At this stage, it's too early to replace customer surveys. The goal is monitoring adoption and customer usage levels. While the exact threshold of "there's trouble here" varies wildly and will have to be discovered by each SaaS vendor, the general idea is to identify the red, yellow and green levels of adoption and usage by category of user. All you have to do is save one or two at-risk customers and you've paid for a decent project.
Once you get the renewal rate above 90%, you have to switch gears again in the business case. Part 3 is upsell revenue - figuring out which customers are most likely to buy more. The general analytical exercise is similar to what you did in part 2, but the specific findings and action items will be different. So will the payoffs - upsell revenues are nicely profitable and have the sex appeal that interests the sales folks.
With all of these projects, the focus will be aggregate activity levels, not the excruciating detail of full clickstream analysis. This means it will be both technically and financially tractable, with projects measured in months instead of years.
David Taber is the author of the Prentice Hall book, Salesforce.com Secrets of Success, now in its second edition, and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel and India. Taber has more than 25 years of experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.
Read more about software as a service (saas) in CIO's Software as a Service (SaaS) Drilldown.