Usage Monitoring for Value-Added SaaS Product Management

May 29, 2024

Usage monitoring is crucial in SaaS product management, providing real-time insights into user interaction. Efficient monitoring helps product managers move beyond surface-level insights to actionable intelligence. Achieving this requires the right tools and processes. This article delves into the relationship between usage insights, monitoring, and data management, and how they enhance product roadmaps and services for users.

Edwin Ryan Poquiz
Reading time: 6 minutes


Usage monitoring is basically eagle-eyeing how people are using a SaaS product, right? I like to think of it as keeping tabs on the pulse or heartbeat of a product as it provides real-time information about its health and performance.

Every department involved in the quote-to-cash process, as in EVERY ONE, from customer success to business development, sales, operations, revenue ops, etc. etc. can benefit from understanding how their users are engaging with their products.  

In product management, usage monitoring is extra golden because, when done correctly, efficiently, and proactively, product managers can go from surface-level insights to usage intelligence. Achieving usage intelligence, as fun and practical as it sounds, is an uphill pursuit without the right tools and processes in place.  

In this article, I will be discussing the interplay between usage insights and intelligence, usage monitoring, and usage data management, and how they all work together towards product management goals of delivering relevant services and enhanced product roadmaps.

Usage monitoring represented by dynamic graphs and waveforms on a screen.

The Value of Personalized Experiences

It takes a lot more than allowing the customization of an interface’s color and button sizes to say “Yes, we’re here for you, and we are committed to understanding and providing for your needs.” True personalization goes deeper, requiring a comprehensive understanding of user needs and preferences. This is where deep level, descriptive, and actionable usage intelligence becomes essential.  

Beyond simply tracking user interactions, this usage monitoring data provides a granular understanding of user behavior, feature usage, and customer journeys. By delving into this wealth of information, product managers can transform these usage insights into actionable intelligence that fuels a range of personalization efforts. 

Actionable intelligence derived from usage data empowers businesses to make informed decisions. With a deep understanding of customer preferences and pain points, product managers can optimize the user experience by tailoring features, recommendations, and support to meet individual user needs. Through data-driven personalization, businesses can create experiences that truly resonate with their customers.

How Usage Monitoring Can Help in Delivering Contextually Relevant Services

Identifying Usage Trends 

Identifying usage trends such as which features customers access and when, provides a better understanding of their needs and preferences within specific contexts. 

Example: A product manager notices that a significant number of customers are consistently using the collaboration feature during business hours, indicating a need for enhanced team communication, document sharing, and whiteboarding capabilities in the product. 

Personalizing User Experiences 

Personalized user experiences, whether based on individual or segment-level usage behavior, can be achieved by tailoring content, product features, or recommendations based on user’s circumstances and usage patterns. 

Example: Based on usage monitoring data, a music streaming service identifies that a particular user enjoys listening to Afrobeat and neo-cumbia music in the morning. The service starts recommending energizing world music playlists and artists to that user to enhance their experience with the app and to enhance their mornings. 


Prioritizing and Developing Features 

Usage data helps prioritize and develop features that respond to customer needs in a specific context effectively. Product managers can allocate resources to enhance product features that are most relevant to customers within their contexts. 

Example: Through usage monitoring, a project management software identifies that customers heavily use a specific time tracking feature while spending less time on other functionalities. The software’s product manager decides to allocate development resources to improve and expand the time tracking feature by automating task allocation, an offline functionality, and enhancing its integration capabilities. 

Targeted Communication

Product managers can proactively offer guidance and tips on features that customers have not yet used but relevant to their business. 

Example: A customer relationship management (CRM) platform detects that a customer has not yet utilized the email automation feature that can greatly improve their sales process. The platform sends a targeted email to the customer explaining the benefits of email automation, examples of use cases specific to the customer’s industry, and a link to a few video tutorials related to the email automation feature. 

Context-Sensitive Support and Assistance 

By understanding how customers use SaaS products, product managers can offer context-sensitive support and assistance. This can be done by proactively offering guidance and resources to address their specific needs within their usage context. 

