Sendbird Scales With a Data-Driven DNA

With Fivetran and Looker, Sendbird engineers save 20 hours a week and the business builds out multiple critical dashboards.
Sendbird Scales With a Data-Driven DNA

Key Takeaway

With Fivetran, Sendbird saves each existing engineer 20 hours per month. Engineers are focused on projects such as building the overall data architecture rather than ELT. Without Fivetran, Sendbird would need at least two additional employees to maintain the current architecture. 

With the consolidated data platform, The business has built out a number of Looker dashboards, including quarterly summary data, Objectives and Key Results (OKR) metrics, investor relations, cohort analysis, recruitment and a COVID-19 threat and opportunity analysis. The entire organization, from sales to recruitment to engineering, is looking at metrics to guide decisions.

Data Stack

  • Pipeline: Fivetran and in-house for select product data
  • Sources: 10+ SaaS apps, including Aurora MySQL and Salesforce 
  • Destination: Postgres RDS 
  • Business Intelligence Tool: Looker
Sendbird is a communication API and SDK company that offers in-app chat, voice and video solutions that connect users, drive engagement and increase transactions. If you’ve ever used the chat functionality on Delivery Hero, Hinge, Yahoo, Headspace or Reddit, your communications were powered by Sendbird.

SangHee Lee, the Head of Operations and Business Intelligence, is responsible for delivering data-driven business insights that ensure successful go-to-market and operations across the seven regions that Sendbird operates in. But prior to Fivetran, the business had very little foundation for business intelligence (BI).

Centralizing Siloed Data

“When we first started building the company, we weren’t able to worry too much about centralizing our tools and underlying infrastructure. Three years later we felt the consequences,” Lee explains. “Our product, customer, sales and marketing data lived within their respective apps and databases and we were limited to in-app reporting through Salesforce and Marketo, for instance. Reports and dashboards were created manually and rolled up to different figures – we tried hard to build a single source of truth.”

Lee was introduced to Fivetran by Looker, and appreciated the consultative process, driven by “faith and partnership instead of a pure commercial transaction.” He believes that the level of support and commitment from Fivetran was critical in his decision to become, and remain, a customer.

From Reluctant to Raving Engineers

Before committing to Fivetran, Lee had to get buy-in from the data engineering team based in its APAC office in South Korea. “I was told Fivetran was one of the best, most reliable data integration solutions. I believed we wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. But people in different geo-locations didn’t have the same exposure to these technologies as I did here in Silicon Valley.”

While reluctant at first, the engineers quickly came to see value in Fivetran. With the pipeline in place, they’re now working on building a data lake. As Lee describes: 

“After using Fivetran for a month or two, the engineers fell in love. Their daily manual tasks are alleviated with the aid of Fivetran. Now they’re working on building our data lake, not pipeline maintenance. Fivetran has become a blueprint for the best practices of ELT.”

Fivetran saved each existing engineer approximately 20 hours per month when first launching its BI and updated architecture. Lee estimates that, without Fivetran, Sendbird would need at least two additional employees to maintain the current architecture: “One data engineer and I worked together to build our architecture and dashboards. Fivetran and Looker enabled us to do this with just two people and no additional resources.”

With Looker, Lee has been able to easily implement BI on the data that Fivetran centralizes: “The latency and visualizations are intuitive for our executive team. The Look ML function is great, and makes it easy to look at special objects, such as cohort analysis and regional breakdown.”

Reliable Access to Data  

While the entire business benefits from Fivetran and Looker, Sendbird’s CEO is one of the biggest fans. “Previously, he had to talk to a salesperson for sales dashboards and reports and then a marketing person about Marketo data. Now he only looks at the Looker dashboards, it is his single source of truth.”

Examples of dashboards and reports that Lee has built that the business turns to regularly include:
 
  • A quarterly summary data dashboard
  • An OKR dashboard that populates related metrics
  • An investor relationship dashboard that investors can look at to answer questions
  • A cohort analysis dashboard that functions as the basis for marketing and sales pipeline meetings
  • A recently-built COVID-19 dashboard that the business recently conducted to analyze the active consumption level of customers by industry using real-time product and business-related metrics to predict some of the threats of and opportunities of COVID-19. “We proactively joined the data and showed the trends before our investors could even ask us to,” explains Lee. “They appreciate our ability to process and analyze the data in a streamlined way.” 

A Culture of Transparency, Accountability & Confidence

As Lee sees it, data changes the culture of a business by providing transparency, accountability and confidence: 

“When we back our narratives with quantitative data and give the organization access to the important information, it shows transparency and creates trust. With clean, accurate data in front of us, we’re more accountable. With this architecture, we’ve given our employees and investors confidence that we’re on the right track.”


The entire organization has started to view the data in new ways and everyone uses it to drive decisions. “Now the engineering team wants to understand more about the business impact of the product. We were able to join product data, marketing data, and a sales contract-related object together. The product and engineering teams are looking at how specific features relate to customer retention and willingness to pay and how fast they’re converted to closed-won. One engineer was talking about dollar retention metrics and how that impacts product engineering. The data-driven DNA is growing through the whole organization.” 

To learn how Fivetran can help you save engineering time while improving the data culture of your business, sign up for a personalized demo or start your free trial today. 

About Fivetran: Shaped by the real-world needs of data analysts, Fivetran technology is the smartest, fastest way to replicate your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance cloud warehouse. Fivetran connectors deploy in minutes, require zero maintenance, and automatically adjust to source changes — so your data team can stop worrying about engineering and focus on driving insights.

About Looker: Looker is a modern platform for data that offers data analytics and business insights to every department at scale, and easily integrates into applications to deliver data directly into the decision-making process. 
 

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