Learn more about how Productiv gives you a kick in the SaaS.

Shadow IT Stats: Top 20 Discovered Applications

Shadow IT

Shadow IT can be as mysterious as it sounds. What’s more, it represents both large risks and great opportunities for IT departments. So, what exactly is it?

Shadow IT represents a number of activities: signing up for free trials, purchasing single licenses without the knowledge of IT, and a lack of app ownership when an app owner leaves their role, for example.

It’s not about stamping out apps and software to reduce costs or create enterprise-wide tool kits. Rather, it’s about learning more about the apps and tools employees are using to do their jobs and discover up-and-coming apps that can put the organization at an advantage.

With this in mind, we’ve used our proprietary Productiv data to learn more about shadow IT stats and trends that are defining the practice. Here’s what we’ve found through our research.

Shadow IT creates opportunities to bring the right tools on board.

Nearly 43% of a company’s apps are discovered and are the byproduct of shadow IT. For clarity’s sake, “discovered apps” are not behind single sign-on capabilities and not managed or purchased by IT.

The ease of purchasing apps directly, even with a credit card, has led to the decentralization of IT across the organization.

When IT isn’t the one swiping the credit card, there is a larger risk of oversight. IT leaders need to leverage multiple sources to uncover all IT across the organization. Productiv leverages everything from network traffic to expense reports to provide greater visibility.

Across our customers, we discovered that the average number of apps per company is 186, 78 of which are discovered.

These discovered apps can enter the organization through a variety of means. For example, a user signs up for a free trial or enlists in a “freemium” version of a product. There’s no logistical need to get IT involved, and thus can often fly under the radar if IT isn’t looking for this type of activity.

As Uber CIO Shobz Ahluwalia shared with us:

“My team wants to adopt new tools, but in a secure and systematic method. Productiv helps us create a sandbox with guardrails. We can test a tool in one department and really understand the business value and the KPIs of a new app. Meanwhile, if a tool is being used by more than three departments, then it becomes a ‘corporate tool,’ and comes under the IT umbrella.

Shobz also believes that allowing shadow IT to thrive can be a faster path to innovation. IT simply can’t always keep up, but by having the right boundaries in place, they can at least find new opportunities in the practice.

The top 20 discovered apps are a blend of popular and niche apps

Productiv App list.

When we looked closer at our data to find what some of the top discovered apps are, we were a bit surprised at the mix. Tools like Adobe Acrobat and Google were hardly curious. Those are big names in software, regardless of your role or job function.

We’re more focused on up-and-coming apps that could help companies to innovate. We pulled the top 20 apps from this perspective, and they include (in no particular order):

  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Tableau
  • draw.io
  • Atlassian Cloud
  • Adobe
  • Miro
  • Grammarly
  • Calendly
  • Glassdoor
  • Kahoot!
  • G2
  • Canva
  • Trello
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Coursera
  • Evernote
  • Google
  • Zapier
  • Postman

Some of these are not surprising since people may be accustomed to signing up for tools on their own. Or, they might be cheap enough that people are buying them on their own.

But some of these, like Calendly, Grammarly, or Trello, could be really useful to a lot more people to help them do their job. This is the whole reason we look at this data: to find out which tools could be useful but aren’t being supported across the organization.

What We Learned about Up-and-Coming Apps from Our Data

While names like Adobe and Google are a common language between users and IT departments, other names like Coursera, Miro, and Draw.io might need a little more translation. Employees like and use these tools for a reason, and IT would do well to learn what these reasons are and see if others in the organization can achieve the same benefits.

Let’s unpack these a little more:


The platform that is arguably leading the e-learning revolution, Coursera provides direct access to online courses from top learning institutions. Users can complete courses and earn certifications and degrees to improve their skills. In turn, a more educated workforce can easily become an organization’s competitive advantage.


A collaborative whiteboard tool, Miro supports remote teams with visual interfaces and real-time functionality. It offers a number of integrations, such as Box, Dropbox, and G Suite, which may fit seamlessly with tools you’re already using. Its popularity surged during the pandemic, and because remote work is likely to continue longer after a “normal” life resumes, companies will need to continue to seek ways to improve collaboration.

