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July 14, 2022

Announcing Feature Flags Analytics & Business Intelligence

Table of Contents

We’re thrilled to announce the introduction of analytics & business intelligence for Harness Feature Flags. Users of Feature Flags - which can be anything from simple software switches to hide or activate features to powerful, automated release strategies - can now gain the most complete visibility into their feature flags usage and operations with custom analytics offered by any feature flags solution.

The Harness Software Delivery Platform supports Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Feature Flags for development and operations teams. With this new capability, Harness users can bring together analytics across the entirety of the software delivery lifecycle in a way no platform has allowed to date. It’s true business intelligence for software delivery.

Leverage analytics to gain visibility into the usage and adoption of feature flags across your teams and drive strategic improvements in these areas, as well as conduct audits for governance and compliance, and identify ways to improve feature release processes.

The Need for Visibility

When we announced Harness Feature Flags earlier this year, we started with a developer-first experience, automated progressive delivery, and visual feature release pipelines. We wanted to ensure that we could build powerful analytics to provide deep visibility into every aspect of users’ feature flags solution.

Moreover, understanding metrics like false positive rate helps teams evaluate the efficiency of their flags. Getting deep visibility into individual flags’ usage is one thing, but what about visibility across the whole solution?

Without this capability, we found that users struggled to solve these problems:

  • No high-level view into how teams are using feature flags.
  • Who’s doing what with flags?
  • Who’s creating flags?
  • How many flags exist?
  • Is the solution actively used?
  • Slow audit process, done manually per flag.
  • Lack of data to demonstrate utilization or maturity of their feature flag solution.
  • Can’t relate feature flag metrics to changes across the SDLC.

It’s not just about visibility, though. It’s about complete access to and control over all of the data contained within the feature flags implementation. Imagine being able to test in production and see how the system is performing or what's being done across any dimension or metric that you can think of - like using a database query, but visual.

In-App Business Intelligence Dashboard Editor
In-app dashboard editor

Want a high-level view that’s scheduled to send to your boss every Monday? How about details into how many flags of a specific type have been evaluated for a customer? These use cases, and many more, are easily visualized using the business intelligence capabilities now available.

Analytics & Business Intelligence for Feature Flags

Harness provides an out-of-the-box dashboard that provides users a quick glance across multiple dimensions that are commonly used by developers, engineering managers, and product teams. Users can see the details of their feature flag implementation in the following ways in this dashboard:

  • Feature flags by environment;
  • Feature flag type and status;
  • Flags by user and target;
  • Creation history.
Out-of-the-Box Dashboard Provided by Harness
Out-of-the-box dashboard provided by Harness

In addition to this base dashboard, users can create new dashboards that are fully customizable across any metric or dimension. Users are also able to customize schedules and alerts within each dashboard, ensuring that users can automate reporting and be alerted just-in-time about unexpected behavior as it occurs.

To get your brain jogging, here are some additional examples of things you may want to understand as a user:

  • Mix analytics across SDLC if you’re using other Harness modules.
  • See analytics and usage - creation, evaluations.
  • See flag changes in production for compliance needs.
  • Schedule reports and create alerts based on custom triggers.
  • Allow teams to answer questions that include:
  • Can I see flags by team and other cross-sections?
  • How much activity with flags in production?
  • Who's creating flags?
  • Who are flags targeting?
  • Did my team make any new flags this week?
  • How many flags do we have?
  • Who isn’t regularly using flags, and who's using them a lot?
  • Where do we have a lot of activity?
  • All prod flag changes for governance or compliance needs.
  • This can also be a weekly report your compliance team can get on Monday mornings.
  • Seeing what new flags are created.
  • E.g. see all flags added last 7 days.
  • Who made them?
  • How many evaluations?

Added Value of the Harness Platform

As you might imagine, the combinations and details you might want to see are endless, and with analytics & business intelligence with Harness Feature Flags, your imagination is all that holds you back. For users of additional product modules from Harness, there are a few more use cases that are unlocked!

To share one example, you’d be able to see that you did 90 CI builds, 17 deploys across 3 services, made 7 new flags, and enabled 4 of them across 4 customers.

  • Create a canonical SDLC DORA metrics dashboard - seeing how CI+CD+FF work together to improve these key metrics.
  • See for a team, or the whole organization, everything from code to feature delivery:
  • Velocity;
  • Blockers;
  • Bottlenecks;
  • Underutilization;
  • And more.

How to Get Started

If you’re already a Harness user, you can head over to the Dashboards part of the platform. There, you can filter by Feature Flags to find the out-of-the-box dashboards, or create your own! 

And if you haven’t signed up to use Harness yet but want to get started, you can easily sign up for a free trial. Happy developing!

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