Predictions: Enterprise SaaS in 2020

In 2019, SaaS applications continued to grow in popularity because of their scalability, ease-of-use, rich feature sets, and no need to rely on installing and running servers. When coupled with the fact that SaaS applications make it easier for employees to collaborate and do their jobs, it’s no wonder that the SaaS market is projected to be worth more than $120 billion in 2020. 

After working closely throughout 2019 with customers across every industry and identifying their most pressing SaaS application management needs, here are four of my predictions for the world of SaaS applications in 2020.

100% SaaS companies will no longer be an outlier

In 2019, there are companies (primarily in the technology industry) that are already 100% SaaS. These companies were born in the cloud, and in many cases were built to displace legacy technologies, which informed their software purchasing decisions. For example, they selected G Suite because it was much easier to operate than traditional, on-premises office applications, or selected Box because collaborating was easier and more cost-effective than with an on-premises server.

In 2020, we will see more of this, especially as generational changes continue to transform the workplace with leaders who ‘grew up’ with SaaS or started their careers in SaaS-first companies. Additionally, with the rise in SaaS-only companies, we will see more of them looking at how their employees are using SaaS. Before, IT leaders just wanted to know if employees were using specific applications. In 2020, the conversation will shift more toward how they are using these applications to get their work done and how business technology leaders can replicate that productivity across their entire workplace.

Acceptance of app sprawl means the death of the spreadsheet

App sprawl has always been an issue, as there are constantly new applications popping up that solve new business problems. The SaaS go-to-market model, where vendors market directly to business units and even sometimes to individual employees has exacerbated this. 

In 2020, enterprises will begin to think about solving the app sprawl problem organizationally vs. individually, looking at how the broader organization interacts with and uses SaaS applications. By analyzing employee engagement with applications, enterprises can identify cost savings, align the number of SaaS application licenses with the number of engaged users and optimize their application portfolio. This approach can save enterprises as much as 30% in costs – and that doesn’t even take into account the time otherwise spent managing perpetually incomplete spreadsheets and conducting surveys to measure application engagement and redundancy.

The new role of the CIO in the age of productivity

As more companies standardize on SaaS, IT will continue to evolve more into a proactive business partner vs. a reactive service provider. The IT organizations of yesterday weren’t called ‘help desks’ for no reason — IT was a place where people went when the software that they were provided wasn’t working. But the SaaS go-to-market model has upended this, and SaaS vendors now market directly to business units and end users. Because of this, when these business units or end users select SaaS applications, IT needs to partner with them to make sure that the SaaS application will work in the context of the business’ broader IT objectives and goals.  

The employee experience will be as important as the customer experience

There’s been a rise in marketing owning the customer experience, but more businesses are starting to focus on the employee experience. In many organizations, the CIO owns the employee experience. In 2020, we’ll see more businesses placing the same focus that they put on their customer experience back on their employees — and this will foster collaboration and increase productivity.  Progressive business technology leaders care about the employee experience, because they want to empower their employees with good technologies to help get the ‘lower level stuff’ done, freeing people to pursue more strategic business goals.

Full Speed Ahead! Productiv Closes $20M in Series B Funding

Today is an exciting day at Productiv, as we’ve announced the close of $20M in Series B financing led by Norwest Venture Partners with additional participation from strategic investor Okta Ventures and our Series A investor Accel. You can read more about the news in our press release, but I wanted to share some more about what this moment means for Productiv and for enterprise IT leaders looking to maximize the value of their SaaS applications. 

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been six months since we launched the company at Oktane in San Francisco. Since then, Productiv has been experiencing incredible momentum. We’ve added a strong roster of enterprise customers, and it’s clear that application engagement analytics are in demand across a wide variety of industries from consumer-packaged goods organizations like Blue Diamond Growers to technology leaders like Apttus. On the product side, we’ve added new capabilities at a lightning-fast pace, including real-time engagement analytics for cloud applications like Box; helped our customers answer important questions about standardizing on collaboration applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams; and uncovered meaningful insights about the use of cloud applications like Zoom. 

On the hiring side, I couldn’t be happier with the second-to-none talent that we’ve attracted from top technology companies like Slack, Google, Facebook, and Netskope. These people came to Productiv because they recognized the transformative impact SaaS has had on the enterprise, and were excited to contribute to our mission of maximizing the value and productivity SaaS applications provide to businesses. 

When I think back on the last six months, It’s hard to ignore the fact that all of these moments — from the impressive customer traction to the insights we have delivered to our customers — strongly validate our mission to rethink SaaS management with a focus on engagement. 