There are tons of features within Miro, so using Productiv to see exactly how people are using Miro can deliver more insight into the tool’s overall value.


Draw.io streamlines the creation of diagrams and flowcharts for developers. However, tech-focused roles aren’t the only ones who may benefit. Any team or individual that relies on mind mapping, visual diagrams, or project timelines may find it useful. This is one example of why it’s essential for IT to not only uncover shadow IT but fully understand why people choose the tools they do and how they can help a company innovate.

Shadow IT Stats: The Bottom Line

HashiCorp’s Jim Fazzone says it best: Shadow IT is the opportunity to look for innovation. 

Shadow IT gets a bad rap due to its high costs and a lack of IT control. However, it can also be a good thing when employees take matters into their own hands and allow IT insight into how certain roles need to work and function.

Get Productiv. See Usage. Manage Costs. Increase Productivity.

See usage. Manage costs. Increase Productivity.

Do Your Employees Have App Fatigue? Here’s How to Solve That!

Do your employees have app fatigue

American actress Mae West once said, “Too much of a good thing can be absolutely wonderful.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to enterprise apps. In fact, there’s a phenomenon that’s arisen over the past several years known as “app fatigue.”

In this post, we’ll explore what app fatigue is within the enterprise and how you can solve that problem with Productiv.

What Is Enterprise App Fatigue?

As consumers, we have an endless array of apps from which to choose. Yet it often seems like they all do the same thing. We’re so overwhelmed with so many similar options that we’re actually getting sick of downloading apps.

While IT managers might scoff at the idea of something that affects consumers making its way into the enterprise, app fatigue at organizations is actually a pressing concern.

Businesses are investing in apps without asking key questions:

  • Do we have a similar app in use?
  • Does the app have a positive user experience?
  • Does the app drive productivity?

As a result, employees gravitate to a small number of apps that actually help them get the job done. Research from comScore shows that mobile users spend 85% of their time using just five apps.

What’s the Extent of App Fatigue and Why Should You Care?

To understand the extent of the problem of app fatigue in the enterprise, let’s look at some statistics:

  • Netskope reports the actual number of cloud services in use at a given company is 1,071
  • 71% of organizations have “orphaned” apps (apps with no clear business owner)
  • Orphaned apps cost as much as $8,520 per year per application
  • 97% of organizations don’t have complete visibility into how employees use their applications if they use them at all

There are three reasons enterprises should care about app fatigue:

  1. Investing in apps employees don’t use is a waste of money 
  2. Employees could be turning towards apps that aren’t sanctioned by IT, which puts the organization at risk 
  3. When you don’t have the right apps, employees have a poor experience, which leads to poor morale and potential turnover 

The first of these three bullet points is clear – no one wants to waste money. Yet, many leaders still don’t understand the risks of shadow IT or poor employee experience. What’s more, having too many or unsanctioned applications could compromise security and lead to data breaches. Finally, using the wrong set of apps contributes to a poor employee experience – employees don’t feel as though they can get their work done effectively.

Productiv: Solve the Problem of App Fatigue with Real-Time Insights

App List screen shot.

Productiv’s real-time insights into SaaS apps helps organizations avoid app fatigue by:

  • Providing data on which apps are being used
  • Offering insights into premium feature usage
  • Supplying benchmark data about app usage for realistic goal-setting
  • Determining redundant applications and usage

Providing Data on Which Apps Are Being Used

At the most basic level, Productiv provides data on which apps your employees are using. It tracks logins by user name and shows you how long employees are spending using each app.

With this information, you get a sense of which apps are the most used (as well as if there are any unsanctioned apps). However, this capability is the tip of the iceberg. In the next sections, we’ll explore how Productiv can help your company overcome app fatigue.

Offering Insights into Premium Feature Usage

How many times have you heard this from a vendor: “These premium features are a must-have! Your employees will be so much more productive, and you’ll see incredible ROI.”

