5 KPIs for internal product managers to track

Published Mar 6, 2024
A set of metrics for improving the employee app experience and driving better business results. 

When you hear the position “product manager,” odds are you think of someone who works on external-facing products for customers. But increasingly, companies need product managers—whether they hold the official title or not—to build and optimize internal products for their fellow employees.

An internal product manager is responsible for the development and enhancement of digital products that are used internally by a company’s employees. Internal product management is all about building solutions that improve business processes, increase efficiency, and contribute to the overall effectiveness of the organization. 

In particular, the rise of agile methodologies and low- and no-code development platforms means teams can build and iterate on internal software much easier than in the past. As a result of all of this, companies are investing more and more in custom internal tools—which require individuals and teams to build, maintain, and optimize. Here are five KPIs for internal product managers to track in order to drive business outcomes.

1. Application adoption

As an internal PM, it’s important to know how many users are engaging with the application(s) or tool(s) you manage. This metric often takes the form of monthly active users (MAU), weekly active users (WAU), or daily active users (DAU)

In the past, businesses would sometimes delay tracking adoption until well after a digital transformation was underway, but no longer. According to McKinsey findings, the most successful CEOs “are as passionate about adoption as they are about strategy. They invest time up front in making sure that the people actually using the solutions…have a clear voice in the development process.”

The best way to keep a finger on the pulse of app adoption is through the rich analytics that the best digital adoption solutions offer. Those insights will help answer important questions. Is there a user subset with markedly low adoption rates, or is the problem organization-wide? Depending on the answers to these and other questions, internal PMs can take actions to increase adoption via in-app guidance and alerts or by collecting feedback in the app to better discern what the problem is. 

2. Support deflection

Internal product managers don’t exist in isolation. They often work hand in hand with IT and business operations to ensure digital tools are providing the maximum possible value. Part of that effort involves reducing the amount of time spent manually providing support to employees. 

The best way for teams to drive support ticket deflection is by first measuring the baseline amount of ticket requests related to given apps or tools. After a set amount of time following the deployment of in-app support or resources, they can gauge the effectiveness of their intervention by comparing the new norm to the baseline. 

These interventions can take the form of an in-application help center or resource hub, which houses support and guidance around various processes and functionality. Support can also come in the form of training deployed within the app itself to individuals or teams around a given task.

3. Segmented application Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is arguably the most common metric that businesses use to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty. It comes in the form of a one-question survey that asks, “How likely is it that you’d recommend this brand to a friend or colleague?” Customers answer the survey on a scale of 0-10. Scores of 9 or 10 are considered “Promoters,” 7 or 8 as “Passives,” and 0 through 6 as “Detractors.” Companies then subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters to produce their Net Promoter Score.

Application Net Promoter Score is similar to NPS, and like the former is most effectively gauged within the app itself, as people are using it and their experience is top of mind. Application NPS, however, is sent to employees who use a workplace application or piece of software (“How likely is it that you would recommend this product or application to a friend or colleague?”). 

With segmented NPS, internal product managers consider the frequency with which individuals or teams use an application when evaluating their scores. For app NPS scores pertaining to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool such as Salesforce, for example, sales teams who use the app with the most regularity and frequency would have their scores scrutinized most closely or weighted more heavily.

4. Workflow productivity

Workflow productivity is the amount of time it takes for employees to complete business-critical workflows. What constitutes a business-critical workflow varies by context—it can be either a one-time or infrequent workflow (e.g. entering contact info in an HR platform, writing performance reviews) or a recurring workflow (e.g. processing loan applications). In measuring this KPI, an internal PM’s focus should generally be on improving the latter because of their frequency and impact on things like meeting revenue goals. Here again, the best way to track this is via the analytics of a digital adoption solution.

The “average time to complete” metric’s importance is twofold: It’s not only a measure of productivity, but also an indicator of how well a process was designed. Is a workflow slowing down your users? Is it hurting the customer experience because it directly slows the speed of service delivery by employees? These are the types of questions you may encounter when investigating workflow productivity.

5. Feature sprawl

Perhaps no problem is more unique to the homegrown apps so many internal PMs work on than feature sprawl. This is a metric that helps internal PMs gauge how bloated the custom, internal-facing apps they work on have become. 

It’s often the case in homegrown apps that the number of accumulated features grows over time. Business needs change and staff knowledge and best practices evolve with turnover and new hires. As that happens, features that may once have been business critical end up all but unused. When these underused features accumulate, it’s up to the internal PM to think about sunsetting or improving them.

Internal PMs may choose to measure feature sprawl several ways—for instance in terms of the number of features overall or the number of features per user. JLL, for example, suspected that a number of features on its internally built MarketSphere app were going unused. Leveraging Pendo’s analytics, they were able to see how and where employees were using the platform and began updating and/or sunsetting MarketSphere features accordingly. The resulting improvements to the app experience led to a 30 point increase in NPS score for MarketSphere.

Want to learn more about how Pendo helps internal PMs track and improve workplace software usage? Check out our demo center here.