As I wrote in my post announcing the company’s launch, SaaS applications have fundamentally changed the relationship that CIOs have with software. In a world where every company is a technology company, every CEO cares about productivity, and every employee uses technology to work collaboratively, it’s never been more important for IT leaders to remove elements of friction from how people use technology to both do their jobs and grow their businesses.

Until Productiv, enterprise IT leaders haven’t had a way to understand how all of the different applications in their organization are being used, which features are popular and which are not, and which applications are delivering value and which are not. And as IT leaders play an increasingly important role in demonstrating the business impact technology is having on the business, it’s important for them to have this visibility in order to deliver on broader business goals. 

We’re helping enterprise IT leaders demonstrate this impact by providing feature-level visibility into the SaaS applications that their people are using. We’re doing this because just knowing whether a user has logged in to a particular application isn’t going to provide the data necessary for IT leaders to understand if an application is delivering value to the business. In order to understand this, it’s critical to understand the engagement happening inside of those applications — which teams are screen-sharing in Zoom and which aren’t? Are customer support and sales teams collaborating together in Slack? I’ve got OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive in my organization, but which application has the highest level of engagement?

Insights like these help IT understand the value that SaaS applications are delivering to the organization, ultimately enhancing overall SaaS strategies and realizing true customer success via data on how employees actually use the SaaS applications provided to them. This data makes renewals easier, because our customers can leverage the engagement insights to focus their investments on the applications that employees use the most and maximize the value of their overall SaaS investment. 

We’d love to show you how application engagement analytics can help your organization make better decisions about your SaaS applications. Reach out to us today to see a demo, or check out some of the resources on our website.

Productiv Raises $20M in Series B Funding to Maximize SaaS Value with Application Engagement Analytics

Second funding round in six months underscores company momentum and market need for engagement-based insights into SaaS application use 


PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 6, 2019 Productiv, the application engagement analytics company, today announced the close of $20M in Series B financing led by Norwest Venture Partners with additional participation from strategic investor Okta Ventures and existing investor Accel. Productiv’s approach to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) management gives companies visibility into their SaaS application engagement in order to drive business value from their software investments. Since launching in April 2019 with a commitment to helping enterprises unlock business value with SaaS engagement data, Productiv has experienced significant business momentum. With today’s announcement, Productiv has raised a total of $28M in funding and added enterprise customers including Apttus, LiveRamp, and Blue Diamond Growers. Additionally, the company has built out engineering, sales, marketing, and customer success functions with hires from industry-leading companies including Slack, eBay, Facebook, and Netskope.

“SaaS has democratized enterprise application purchasing and made everyone a buyer, with multiple teams using multiple applications simultaneously. Redundancy is high and productivity is low, with employees sometimes checking five different tools to access one document. All of this creates unnecessary cost and friction among teams,” said Jody Shapiro, co-founder and CEO of Productiv. “Productiv’s application engagement analytics address this wide-spread enterprise need, and the combination of today’s funding with our customer traction in the last six months is strong validation of our mission to provide enterprises with the insights they need to drive maximum value from their SaaS applications.”

In a business environment where every company is now a technology company, the rapid adoption of SaaS applications has streamlined many routine business processes. However, the ease-of-use and wide-scale deployment of SaaS applications has created a number of challenges. As the number of applications scales into hundreds per enterprise, IT organizations lack the visibility into applications employees are using and how well they are being used. The result is that enterprises cannot make effective application portfolio decisions or determine application value, undermining their overall business productivity. 

Productiv is rethinking SaaS management with application engagement analytics, which surfaces meaningful insights that allow enterprises to understand how employees collaborate and drive team productivity. This SaaS application engagement intelligence enables enterprises to maximize application value in a way that is right for their people, their budget, and their business.

“The rapid growth of the SaaS industry and escalating enterprise adoption highlights a prime market opportunity for application engagement analytics,” said Rama Sekhar, Partner, Norwest Venture Partners. “When there is a substantial gap between the number of provisioned users and the number of engaged users across applications, companies waste money and employees waste time – and that’s bad for business. Productiv offers powerful engagement analytics to help organizations understand how apps are being used after users log in, enabling enterprises to standardize on specific apps and eliminate redundant ones.” 