Productiv allows you to see whether employees are actually making use of those premium features. You’ll be able to evaluate premium feature usage by license holder, as well as if there are any teams that are making particular use of those features.

Delivering Insights into App Engagement

App engagement” looks at three things:

  • How often are employees using a given SaaS app?
  • How many employees are using a given SaaS app?
  • Are there employees who are using a given SaaS app more than others?

Productiv measures app engagement both during a set period as well as over time. Perhaps when you first invested in the app, employees flocked to it. After two months, app fatigue set in because the app wasn’t driving productivity, and now app engagement has declined.

Supplying Benchmark Data about App Usage for Realistic Goal-Setting

If you’ve invested in an app, you want employees to use it as much as possible so you can see the highest possible ROI. Yet, that might not be a realistic goal, especially in light of app fatigue.

Productiv collects industry benchmarks for SaaS apps. For example, the average engagement across all applications in 47%. With this information, you can understand your organization’s app usage in light of your peers.

There are two ways to look at industry benchmark data:

  • App adoption at your company as a whole
  • App adoption among specific teams

For instance, you could see that for your industry, company-wide Slack adoption is 89%. However, HR teams in your industry are only adopting Slack at the rate of 67%. This information helps you create an achievable strategy for app adoption to ensure you see the ROI you want.

Determining Redundant App Usage

Companies with over 2,000 employees deploy an average of 163 apps. Surely not all of those apps are unique – some of them are redundant. They’re duplicate apps that essentially do the same thing. And your company doesn’t need to pay for them or support them.

Productiv’s real-time analytics create a list of apps that are similar to one another, so you can see if there are redundant apps (or worse, apps that aren’t sanctioned by IT). With that information, you can make the right decisions about app renewals as well as develop a strategy to curb shadow IT.

Overcome App Fatigue with Productiv

Productiv’s real-time app engagement analytics help you make the right decisions about enterprise SaaS apps. Learn more about how Productiv gives you a kick in the SaaS.

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Analyzing over 800,000 Zoom meetings: How COVID has changed collaboration

If 2020 had a single technology buzzword to define it, “Zoom meeting” was probably it. When the pandemic sent millions of people home to work remotely, the video conferencing platform served as a critical tool to keep teams united and communications flowing. 

IT leaders needed to be able to show the impact of remote work on productivity. Are you enabling collaboration across your tens of thousands of employees? Are your IT tools and applications helping employees work remotely? Our clients have invested in  Productiv SaaS Management to take a data-driven approach to help their employees get the most out of their SaaS applications, whether they are at home, or (eventually!) back in the office. 

We wanted to dive in deeper and see how Zoom behavior changed during the pandemic. The Productiv platform analyzes over 100M data points each day, providing in-depth details on how applications are being used and what features have the most engagement. 

We analyzed over 800,000 meetings from one enterprise technology client. The data was from two 30 day periods – one in January 2020 (about a month and a half prior before many nationwide lockdowns) and one in December 2020. Here’s a quick peek at our data findings to see exactly how user behaviors have changed. 

  • Overall number of Zoom users increased
  • 1:1 collaboration skyrocketed
  • Video and screen sharing decreased
  • Recorded meetings nearly tripled
  • Other Video Collaboration tools also increased

Overall User Growth Increased

Before the pandemic, Productiv data shows that about 25,000 of the company’s employees were using Zoom. By mid-December, that number had climbed to about 35,000 users. 

This overall growth alone underscores the importance of having connectivity tools like Zoom when teams suddenly go remote.  

One-on-one Collaboration Skyrocketed 500%

We saw a dramatic increase in the number of internal meetings. Prior to the pandemic, 25,000 users had roughly 62,000 internal meetings (meetings between employees). By December, that number had jumped more than 500% to 452,000 meetings! 

This is another hallmark that demonstrates the increased reliance on Zoom as teams navigate the remote work waters. 

The biggest driver of these meetings was meetings between two people. 69% of these internal meetings were 1:1 meetings. Since people could not simply walk by someone else’s desk, they needed Zoom for these small conversations. 

