Use Case #17: Discovering what hardware environments customers are using
Will increasing hardware requirements cause problems for our customers?
There are often good reasons to change a product, but it can be difficult to know how those changes will impact customers.
Product management at a graphics software company was convinced that increasing minimum resolution requirements from 1024px to 1920px was essential to delivering a more attractive, competitive user interface.
But, they worried that too many current customers were running on hardware that wouldn’t meet the new minimum requirements — leading to dissatisfaction and churn. The company needed greater visibility into its customers’ hardware environments in order to set minimum requirements for future versions of its applications.
Using Usage Intelligence, the team ran comprehensive hardware architecture reports identifying all the information it needed to make data-driven decisions about future versions’ system requirements. It captured screen resolution, form factors, and numbers of monitors for all currently active product instances worldwide. Using custom properties, it also captured graphic card vendor and model data, offering insight into the graphics processing power possessed by users. Beyond video, it also captured .NET framework version data to help its Windows developers assess which capabilities are available on their users’ systems. Beyond these capabilities, Usage Intelligence can also forward any other string of data the software can capture about its user environment -- so, for example, product managers can determine which versions of OpenGL or DirectX are in use, and make future product compatibility decisions accordingly.
Upgraded product interface while managing impact to small number of customers.
Product management determined that only 5% of their customers were still using resolutions below 1920px. Based on this data, it confidently upgraded its interface for the higher resolution. This opened the way to additional UI/UX advances that provide a better user experience for 95% of the company’s customer base, and make the application far more attractive to prospects. Reports about hardware architecture, operating systems, and other aspects of customers’ technical environment now run on an ongoing basis. Product management always has up-to-date information about its users’ realworld, present-state hardware. Using this information, it can replicate common hardware setups to test new versions, previewing their product’s performance as customers would experience it. Product teams can also consistently plan software product roadmaps that progress along with their customers’ user environments.