Productiv does more than track login activity, license data and renewal notices; it showcases real-time application usage and engagement statistics at the team, geography, device, and feature level. CIOs and senior IT staff can then analyze, drive, and improve adoption of and engagement in the right applications. With Productiv application engagement analytics, enterprises leverage more than 50 application engagement dimensions to view benchmarks for their entire SaaS portfolio in real time. Armed with this engagement insight, enterprises can drive adoption, improve collaboration, and accurately predict future application use.

“Okta is committed to enabling any organization to securely use the technologies that make them more productive and successful. For today’s modern organizations, this means adopting a number of cloud applications that support their digital transformation initiatives, and ultimately make them more efficient,” said Monty Gray, SVP, Corporate Development, Okta. “Productiv solves a critical challenge for organizations by enabling them to understand the value delivered from each application they deploy and we’re excited to see the benefit they bring to our current and future customers.

“Innovation is at the heart of Uber’s culture, and SaaS applications accelerate innovation by providing our employees a seamless collaboration experience no matter where in the world they are located,” said Shobhana Ahluwalia, Head of IT at Uber. “Feature-level visibility into SaaS application engagement gives organizations a complete picture of how employees use applications to do their jobs, enabling them to focus adoption efforts on the applications that drive maximum value.”

“At LiveRamp, SaaS applications enable our employees to move fast and collaborate efficiently, but the ease with which SaaS applications can be purchased or replaced makes evaluating and rationalizing our total SaaS portfolio a challenge,” said Amit Sharan, Head of Global Business Technology at LiveRamp. “With Productiv engagement analytics, we have a 360-degree view into the apps our people use and feature-level visibility into how they are being used, enabling us to continuously evaluate and rationalize our portfolio and focus adoption efforts on the applications with the most engagement.

For more information about Productiv and today’s announcement, please visit the following pages:

About Productiv

Productiv provides application engagement analytics for IT leaders who are rethinking SaaS management. Only Productiv goes beyond login data by looking at more than 50 engagement dimensions, helping enterprise customers continuously rationalize their application portfolio and answer questions about application investments and effectiveness with contextual insights about actual use. Backed by Accel and Norwest Venture Partners and founded by veterans from Amazon, Google, and LinkedIn, Productiv helps companies like Fox and Equinix maximize application value in a way that is right for their people, their budget, and their business.

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 + 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 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.

Productiv Insights: How one customer made a smart decision about Slack vs. Microsoft Teams

One of our customers recently came to us and asked “How should we think about standardizing on Microsoft Teams vs. Slack?” Given the spend across the two applications and the significant implications of siloed collaboration, it was a critical question — and one that they didn’t quite know how to answer. The customer had already asked users for qualitative feedback on which app they preferred to use and evaluated basic login data though their single sign-on (SSO), but the insights they gleaned didn’t provide any clarity to make a decision on which application they would standardize. In the meantime, the clock was ticking on upcoming renewals for both applications.

With the help of Productiv’s deep, insightful application engagement analytics, the customer was able to examine their application provisioning and make an informed decision on which app they would standardize for their organization.

The first eye-opener was the stark difference between the number of provisioned users vs. the number of engaged users across the two applications. At the time of analysis, there was little overlap when it came to the provisioning of both applications. Said another way, there weren’t many people in the organization who used both Slack and Microsoft Teams. But in terms of the number of people provisioned, it was basically equal — about 1,700 people used Teams and 1,400 used Slack. If we had stopped there, this wouldn’t be a very interesting finding —after all, we can pretty easily uncover those numbers. For that matter, if we just looked at who had used one of the applications in the last 30 days, that wouldn’t be particularly illuminating either. 

Where this got insightful is when we started looking at engagement.

Engagement is what happens after someone logs in, and it’s what businesses are counting on when they make big bets on technology. At Productiv we look at more than 50 engagement dimensions from feature and device use, to the type of activity people are performing, to whether or not collaboration is happening inside and outside of an organization. And as we took a look at engagement in Microsoft Teams vs. Slack, we found that Slack engagement was nearly 10 times greater than in Microsoft Teams.

These engagement analytics made our customer’s decision-making process a lot easier, but it would have likely been a very different if they’d analyzed these two applications without looking more deeply into engagement. We’re glad we were able to shed some light on this for them and provide the decision support they needed.

Are you wondering whether your employees are engaged with their SaaS apps? We offer a complimentary SaaS Value Assessment where we work with organizations for 30 days to dive deep into their application portfolio. This typically results in 6-10 unique findings that range from opportunities to optimize licensing to areas where collaboration is working well and places where it might not be. Let us know if you’d like to get a SaaS Value Assessment for your organization.