How many people are in each Zoom meeting. Over 450,000 1:1 meetings in the December 2020 data set (Source: Productiv Analytics)

The Types of Meetings Changed

One surprising area was the number of external meetings actually decreased slightly. While internal meetings and the number of users jumped dramatically, we saw the total number of external meetings drop by almost 15%. In January, 72% of meetings had external participants, and that dropped to 23% in December. Likely many companies were focused on managing existing costs and processes, and external partners became a lower priority. 

How many meetings included external participants. This dropped by 15% even as the total Zoom users increased by 40%. (Source: Productiv Analytics)

The only increase in external meetings was large meetings (over 6 people), which jumped from 19,149 meetings to 41,898 meetings. This implies that employees had less time for small catch-up meetings, and focused on larger alignment meetings. 

Larger Meetings Increased

How do you align overall departments and larger teams when everyone is remote? Marketing or engineering teams cannot have daily stand-up meetings in the same way. Not surprisingly, we saw a jump in larger group meetings. Specifically, internal meetings of over 6 people increased from 2% to 10% between January and December. These large group meetings also had much higher percentages of screen sharing (77%) and video (83%) compared to the average. The shift to remote work created a lot more need for alignment across larger teams. 

Shift in percentage of larger internal meetings. Over 10% of internal meetings were over 6 people in December, up from 2% in January. (Source: Productiv Analytics)

Video and Screen Sharing Decreased

With more people working from home, collaboration becomes tougher. Surprisingly, even with the lack of face to face meetings, Zoom video usage declined. We can surmise that one reason for this is that people are no longer getting dressed up to go to work. 

As for the decrease in screen sharing, this could be directly related to an increase in one-on-one meetings. Check-ins are usually informal and don’t usually require the same tools and materials as, say, presentations. 

Again, this illustrates Zoom’s increasing role as a tool to keep co-workers and team leaders connected outside the office.

How employees used Zoom pre-COVID and mid-COVID. Percentage of users hosting meetings, sharing screen, and using video all decreased. (Source: Productiv Analytics)

Recorded Meetings Nearly Tripled 

In January 2020, about 8% of users were recording meetings. By December 2020, that number had nearly tripled to 22%. 

This trend aligns with one of the biggest downsides of remote work: not having teammates or other resources within arm’s reach at all times. 

The increase in recordings demonstrates a desire to document conversations to refer to them later. This could be helpful in reducing the need for taking notes during meetings, as well as helping meeting leaders holding team members accountable.

Shift in percentage of users recording meetings. Over 22% of meetings were recorded in December, up from 8% in January. (Source: Productiv Analytics)

It Wasn’t Just Zoom

Most organizations have multiple options for collaboration. Zoom may be the best known video collaboration platform, but we wanted to see if other video collaboration platforms showed the same trends. The number of Google Meet users jumped from 4,000 to 10,000, and the number of users attending, sharing screens, and audio more than doubled in each metric. Interestingly, Google Meet saw overall increases in both internal and external meetings, as well as 1:1 and large meetings. Many of these employees also had access to Zoom, but Meet may have been a simple solution if they were already working in G-Suite. 

Number of users for Zoom and Google Meet and overlap between the two tools (Source: Productiv Analytics)

Final Thoughts: Leveraging Data to Improve Remote Work

There’s a lot that app usage data can tell us, especially when we compare this data before and after significant company events like a sudden shift to remote work. 

In this case, there’s no doubt that Zoom has been a valuable investment for this company because more of its workforce is using it more frequently now that many are working from home. It indicates teams are staying connected and being productive, even while working independently. Most importantly, it serves to explain what’s happening in the organization, which is an essential starting point in understanding the why.

What else can your app usage data reveal? Sign up for Productiv Essentials, our free product available to everyone and start seeing your Zoom data in more detail.

What’s new in Productiv: March edition

We’re excited to announce a number of enhancements to Productiv to help you better analyze data, ensure security, and customize your automated license-management workflows.

