The 2019 Feature Adoption Report

Executive Summary

Customers are fickle. Users are distracted. Competition is fierce. Investors are eager for returns. These are the daily pressures of today’s software organizations. As the pace of innovation increases in a race to please customers, engage users, and build the best products, the most limited resource is engineering. Yet many organizations still end up wasting both time and money when they commit their engineering resources toward features their customers rarely even use.

In this inaugural report, we looked at the impact, in real dollars, of underutilized software features on the global software industry. To conduct this study, we analyzed feature usage across 615 Pendo subscriptions for customers who have used Pendo for more than a year. We initially planned to create a benchmark for feature adoption for our customers, but quickly realized this study had broader implications.

Our findings challenge software executives and digital product leaders to take a hard look at the features their teams are developing, as well as the processes and tools used to analyze their effectiveness. After reading this report, investors and shareholders, in particular, may wonder whether their dollars are being put to the best use.

Software product leaders should evaluate the time and effort engineers spend building features customers rarely use.

Investors should question whether their dollars are being put to the best use.

Key Findings

Based on an aggregation of anonymized product usage data, Pendo determined that 80 percent of features in the average software product are rarely or never used. Publicly-traded cloud software companies collectively invested up to $29.5 billion developing these features, dollars that could have been spent on higher value features and unrealized customer value.

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