How product managers at INDUSTRY tackle customer-facing reporting

The Cumul.io team recently attended INDUSTRY, a conference gathering software product managers. We went (not-so) undercover and interviewed a bunch of product managers to understand how important customer-facing analytics are on their roadmap.

Read our most interesting findings below.

Almost every product offers insights to its customers.

86% of the interviewed product managers offer insights to their customers in some shape or form. We heard everything from manual ad-hoc reports to white-labeled BI interfaces.

They need analytics to answer user requests for insights. And at the same time, analytics also facilitate conversations and help to demonstrate the value of their SaaS product.

Not all product managers have fully productized their data.

In general, many products seem to tackle insights reporting outside of the software application. 14% mentioned using external BI tools like Tableau or Power BI for visualizations.

On the other hand, 14% use manual, ad-hoc reporting to respond to their customer’s analytical needs.

“Right now we mostly offer insights through manual reporting mechanisms. We can pull data out of our system, format it and give it to our customers. We haven’t necessarily productized that yet.”

Product managers build their analytics in-house.

1 in 3 product managers confirmed they productized their data by building data visualizations in-house. But they aren’t always satisfied with the current state of their customer-facing reports.

“We are offering metrics to our customers, but that tool is very outdated and it’s on our roadmap in the next quarters to make that tool more robust.”

Even though developing analytics from scratch takes months of effort and expert resources, very few of the respondents already use third-party embedded analytics tools to shorten their time-to-market.

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Marrying ease of use and a robust user experience is challenging.

We researched the main frustrations about customer-facing analytics on G2, and shared them with our respondents.

  1. Analytics are too difficult to use
  2. Insights aren’t relevant
  3. Users can’t edit their own reports

Either from their own experience or customers’ experiences, most interviewees confirmed that the most common challenges are ease of use and the ability to edit reports to your needs. 43% of product managers worry about ease of use, while 36% feel the need for an interactive experience their customers can tailor.

Most vendors acknowledge it is complex to shape & build customizable analytics for their end-users. They are looking for a good balance between easy-to-use and robust reporting.

“A lot of people aren’t comfortable with data. It’s kind of scary, they want to put their toes into it gradually. When they get canned reports, they don’t know how to read it. But once you show them how, they will start asking for small edits. And then, customization becomes a huge need.”

Data clearly comes to the fore. Most product managers have built some form of analytical capability in their platform. But there are two massive opportunities that currently go untapped.

  1. The user experience from a customer’s point of view
  2. The speed & efficiency of building analytics inside a SaaS product 

With an engaging, good-looking user experience, digital products can differentiate themselves and truly stick with their customers. If you’d like to assess how you can take your customer analytics experience to the next level, book a free assessment with our experts.


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