Chart annotations 

Have you ever had to run a custom analysis to understand your chart data? What happens when the analysis is done, how do you refer back to it in the future? Oftentimes, this is captured in ad hoc documents and is carried forward as tribal knowledge. We recognize that understanding historical data in context is important to understanding trends over time. 

With the new chart annotations feature, you may annotate chart data with custom notes for future reference and shared visibility, allowing your entire team to quickly understand and share prior analysis about specific trends, events, or anomalies in your graphs. 

Read more about chart annotations in the Help Center.

SSO visibility 

Ensuring your organization maintains security compliance with single sign-on (SSO) can be an intensely manual task, and difficult to verify. Customers regularly tell us that identifying apps that are not behind SSO is one of the major security advantages of using Productiv. 

With this new feature, we make it even easier to reduce risk and ensure security for your entire SaaS portfolio. Identify which apps support SSO and track SSO enablement across your entire SaaS portfolio with Productiv’s integrated security check for SSO.

Read more about SSO visibility in the Help Center

Manager segmentation 

We’ve added a new segment in Productiv so you can now view data for a group of people that report to a particular manager. This segment exists alongside other segments for teams, locations, license tiers, and data sources, as well as date filters. 

With this new segment, you can now assess app adoption, collaboration patterns, and SaaS footprint for specific teams, based on manager. We hope this additional functionality will allow you to more closely partner with leaders in your organization through data-driven discussions and decisions. 

Read more about filters in the Help Center.

License management customizations

DKIM verification

DKIM is an email security standard used for authentication. When setting up automated license-management workflows via Productiv, you can optionally choose to send email notifications to users whose licenses are about to be reclaimed or downgraded. With DKIM verification, you can configure Productiv to send authenticated emails on your behalf, avoiding the risk of your notifications ending up in the recipient’s spam folder.

Read more about DKIM in the Help Center.

Customizable email template

Customize the text of your notification emails in your automated workflows. Contact your customer success manager if you’d like to customize the text in the email template used for notifications.

License reclaim opt outs

Employees with irregular usage patterns in an app may be subject to automated weekly policies and notifications of license provisioning actions. With license reclaim opt outs, you now have the ability add a button to notification emails to opt out of these messages for an extended period of time.

Read more about setting up provisioning workflow notifications in the Help Center.


What Apps Should You Be Worried About? Actual Usage Stats on Top Apps


Raise your hand if you’re concerned about your employees using the apps with the highest licensing fees too much. What if we were to tell you that app usage for those applications wasn’t as problematic as you thought? In fact, what if those apps were actually provisioned properly, while other apps weren’t?

In this post, we’ll look at actual app usage statistics pulled from Productiv research, so you can understand where to focus your attention and your app budget. We’ll also show you how Productiv can help you gain deeper insight into your app usage to make the right decisions.

What Apps Worry IT Professionals the Most?

A 2020 study from Productiv revealed there are three apps that IT professionals believe are the most over-licensed:

  • Salesforce – 40% of respondents thought this app had too many licenses
  • Office 365 – 38% of respondents thought there were too many licenses for this app
  • Zoom – 29% of respondents thought this app was the most over-licensed at their company

Are Those Apps Actually Over-Licensed?

One of the features Productiv offers is benchmarks on app usage in a variety of industries. These benchmarks provide real-time, accurate app usage statistics on how employees engage with these apps.

Productiv Salesforce screenshot.

As it turns out, Salesforce, Office365, and Zoom have some of the highest average engagement rates:

  • Salesforce – 75%
  • Office 365 – 71%
  • Zoom – 81%

App Engagement: A Reliable Method of Gauging App Usage

What do we mean by “app engagement”? App engagement refers to three things:

  • How often are employees using an app?
  • How many employees are using an app?
  • Do employees use the premium features?

Based on our app usage data, the applications which IT professionals fear are over-licensed actually have some of the highest engagement levels of the apps Productiv monitors.