Example: When a certain usage pattern indicate that a high volume of users of an ESG (environmental, social, and governance) reporting software repeatedly attempts to generate a zero-waste report without success, the software can automatically prompt the support team to reach out and offer assistance, and for the customer success teams to develop relevant knowledge base assets. 

Predictive Insights

Usage monitoring data can be used to predict future needs and preferences within specific contexts, enabling product managers to proactively align their products and services to upcoming demands. 

Example:  The usage monitoring data from an app of a car-sharing platform can inform decisions on fleet expansion, rotation, or retirement of underperforming vehicles . By identifying popular vehicle models or usage patterns, the product manager aligns the fleet composition with customer preferences, thus optimizing resource allocation and improving customer satisfaction. 

Optimizing Pricing Models 

Usage monitoring data can inform pricing models, by understanding how customers consume SaaS products and which usage contexts provide the most value. Product managers can refine pricing strategies to align with customers’ needs and the value they derive within their specific usage contexts. 

Example: A cloud storage provider discovers through usage monitoring that a majority of customers primarily use their service for personal file storage rather than for intensive business use. Based on this insight, the provider introduces a tiered pricing model with lower-priced plans specifically tailored for personal users. 

Read about the common SaaS metrics that usage monitoring provides information for, including metrics that are specific to usage-based pricing.

How Usage Monitoring Can Enhance SaaS Product Roadmaps

Tracking the impact of changes in a SaaS product is essential in iterative development and improvement, and product managers are always aiming to deliver a successful product that not only meets the needs of their users but also outshines the competition.  

Usage monitoring data provides a deep understanding of how people are engaging with a product, which features they find most valuable, and areas where they may be facing challenges. Armed with this intelligence at a deeper level, data-driven decisions can enhance product roadmap strategies, focusing efforts on new features, enhancements, and improvements that align with user behavior and preferences, rather than investing time and resources in features that may not be as impactful. 

A backwards compatible usage monitoring approach entails designing and implementing changes in a way that ensures compatibility with previous versions or configurations of the product. This is particularly important for SaaS products, where updates and improvements are rolled out incrementally and need to coexist with existing user environments. By leveraging usage monitoring data, product managers can identify potential compatibility issues and proactively address them, ensuring a smooth transition for users.

How a Purpose-Built Usage Data Mangement Platform Smooths the Way for Usage Monitoring and Usage Intelligence 

Long title for a chapter with a lot of “usage” in it, I know, but I just wanted to embody the union between the desired information (usage intelligence), the process (usage monitoring) and the tool (usage data management). 

At the core of this discussion lies the foundation that we at Digitalroute provide. Usage by DigitalRoutea portfolio of purpose-built usage data management solutions – serve as the infrastructure that facilitates the integration, collection, processing, and delivering of vast quantities of usage data generated by users interacting with SaaS products. By leveraging our solutions, product managers can efficiently manage and analyze usage data to extract usage intelligence that drive informed decision-making. 

Usage monitoring emerges as a requisite process enabled by the robust capabilities of a usage data management platform. Through continuous tracking and analysis of user interactions, product managers can gain real-time visibility into how customers engage with their SaaS product, allowing for proactive identification of trends and opportunities for enhancement.  

Building upon the foundation of usage monitoring, usage intelligence represents the culmination of extracting actionable insights from the wealth of usage data collected. By applying advanced analytics and data visualization techniques, product managers can uncover meaningful patterns, trends, and metrics that offer a comprehensive view of user behavior and preferences. Usage intelligence equips product managers with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions, prioritize feature development based on actual usage data, and align product roadmaps with customer requirements.  

Through the harmonious collaboration of a purpose-built usage data management platform, usage monitoring, and usage intelligence, product managers can unlock the full potential of their SaaS products. This integration streamlines the journey from data collection to actionable insights. 

Author image

Edwin Ryan Poquiz

Content Marketing Manager @ DigitalRoute

Edwin Ryan is a 360° marketing strategist, content producer, UX designer, and hobbyist. He has produced content for The Wharton School, SFSU, and several startups and non-profit organizations both in the US and in Sweden. 

When he’s not doing his nine-to-five, he’s usually out enjoying every opportunity to unplug from the urban jungle he calls home to go bouldering, bikepacking, kayaking, skiing, hiking, and ice skating, among others. 

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