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Product usage analytics are being collected at an exponential rate in software businesses. But with such powerful tools for decision making comes great responsibility. Whether facing requirements from GDPR or other data privacy and protection laws – or serving highly regulated markets like healthcare, finance, or government – vendors are taking a closer look at ways to control the data they are collecting.

Balancing Software Analytics and Control

According to a recent Gartner survey of data and analytics leaders on adoption trends in the data and analytics space, end-user self-service analytics (53%), interactive data exploration (46%) and self-service data preparation (46%) were viewed as being critical or very important to their organizations. However, while data and analytics leaders acknowledge the added benefits that self-service analytics can provide to
their organization, they struggle to balance this agility with the appropriate levels of governance and control (Gartner, “How to Balance Control and Agility in Your Self-Service Analytics”).

Data Storage is a Key Consideration

Some vendors require single-tenant hosting or on-premise solutions to ensure that data is under their complete control. Beyond compliance, vendors gain additional benefits from collecting and storing data on servers they fully control, because complete, raw data can be collected and stored without limitations.

Many multi-tenant hosted solutions have some data that is not retained in processing, impose retention limits to save on costs, and lack the ability to securely collect personally identifiable information prohibiting vendors from gaining longer historical views and the ability to ask deeper questions at the most granular user levels.

Collecting software usage analytics data is increasingly central to making informed business decisions but should not be undertaken without understanding your obligations. Be sure to consider the types of data you are collecting, which data privacy and protection laws apply, and whether you are in a highly regulated market that has its own rules on data control. Beyond decisions around single-tenant vs. multi-tenant hosting, make sure you are working with an experienced partner that can provide guidance.