Productiv Insights: Video Collaboration in the age of COVID-19

With millions of people around the world complying with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and self-quarantining for safety, remote work has quickly become the new normal for enterprises. As we adapt to this new way of work, SaaS applications play an important role in maintaining collaboration continuity and enabling us to get our jobs done. 

One application that has played an integral role in maintaining this continuity is the video conferencing application Zoom. Across the globe, enterprises are using Zoom’s reliable, high-quality video conferencing capabilities to make working from home a consistently viable option in the age of COVID-19. Examining a subset of Productiv customer data confirms this.

The data shows that Zoom engagement began to tick up in early March, just as the first states of emergency were declared in the early hotspots on the west coast of the US. Around this time, many businesses also began to institute optional remote work policies. As the pandemic intensified in March and these policies became mandatory, Zoom engagement rose more significantly. 

By April, once the majority of residents in the US were sheltering in place, Zoom engagement rose 55% above pre-pandemic levels. With remote work continuing for the foreseeable future, we expect to see Zoom engagement remain at these higher levels. 

Face-to-face matters, especially when we’re remote

One of the reasons that Zoom has surged in popularity is the ease with which Zoom helps us connect with each other over video. In an environment where nearly everyone works remotely, video meetings offer many advantages over the traditional conference call. Let’s take a look at how users have shared video in Zoom during the pandemic.

Shared video in Zoom remained relatively flat throughout February and the beginning of March, as most employees continued to work in the office during these weeks and in-person meetings were likely more common. But as soon as remote work policies began to take effect in the beginning of March, the data shows a sharp uptick in shared video. By April, shared video in Zoom rose 128% above pre-pandemic levels. Putting this all together, the percentage of users sharing video in their Zoom calls rose significantly from 57% to 84% during this time period.

With most of us working remotely, it’s no surprise that sharing video in Zoom has increased so dramatically. When we collaborate over video, we can better read the body language and facial expressions of our fellow meeting participants, which — just as it does in face-to-face meetings — leads to more productive collaboration and fosters stronger trust in our working relationships. And understanding how employees participate in meetings with video enabled is a boon to IT leaders focused on increasing the effectiveness of remote collaboration. 

SaaS applications have maximized productivity and collaboration and helped us adapt to the new normal of an always-remote workplace. At Productiv, we help visualize your organization’s application engagement patterns to ensure that employees are using applications like Zoom as intended — to improve the employee software experience and drive stronger, more meaningful collaboration. 


For IT teams who need assistance right now, Productiv can help quickly measure real-time usage of your SaaS applications, rightsize your licenses, and support remote collaboration. Measuring and driving productivity for remote workers is in our DNA, and we’re here to help you as you navigate this new, and likely stressful, situation. We are offering a free 30-day trial of Productiv, so that you can quickly start understanding your organization’s current collaboration and productivity. To learn more, contact us below.

SaaS Best Practices for a Remote Work Surge

For IT teams who need assistance right now, Productiv can help quickly measure real-time usage of your SaaS applications, rightsize your licenses, and support remote collaboration. Measuring and driving productivity for remote workers is in our DNA, and we’re here to help you as you navigate this new, and likely stressful situation. We are offering a free 30-day trial of Productiv, so that you can quickly start understanding your organization’s current collaboration and productivity. To learn more, contact us here or below.

 

IT teams are under a remote collaboration stress-test with millions of employees suddenly working from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). What are the best practices for IT to support remote teams? How can IT see which applications are carrying their weight and driving productivity? Which applications can be quickly right-sized — up or down — to meet new business requirements? 

SaaS Application Usage

Productiv measures SaaS application usage and engagement at the feature level in real time. Since the remote work shift beginning in February, Productiv data shows dramatic changes in application engagement (or, what happens after a user logs in): 

  • Sharing video in Zoom has increased 175%; while overall Zoom usage and Zoom meetings have both increased by more than 50%;
  • Remote collaboration tools, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, have increased usage by nearly 100% each, with more people expanding their use of these applications;
  • File sharing systems, like Box and Dropbox have increased more than 20%, as employees are viewing and editing shared files with their colleagues

Remote Work Best Practices for IT Leaders

Productiv works closely with IT leaders and has identified four best practices to help adapt to this rapidly evolving remote collaboration challenge:

  • Ensure access and adoption. Are you set up to allow remote access to the software your teams use to get work done every day? This is the first question any IT leader will need to ask when faced with a surge in remote work. If there are cloud-based versions of applications your employees typically use in the office, are you set up to deploy them and will you have the necessary usage data to successfully drive adoption in those applications? 

Key Takeaway: A centralized and accurate list of applications and licenses is essential to evaluating and expanding remote adoption. 

  • Leverage already-remote teams as a model. Is your application stack optimized for remote collaboration? Previous “nice-to-have” applications may now be mission-critical in a remote-first work culture, and perhaps your organization already has a subset of remote employees whose application engagement can be replicated across your business. With more and more employees finding value in tools like Slack and Zoom, for example, this is an opportunity for you to reconsider those applications against the solutions you already have in place. 

Key Takeaway: Understanding what applications are already working well for remote work will help you anticipate and quickly react to needs. 

  • Manage license types by individual. Your sales team may have Zoom’s Pro licenses since they are frequently holding virtual meetings longer than 40 minutes, while an engineer who meets less frequently with external partners may not need such a license. But when you’re dealing with a sudden surge in remote work, you need to adjust your license provisioning strategy. Using an engagement-based approach, IT leaders can get regular updates on engaged and provisioned users on an application-by-application basis and automatically deprovision, upgrade, or downgrade licenses based on individual usage patterns to ensure each user has the appropriate license to get their work done.

Key Takeaway: Getting the right license types into the right hands has never been more important.

  • Minimize work interruption and maximize collaboration. As discussed in our recent interview with a customer, with engagement-based SaaS management, IT leaders can see whether files are being shared in Box, or video is being enabled in Zoom (compared with just seeing whether or not provisioned users actually logged in to those applications), giving a more complete picture of the effectiveness of remote collaboration. With feature-level engagement data, IT leaders can better understand the role that these tools play in enabling remote collaboration, better measure the effectiveness of remote work policies, and drive better adoption of these tools to ensure collaboration continuity remains uninterrupted at times of crisis. 

Key Takeaway: It’s the true test of IT, using technology to drive employee productivity–now more challenging with remote teams.

Ready to schedule a demo with Productiv?

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!