With Alooma, schema changes required back-end maintenance, but Fivetran connectors automatically adapt to schema and API changes.
After Alooma announced it was sunsetting its services for Redshift customers, Aceable moved to Fivetran for data integration. In one week, the business integrated all of its sources, including MongoDB — a project that was never completed with Alooma. With Fivetran, Aceable eliminates the need for back-end maintenance and adds Jira to its stack to track project progress across the entire org.
Pipeline & Transformations: Fivetran
Destination: Amazon Redshift
Business Intelligence Tool: Looker
Aceable, an education startup based in Austin, Texas, aims to be the main provider of online required education to help better people’s lives. Its main verticals include online driver’s education and defensive driving courses, as well as real estate courses through Aceable Real Estate School.
Candi Coe, Director of Data Architecture, joined Aceable two years ago to transform the data architecture. The business needed to scale its home-grown pipelines and open-source tracking. Coe made a number of changes: implementing Looker to enable self-service, onboarding tracking websites, and migrating pipelines to Alooma. But when Alooma announced it was sunsetting its service for Redshift customers after being acquired by Google, Coe had to find an alternative solution.
While Aceable didn’t choose to move away from Alooma, it had been experiencing a few challenges with the pipeline solution, including schema changes that required engineering on the back-end and difficulties with the MongoDB integration. “The way our MongoDB is set up, it didn’t work with the default Alooma configurations,” Coe explains. “We have a lot of collections that we were required to manually backfill. We were never able to finish the project with Alooma because we didn’t have the bandwidth.”
So when Alooma announced that it was sunsetting its services to Redshift, Coe knew she needed a replacement solution that would be able to successfully handle MongoDB. Aceable tested the Fivetran MongoDB connector and since setup, Coe hasn’t had to worry about it:
“It just works. It was a really fast transition. We were able to get all of our marketing APIs and MongoDB—a project which we had worked on for over a year but never finished with Alooma—integrated and running reports within a week.”
In addition to the MongoDB connector, Aceable chose Fivetran for the breadth of connectors and data available, and the ease of accessing the available collections within the API: “The granularity of data available is great, especially for the Bing integration. In the past, we had to refresh the Bing token every few months which would take an hour or two of my time.”
Although the business didn’t have Jira data centralized before Fivetran, Coe decided to add that connection when bringing on Fivetran, and it has had a large impact on analytics across the organization. “The engineering team has been making dashboards and utilizing them to track a lot of our company goals. I’ve been using it to track my own team’s progress. Project managers that are working on different consolidation projects are now asking for Looker logins and actively monitoring the dashboards.”
With the MongoDB data integrated, Aceable can better monitor its roadside assistance program. As Coe explains:
“The data that we get from the Allstate API feeds into the MongoDB collection. When we had Alooma, anytime the Allstate API schema would change, it could potentially break the code engine, stopping our subscription data from coming in. It would take myself or someone from my team a day or two to try to troubleshoot and validate the data. We just don’t have these issues with Fivetran, and I’ve gotten back 80-90% of the time I previously spent on pipeline configuration and maintenance.”
The business also uses Fivetran Transformations to execute SQL transformations in Redshift to improve database efficiency when running queries and uses the Fivetran Log Connector to be able to visualize data usage and monthly active rows.
Fivetran works very well with Redshift, Aceable’s warehouse of choice. Redshift was initially brought on because a lot of the internal infrastructure was already built on AWS and it is very easy to use, monitor query performance and add additional services. “The breadth of partnerships and services available with Redshift is great. I’m able to connect to any other AWS services that we need, like Lambda and EC2 instances and S3 buckets,” Coe explains.
Coe also appreciates the continuous improvements that Redshift makes that help the business: “The addition of concurrency scaling has been great. Being able to quickly resize clusters through the elastic resize and to add more or fewer nodes has been really helpful for us.”
With Looker, different teams are able to visualize the data following a self-service model. When people have questions, as opposed to having to build out a report, Coe and her team can send them an Explore view so they can make sense of the data.
The business relies on many dashboards that join data from multiple sources. A learning experience analyst built out two daily dashboards for both the driving and real estate verticals. They view high-level metrics like sales and customer acquisition cost, as well as more granular data like NPS score (derived from product data about users in MongoDB), and course completion data. Both dashboards are leveraged across the entire business, from executives and the finance team to learning analysts.
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 Amazon Redshift: Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse solution that makes it simple and cost-effective to efficiently analyze all of your data using your existing business intelligence tools.
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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