The average engagement rate across all applications is 47%. The three applications listed above are much higher. We’ll use Zoom as an example – an average app engagement rate of 81% means that many people at an organization are using Zoom, and they’re using it frequently. They’re also making use of premium features.

Why Are IT Professionals Concerned about App Usage?

Judging by the data from our 2020 report on app usage, IT professionals’ fears about over-licensed apps are unfounded. This raises a bigger question: why are they afraid of over-licensing in the first place?

Sadly, it’s because the vast majority of companies don’t have visibility into their app usage.

Our study showed only 3% of companies have complete and real-time visibility into their apps. There are leaders who recognize this is a significant problem: 78% of survey respondents agreed they needed more information on key usage metrics so they could make better decisions when SaaS app renewal time rolled around.

Moreover, 88% of executives acknowledged that a central location for SaaS management activities would:

  • Simplify processes
  • Enhance visibility
  • Allow teams time to focus on strategic initiatives instead of trying to manage SaaS apps

How the Enterprise Manages App Usage Today

How does the enterprise manage app usage today? The answer is, “not well.”

  • 62% of survey respondents rely on reports from SaaS vendors
  • 58% use data based on conversations with employees
  • 37% manually check each app they use
  • 44% send out employee surveys
  • 21% make educated guesses
  • 12% don’t use any methods to manage app usage

Those are problematic app usage statistics, especially when you consider the large number of SaaS applications in most organizations:

  • 38% of companies have 50-100 apps
  • 44% have 100-200 apps
  • 17% have over 200 apps

If you don’t understand how employees are using those apps (or if they’re using them at all), you can’t make the right decisions about where to invest your SaaS app spend. As a result, you wind up with the wrong number of app licenses or apps that aren’t creating value.

Productiv: Giving You Real-Time Insight into App Usage

Productiv compare apps page.

Productiv helps companies effectively manage their apps and provide them accurate, real-time data for renewal decisions by delivering analytics about app engagement. Here’s how it works:

  • It tracks app logins and feature-level adoption
  • It offers insight into premium feature utilization
  • It shows how deeply users engage with apps
  • It supplies benchmarking data
  • It determines redundant app usage

Tracking App and Feature Usage

Productiv tracks over 100M data points each day on how employees are using applications in your organization. At its most basic level, Productiv tracks app logins. App logins show you which apps your employees are using, and how long they’re spending on each app. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.


App Engagement

Productiv enables you to see feature level adoption by team. Just because the vendor convinced you that this was a must-have feature doesn’t mean you’re getting your money’s worth. See which teams are actually using your applications and if they are using the premium features.

In addition, Productiv measures app engagement over time. You can tell if app engagement has fallen off since implementation so you can figure out how to boost app usage statistics.

Benchmarking Data

Earlier in the post, we noted Productiv offers benchmarking data. This information is pulled from Productiv customers in a variety of industries, and it helps you set realistic app usage goals.

You can look at benchmarks across the company, or you can look at them for specific teams (for example, your marketing team’s Slack adoption rate is 75%, while across the industry, other marketing teams are at a 90% adoption rate).

Redundant Apps

Companies with over 2,000 employees deploy an average of 163 apps. Not all of those apps are unique – it’s likely some of them are doing the same thing.

Productiv identifies redundant apps as well as unsanctioned apps, so you can develop strategies to encourage employees to use paid apps and move away from shadow IT applications.

Get Peace of Mind about App Usage with Productiv

Productiv’s real-time app engagement analytics give you peace of mind about licensing and renewal decisions. Learn more about how Productiv gives you a kick in the SaaS.

Collaboration Software ROI: What’s the Value of Your Messaging Applications?

Collaboration software roi

Collaboration software allows your employees to easily share, access, and modify information so they can be more productive. In today’s highly-remote work environment, it enables employees to connect to one another and get work done quickly and effectively.

Yet, just because you have a collaboration suite in place, how do you know what kind of ROI you’re getting from it?

In this article, we’ll explore what collaboration software is, how you determine the ROI of collaboration suites, and how Productiv can help.

