09 May 2019 | Case Study

MindMax Automates ETL, Sees Benefits of a Modern Data Stack

Ciara Rafferty
Ciara Rafferty
MindMax Automates ETL, Sees Benefits of a Modern Data Stack
With Fivetran + Sisense, MindMax frees up 50% of its BI team’s time, eliminates ETL problems and creates useful dashboards for its clients.

Key Takeaways

  • With Sisense handling BI and Fivetran handling ETL, MindMax finds that its data pipelines no longer break and its BI is more robust.
  • MindMax can use its data connectors to create multiple social media and marketing automation systems insights — critical for a marketing and enrollment services company with many clients.
  • Fivetran has freed up at least 50% of the BI team’s time.
  • MindMax plans on connecting additional marketing automation systems and student information systems.

Data Stack

MindMax partners with universities to increase enrollment, particularly among continuing education and adult learners. Partner universities benefit from data-driven insights that inform optimization of traffic and lead generation, empower administrators to maximize and manage enrollment, and guide potential students through the application and registration process.

Brian DiScipio, VP of Technology, and Kristen Warendorf, Senior Business Analyst, knew that scaling the MindMax customer base would hinge on the full automation of BI and ETL through the creation of a modern data pipeline and stack. The move away from manual data extraction was a top priority. With Sisense and Fivetran, MindMax was able to automate its ETL process and connect all of its data sources to craft a single source of truth—fueling its unrelenting commitment to customer satisfaction and actionable, data-driven insights at every step of the enrollment funnel.

The Challenge: Analytics and ETL—Fully Automated

To demonstrate value to potential customers, MindMax must measure and track processes from the top of the funnel to enrollment. Its legacy analytics & BI solution required manual extraction of data from disparate sources, including Salesforce, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Pardot—and a manual data mashup in Excel.

“It was really difficult to create reports and dashboards that were both meaningful to clients and incorporated data from all these different sources of information,” says DiScipio. DiScipio and Warendorf knew there had to be a cleaner, faster way to empower their customers with data-driven insights.

The Search Is On

Warendorf quickly approved the addition of the Sisense Data & Analytics Platform. “It gave me the ability to pull in data from different sources, manipulate all of that data in one place, and present it really simply in one chart or graph,” she says. “It’s really cool and powerful.”

MindMax chose Sisense not only for its functionality but also for its price point and ability to serve multiple clients through white-labeled embedded analytics in its web portal. With Sisense, MindMax was covered on the BI front. But for MindMax’s complex data pipeline, an even wider variety of data connectors would be necessary to completely automate the ETL process. Partnership with an industry leader in automated data-connectors was necessary to bring MindMax’s full data picture into focus.

A Single Source of Truth Achieved with Sisense and Fivetran

Sisense recommended Fivetran as a preferred platform partner for simplifying data connectivity to high-performance data warehouses. Setting up Fivetran and Google BigQuery was quick and easy, and it instantly freed up a tremendous amount of Warendorf’s time, which she could dedicate to conducting analyses and generating insights. “Bringing Fivetran on was life-changing for me and my job,” she says. “Trying to figure out why ETL was breaking down, how to fix it, and how to bring historical data through was frustrating. The difference now is night and day.”

Fivetran brought all of MindMax’s data into one location, Google BigQuery, and the MindMax team used Sisense to create dashboards and analytics using this data. Warendorf finds that the products are well integrated and that the Fivetran and Sisense teams work well together.

Hero Moment

With the joint Sisense-Fivetran solution, DiScipio and Warendorf have freed up 50% of their time—and MindMax and its customers are finally empowered by insights gleaned from clean, consistent data. In addition to Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Pardot, the company is adding social platforms and student information systems as data sources. Colleges and universities use varying software systems and technologies, so the ability to ingest student information as part of the data set provides a huge advantage.

With Sisense and Fivetran, both internal teams and customers can nurture a more data-driven culture. Internally, half of MindMax employees are actively using Sisense across multiple departments, including marketing and project management. But empowering customers with insights is where MindMax truly shines. Today, team members can easily pull data for each customer, display actionable insights in a meaningful way, and keep data private across customer accounts. Some customers even have access to their own customized dashboards powered by real-time analysis—with this initiative set to expand into 2019 and beyond.

About Fivetran: Our standardized technology delivers data into your warehouse the right way. Shaped by the real-world needs of data analysts, Fivetran technology supports agile analytics, enabling data-backed decisions across organizations. After a five-minute setup, Fivetran replicates all your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance data warehouse. Our standardized cloud pipelines are fully managed and zero-maintenance.

About BigQuery: BigQuery is Google’s serverless and highly scalable enterprise data warehouse, designed to make your data analysts productive at an unmatched price-performance.

About Sisense: The Sisense business analytics platform empowers developers, data engineers, and business analysts to easily simplify complex data and transform it into powerful analytics apps.

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