Zenefits Leaves the Code to Fivetran, Delivers Reports 3x Faster

By bringing data into Redshift in near real time, Zenefits saves 20 hours of engineering time a month and reduces reporting time from five days to less than a day.
Zenefits Leaves the Code to Fivetran, Delivers Reports 3x Faster

Summary

Manually writing code for ETL was time-intensive and unscalable. Zenefits added Fivetran to its existing stack of Amazon Redshift and Mode, saving about 20 hours a month in engineering time. End-users and key executive stakeholders have quicker access to the data and reports are delivered within a day, rather than the three to five days it previously took. With Fivetran bringing the data in and with Redshift's super-fast reporting capabilities, Zenefits is able to derive insights from the entirety of its data, including new sources.

Data Stack

Zenefits is an all-in-one SaaS platform that delivers HR, benefits and payroll services to small and mid-size businesses in America. As a growing business, Zenefits was struggling to gather and normalize data from disparate systems that users and executives needed to make decisions. The manual process of writing Python code was time-intensive and unscalable.

Adopting a Modern Data Architecture

"Just because we can do something internally, doesn't mean that we should if it requires manually intensive work and maintenance," says Sean Rober, Head of Analytics at Zenefits. "My goal is to automate what can be automated such that my team can focus on the core strategic insights that we need to drive the business forward not to focus on fixing broken code due to APIs changing, for example."

With Fivetran, the Analytics team can easily unify data from across the organization and focus on bringing in additional data sets. Fivetran was the final piece in the modern data stack: the business already had Mode Analytics for its BI and Amazon Redshift as its warehouse. "We're driving the business forward with a modern architecture that we can use to derive insights necessary for our end-users, executives and stakeholders," says Rober. 

The Fivetran Difference

With Fivetran, Zenefits is able to quickly get key data points around customers and business success in the correct format. Rober notes that peace of mind is a big benefit of using Fivetran. By knowing all of the data is loaded from the various sources into Redshift, he no longer has to worry about whether a Python code is broken or whether an API has been updated. Some notable features that Rober felt set Fivetran apart include:

  • Ease of use: easy to set up with data flowing into Redshift tables within seconds
  • Simplicity of adding new sources: non-technical users can easily add new sources without writing any code
  • Variety of sources: connectors for the best marketing, sales and finance apps provide assurance that Fivetran will scale and remain reliable well into the future
  • Customization: AWS lambda functions enable Zenefits to write custom integrations when necessary
  • Standardized schemas: automatically converting data types into standardized formats for warehouses makes it easy for Zenefits to use the data right away, with no additional transformations required
  • Support: responsive support team helps answer questions and provides updates when issues occur

Saved Time, Improved Insights

Fivetran saves Zenefits about 20 hours a month in engineering time and enables end-users and key executive stakeholders to truly understand what is going on in real-time rather than constantly waiting for results. Reports that took three to five days to generate in the past can now be delivered within a day.

Fivetran not only saves the business time, but it makes analysis much more comprehensive. Adding a connector is simple and enables the business to add additional sources to analyze, including Google AdWords, LinkedIn Ads, as well as ad hoc files into Redshift through FTP. "In the past, adding these sources would have taken too much work, but with Fivetran, it's super easy and lightning fast," says Rober. "We can now create Mode reports and dashboards around the full customer experience and the full sales and marketing experiences in ways that we never have before. Fivetran brings the data in and Redshift's super-fast reporting capabilities enable us to derive insights from the data."

Rober knows that having timely data and a modern data architecture is essential for Zenefits to remain at the top of the industry. "There's more data coming out of SaaS applications than ever before. It's critical to have up-to-date data as a software company because it really helps drive the business forward and keep pace with innovation. Having data at our fingertips gives us a competitive edge. We know we're looking at the latest insights and the latest data without question."

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 Redshift: Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse solution that makes it simple and cost-effective to efficiently analyse all of your data using your existing business intelligence tools.

About Mode: Mode is a data analysis platform that combines a powerful, web-based SQL editor with charting and sharing tools.

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