How wired is your product?

You have a great product, you have a large customer base. Awesome! But how tuned in are you to how your user base is using your product? How wired is your product? Web products can get you good deal of information such as page views, number of unique visitors, how they move through the funnel, drop outs etc. Good metrics if all you have is a public website.

But I am not talking about these metrics. What if you have a product offering that is a  SaaS multi-tenant application where different users can create their own accounts all on the same shared platform? Something like Salesforce or Gmail or OnForce? How much information do you have about the usage patterns within these user accounts?

You need to – if you want to make informed decisions such as impact of retiring features, impact of changing the user experience, what features to enhance etc. wiring

For example, if Gmail is your product, access to information such as

1) Number of emails in each inbox

2) Number of emails sent from each account

3) Number of contacts in each account

4) Number of discussion threads in each account

5) Min, Average, Max number of items in each discussion threads

6) Number of emails with attachments

7) Average number and size of attachments per email etc.

will help you make informed decisions when you intend to make changes to the product, understand impact of these changes on your user base. It will avoid you making decisions based on what you think the typical usage is or based on what you heard after talking to a few users of your product.

Notice that none of the above stats are collecting specific user information – you are not looking at the information associated with a specific user’s contacts, you are not reading emails belonging to your users. All you are getting is aggregated user information that will help you understand usage metrics of your product.

If you have not wired your product, add it to your product roadmap now and start working on it. Yes, it is not something you will able to monetize, but it is something you absolutely need so that can monetize your product better by making informed decisions. And if you are in the process of  building your new product, wire it now. Your users will be happy that you did. You need data to get information, there is nothing called “more data than you need”. I would rather have access to more data that I can leverage to make more informed decisions than less data which prevents from making the right decisions.

What do you think?

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Image Courtesy of : Automated Life Styles LLC

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