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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Driving Data Decisions Throughout the Development Lifecycle

June 27, 2017 No Comments

The pace of software development requires you to work faster and smarter. Whether you are just launching a new application or have millions of installations, understanding how your products are actually being used can help you to prioritize development while meeting customer. However, understanding how your products are being used and what features are used the most, remains a challenge.

In this interview, Keith Fenech, VP, Software Analytics at Revulytics, speaks with IT Briefcase on how collecting and analyzing software usage data can help developers make faster, more efficient decisions at all stages of the development lifecycle.

  • Q. How do most software developers monitor product usage?

Developers have been using crash logs, Windows events logs, and some of their own monitoring, but still don’t have visibility into what’s happening at the feature level. Most often they have done some level of integration to gather usage data, but have no easy way to visualize the data nor the resources to spare or the domain expertise to develop their own analytics solution.

  • Q. What’s the challenge in getting this data?

Most developers and product managers want detail about product feature trends, but they’re not sure how the back-end should be implemented, how information should be organized, and how it should be presented. Building a scalable reporting infrastructure and providing a dashboard that allows visualization and sharing of the resulting trends is a critical asset, however the challenge remains on how to get there.

  • Q. What do software analytics provide to developers, after a product is on the market?

Software analytics allow developers to determine how product features are being used and the extent of use. Usage analytics can help you understand the popularity of different versions in use by your existing customer base and help determine when you are able to cease support for legacy software applications. At a certain point the cost to support old code can get in the way of new product development to grow your business.

Developers want to positively impact adoption. It’s one thing to visualize the fact that people had trouble adopting a feature in a particular release and another to educate users about that capability.  You want to be able to take action – get the data, visualize the solution, fix the problem in the next release and then educate users about the enhancement.

  • Q. Can you be specific about the types of data, developers should be receiving?

If you’re not analyzing how your users are actually engaging with your software, you’re missing valuable information. Software usage analytics gives you powerful insight to build better products, convert trial users, and retain customers. With analytics, key development questions can be answered including: Are my users actively using this feature or can we deprecate it? Which versions, platforms, languages or architectures are my users on? Where should I focus my QA efforts? How should I prioritize bug fixes? What are the adoption rates for new features and new versions post-release?

Once these questions are answered software producers can make better decisions about product development, packaging, and pricing that meet the needs of customers.

  • Q. Tell me how Revulytics helps software developers overcome these challenges?

Most software developers and product managers only have access to limited data and anecdotal evidence of product use. They lack the tools to make informed decisions based on actual customer usage of their applications. Unfortunately, this lack of data-driven insight can stand in the way of successfully meeting their customers’ needs and growing revenue.

The Revulytics solution, purpose-built for distributed software on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms, provides deep insight into application usage; including which features are used most and least. It’s easy to integrate and the out-of-the-box reporting lets you filter by properties including region, version, OS platform, architecture, and more to focus your roadmap development.

keith fenech 150x150 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Driving Data Decisions Throughout the Development Lifecycle

Keith Fenech, VP, Software Analytics, Revulytics

Keith is Revulytics’ VP, Software Analytics and was the co-founder and CEO of Trackerbird Software Analytics before the company was acquired by Revulytics in 2016. Following the acquisition, Keith joined the Revulytics team and is now responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the Usage Analytics business within the company. Prior to founding Trackerbird, Keith held senior product roles at GFI Software where he was responsible for the product roadmap and revenue growth for various security products in the company’s portfolio. Keith also brings with him 10 years of IT consultancy experience in the SMB space. Keith has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Malta, specializing in high performance computing.

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