Product Usage Analytics Improves Software User Experience

The Challenge

Many software products produce logs tracking their usage. These anonymized logs contain information such as session duration, the user’s computer, and the number of mouse clicks to execute a certain command or use a specific feature. SolidWorks contracted with Elder Research to use product usage analytics to increase organizational understanding of their 3D software users’ behavior. The goal was to develop cluster and segmentation models to provide a unique cross‐industry view of how users were interacting with the software.

The Solution

The log data consisted of more than 1TB of data, collected at the rate of 150,000 software sessions per day. It was stored in a format that was not amenable to analytics, requiring significant data exploration, cleaning, and feature engineering prior to modeling, all implemented within AWS. Elder Research then worked with SolidWorks to understand how commands are invoked from within the software and which commands were most appropriate to include in cluster development. Using a robust cross-validation procedure, Elder Research determined eight distinct user segments that could be predicted with 92% accuracy. The figure below illustrates how customers from each cluster use each software command.

Popularity (x-axis) is the percentage of users in the specified cluster that employed the command at least once. Intensity (y-axis) is the frequency of command usage. Working with SolidWorks, Elder Research was able to create user personas for each cluster, making the data come alive in a way that enabled SolidWorks to start reaching out to their clients in a more meaningful and actionable way.


A robust user segmentation model was developed based on observed command sequences in the SolidWorks software, and eight distinct segments were identified with a mean of 92% accuracy. In collaboration with SolidWorks, these segments defined unique user personas, enabling more effective customer engagement and outreach. The data understanding from the segmentation served as the basis for a custom visualization tool, and inspired a robust analytic strategy, helping solidify SolidWorks as a leader in the field of 3D software tools.

Download This Case Study