Best Practices

How Product Data Plugs into Your Cloud Migration Strategy

Published Aug 3, 2021

Moving your on-premise product to the cloud, shifting from a services organization to software as a service (SaaS), or releasing a new version of a legacy application are enormous shifts for both your customers and internal teams. Luckily, though, teams can use their cloud product itself to create an optimized customer experience for their users—both existing and new. 

Taking a product-led approach to cloud migration means putting your product at the center of everything you do—and it all begins with data. Knowing how customers use your software will help you define your migration strategy, then continue improving it over time by driving adoption of the right product areas and features. What’s more, being able to collect and analyze this data without relying on your engineering team is crucial—the last thing engineers need while working on these large initiatives is to be tasked with data gathering.

Here are four key ways product data can help you optimize your cloud migration strategy:

Adoption and dropoff data

As you begin digging into product usage data, spend time specifically examining data that will help you understand adoption. Remember: the true measure of success for any cloud product is product adoption; it’s not just about moving users over to the cloud and assuming they’ll be successful. If users aren’t utilizing your cloud app and any new features you’ve released as part of it the way you intended, there’s a risk they’ll leave the product for good. See if you can identify any patterns in the places users drop off in workflows. Maybe it’s a matter of making certain features more prominent in the UI, or adding an in-app guide to steer users in the right direction.

Feature-level data

Moving to the cloud means your product team is able to build and release new features more frequently. The trick is to make sure you’re building the right features. You’ll also need to decide which features from the old product to transfer over to the new version, where you should invest even further, and if there are any features you should remove entirely. These are important decisions that shouldn’t be left to guessing or gut instinct. Enter: product data.

When you start moving groups of users over to your new application, track their usage at the feature level to better understand how (or if) the cloud app is being adopted. Here are some data points to keep an eye on:

  • Which features in the cloud app are being used the most and the least
  • Where there is drop off in any workflows or key tasks
  • If users are accessing the features you know are important 
  • Positive trends that indicate who the best candidates are to move to the cloud app next

Product data for retention

As a cloud (or SaaS) business, your company will now have to deal with renewals. Customers no longer purchase your software once, but instead purchase monthly or annual subscriptions that must be renewed. This makes it even more crucial to nurture customer relationships and ensure you’re providing the best product experience possible. If not, there’s not much stopping users from abandoning your product and finding a better alternative.

Think of product data as your foundation for driving retention. Your product and customer teams should be consistently monitoring product usage to identify any areas where users need help or ways to improve the product’s functionality. This proactive approach will ensure you’re staying ahead of any issues and keeping users of your cloud product engaged for the long haul.

Balancing quantitative and qualitative

Quantitative data is paramount to a successful product-led cloud migration, but it’s equally important to balance these inputs with qualitative data, too. Companies move to the cloud so they can be more agile and continue improving their products over time—and they need a way to leverage the customer voice to inform these decisions.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to customer feedback:

  • Use a tool that allows you to manage feedback and feature requests all in one place, ensuring there is a single source of truth for everyone in your organization
  • Make sure you have a way to communicate back with users about the feedback they’ve submitted
  • Leverage in-app surveys and polls to proactively ask users for feedback, for example asking them what they think of the new app after their first login
  • If you’re moving users over to the new product in waves, collect feedback and use it ​​to make changes ahead of future migration phases and/or a broader release