What Is a Collaboration Software Solution?

Collaboration software such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat are platforms that help coworkers distribute, access, and edit files and documents within an organization. These platforms are SaaS applications, sharing information through the cloud.

The benefit of these applications is that users can be anywhere and use them at any time. As a result, SaaS collaboration suites can have a big impact on driving productivity.

How Can You Tell If You’re Getting Good Collaboration Software ROI?

However, just because you’ve implemented collaboration software doesn’t mean that you’re getting great ROI on it.

That raises an important question: what is collaboration software ROI, and how do you measure it? 

ROI actually goes beyond how much money you’re saving, or how the collaboration suite boosts the bottom line. Collaboration software ROI also looks at these things:

  • Are employees using your collaboration software?
  • Are employees using the collaboration software’s premium features?
  • Are employees engaging with the collaboration software?
  • Are you meeting your collaboration software adoption goals?
  • Are your employees using collaboration apps aside from the one you’ve implemented?

Productiv: Measuring Collaboration Software ROI

Productiv helps you measure collaboration software ROI with real-time analytics about how employees are using your collaboration suite.

In the following sections, we’ll look at one of the most popular collaboration suites on the market – Slack – and how Productiv measures its ROI.

Slack and User Engagement

Before we discuss the kind of ROI you can get from Slack, and how Productiv helps you measure it, let’s take a moment to talk about what it means to engage with Slack.

App engagement answers these questions:

  • How often are employees using a given application?
  • How many employees use this application?

In the next sections, we’ll explore what app engagement means in the context of Slack.

Measuring Slack Collaboration ROI

There are three ways to look at Slack collaboration:

  • Open collaboration
  • Cross-team collaboration
  • External collaboration

Open Collaboration in Slack

In the context of Slack, “open collaboration” means that employees work together freely – there’s no strict hierarchy. One of the best examples of open collaboration is a company-wide brainstorming session.

How do you measure how much open collaboration is taking place within Slack? Look at how often employees are using public channels (channels that are open to anyone within the company except for external parties).

A 2020 Productiv study analyzed 4 million Slack messages from 40,000 users, and researchers discovered that Slack users are more than twice as likely to public channels (74%) than users of other enterprise collaboration suites (34%) such as Microsoft Teams.

Cross-Team Collaboration in Slack

Cross-team collaboration over the last 30 days diagram.Cross-team collaboration in Slack means that teams work together. For example, members of the HR team could use Slack to talk to their peers in Accounting. Cross-team collaboration stands in contrast with inter-team collaboration, in which members of the same team use Slack to communicate with one another.

Productiv data shows that approximately 80% of Slack users send cross-team messages within the collaboration suite.

Slack public channel communication chart.Furthermore, Productiv’s research shows that Slack enables greater cross-team collaboration than other messaging platforms: over 90% of companies using Slack have over 70% of users engaging in cross-team collaboration.

External Collaboration in Slack

While internal collaboration is critical to accomplishing organizational goals, it’s also vital that employees work with people outside of the organization (such as customers or suppliers). With collaboration suites like Slack, users can alert external partners about upcoming issues and make sure everyone is on the same proverbial page.

According to Productiv data, Slack drives external collaboration as well as internal collaboration. For every ten internal messages Slack users send, they send an average of 4.8 external messages (approximately one external message for every two messages). Moreover, the number of external messages sent through Slack is growing – between August 2019 and August 2020, 43% of the businesses we’ve analyzed have increased the volume of external messages sent through Slack.

Productiv and Software Adoption Goals

Do you have a goal of reaching 100% adoption of your collaboration suite? Is that even a realistic goal?

Productiv can tell you; we track collaboration software adoption rates across industries. You can see adoption rates across companies as well as across teams.

Slack screenshot change over time.

For example, you could see if your HR team is using Slack as much as other HR departments in your industry. If the adoption rate is lower at your firm, you can work on a strategy to boost it so that you see the best possible collaboration software ROI.

Are Your Employees Using Other Collaboration Apps?

There are times when you implement software, and employees decide that for whatever reason, there are other apps that better meet their needs. They use those apps, as opposed to the software in which you’ve invested. This situation is especially frustrating when the vendor assured you that this app would achieve high ROI and would drive productivity.

Productiv screen shot compare apps chart.

For example, you might have invested in Slack, yet employees are using something else to communicate.

That’s where Productiv comes in.

Not only does it track logins for apps, but it also shows you whether employees are using other apps similar to the one for which you’ve paid. With that information, you can create a strategy to shift people to using Slack.

Productiv: Your Collaboration Software ROI Solution

If you’ve invested in a collaboration suite, you want to make sure you get the highest ROI possible. Productiv’s real-time analytics give you insight into how employees are engaging with your collaboration software. Click here to learn why 4 Million Slack Messages Can’t be Wrong.

Why I joined Productiv: It’s time to change how CIOs work to drive business outcomes

Digital Transformation may have become the moniker of the modern Technology leader, but having spent my career focused on digitally-led transformations, the last ten years have shown me the power that this can really wield inside an organization.

However, what’s becoming increasingly obvious is that in a transformed world — if that really exists and we aren’t in perpetual transformation — is that in the promise of making things simpler for end users, the world of the CIO has become more and more complex.  This is no more so than in the world of SaaS.

In its earliest days, SaaS promised a whole new world and raft of opportunities and simplicity.  While it’s hard to disagree that we are in a better place than we were before, the proliferation of the number of applications employees need or want to use seems to be endless.  

And herein lies the challenge.  As CIOs and leaders at the heart of change, we want to make sure they have best-in-class tools for the businesses employees power – but the rate of that change and proliferation of apps is getting harder to manage.  Be it new apps in the marketplace, or with old apps transforming and getting new features to muscle into competitor’s spaces, making sense of what is best for any organization or employee is hard.

Employees are rightly demanding more and better to deliver great outcomes for their businesses. After all, haven’t we been through the consumerization of workplace technology and don’t we live in a mobile-first world?

From a management and security perspective, the proliferation of apps and the demands of an organization are at loggerheads with keeping the enterprise secure and operating efficiently.  Budgets are being squeezed now more than ever.  In our hearts we want to serve the needs of all our employees, but in our heads, this can’t roll on endlessly.

SaaS may have democratized the enterprise, but until Productiv there hasn’t been any way for technologists to understand exactly how SaaS is transforming the business — and that is why I’ve joined the company. 

I joined because it is clear to me that Productiv gives CIOs the insights they need to allow them to focus on real, measurable business outcomes. With better data on usage and adoption and more automation of everyday tasks, CIOs and their teams get more time to focus on projects and initiatives that actually deliver on the business’s wider goals. And Productiv actually enables that — it makes life simpler, easier, and more transparent and most importantly returns the conversation to how we deliver a world-class employee experience alongside growing our businesses.

Before Productiv, success metrics, deployment metrics, and even purchasing decisions were often heavily influenced by vendors themselves. But the transparent data points and metrics provided in the platform give these forward-thinking CIOs the ability to better shepherd their transformations. 

With Productiv, the question is no longer “Should I use OneDrive or Box,” but “How are our collaboration apps being used across the business” or “Is there successful collaboration in a particular business unit that we can replicate across the business,” creating a better employee experience and ultimately driving better business outcomes. 

I’ve been an early adopter of tools like Slack, Zoom, Okta, and Box —  and Productiv is in their class. Those companies were on the bleeding edge and they changed the way we work. Productiv is now doing that, but it’s changing the way CIOs work to drive business outcomes, and I have a passion for it.   

And while we now have transparent data into all these platforms through our platform, we also have transparency in the money we spend on them, and they key indicators we need for compliance and security.  Productiv lives and breathes this journey 24/7.

I’m a few weeks in now, and the stand out thing for me in that timeframe has been the relentless pace of innovation at the company and the vision that Jody, Munish, and Ashish have built. Time to get Productiv! (Sorry :-))


What’s new in Productiv: February edition