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Billie’s Need for Speed and Ease-of-Use Met by Fivetran
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Billie’s Need for Speed and Ease-of-Use Met by Fivetran

Billie’s Need for Speed and Ease-of-Use Met by Fivetran

Centralising data from different channels has enabled Billie to become more data-driven, feeding insights into an analytics team.

By Alexa Fogarty, April 8, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Customer acquisition costs cut by 70% by building a precise attribution model powered by Fivetran

  • Faster decision time on client credit score and engagement thanks to five-minute data synchronization frequency

  • Centralized JIRA data led to increased cross-team productivity during COVID-19 crisis

  • Larger library of available connectors compared to other data integration vendors

  • 5-minute setup and out-of-the-box connectors

Data Stack

Pipeline: Fivetran

Source: Microsoft Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Ad Insights, LinkedIn Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Jira, NetSuite, Salesforce, MySQL

Destination: Snowflake

Business Intelligence: Sisense

I recommend Fivetran. One of three best-in-class tools for doing data analytics properly. Not only is it incredibly powerful, it’s also quick and easy to get set up.

- Igor Chtivelband, Co-founder and VP of Data and CRM at Billie.io

Berlin-based Billie is a fintech start-up that is reinventing the way small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) handle all their outgoing invoices. Through Billie, SMEs can get instant financing for each invoice (i.e. they do not need to wait 90 days to get paid by their customers). Billie.io also outsources the collections process and coverage of default risk. The invoice factoring business model is not new but Billie makes it simpler and faster for clients by leveraging the latest technology and data analytics. 

The Challenge: Searching for a solution 

Company Co-founder Igor Chtivelband is an experienced data engineer and always knew that business intelligence and fast access to insights would be key to Billie’s success. Selling the services via an online platform was the main go-to-market strategy, so the first data sources to mine were popular digital advertising services like LinkedIn and Google Ads. By analysing the effectiveness of each channel, the budget could be better spent. 

Another data source Billie.io  wanted to tap into was JIRA, a platform for tracking and managing software projects. “We wanted to calculate the velocity of development and the performance of the different teams. It was one of a range of use cases that we knew would help us function more efficiently,” he said. During the COVID-19 crisis this set-up helped Billie.io boost cross-team productivity while the whole team was working from home.

Before Fivetran, data pipelines were set up and managed manually. What Chtivelband describes as “a do-it-yourself approach” was time-consuming and difficult to scale. “Replicating 140 tables is a completely different story from trying to do 20. Your schema is constantly changing; it’s harder to maintain and you start to have performance problems,” he said.

Finally, he arrived at the agile data management process the company depends heavily on, Fivetran, Snowflake, and Sisense. Choosing the right model was one thing, finding the three best-of-breed components was another.

The Solution: Buy over build 

The company experimented with a shortlist of market leaders in the connector space. Fivetran emerged as the clear winner because of simplicity of use, the library of available connectors and price. Frequency of replication was another benchmark Fivetran passed with its five-minute schema updates. Chtivelband explained,

It was crucial for us to have the very latest data for our team whose job it is to approve or reject customer invoices. Our service agreement guarantees a quick decision so we cannot waste a minute.

The need for speed was further addressed by Fivetran webhooks that sync real-time data from a custom application into Snowflake. “They are perfect for when you want to ingest some event-based data from your CRM system, for example, into an endpoint, your data warehouse. It’s a really useful feature to have,” he said. 

After much trial and error, Igor Chtivelband achieved all he wanted with Fivetran providing the connectors and Snowflake the data warehouse. Centralising data from different channels has enabled Billie to become more data-driven, feeding insights into an Analytics team that extracts insights for Marketing, Operations and Sales departments.

“As a data engineer I like to build things, but I was convinced right away by the high reliability of Fivetran data pipelines,” said Chtivelband, “If I had to choose between build or buy again, I would always choose buy”. 

The Results: Unique business model 

Fivetran has helped Billie.io develop its unique model while saving resources and money. Igor Chtivelband stated,

Hiring data engineers is super expensive and maintaining the quality of a manual pipeline is hard, so it made sense to look for a technological solution that a small team could run that could still help us grow.

At the same time, the investment in data analytics tools, including Fivetran, have had a big impact across the business. Marketing’s ability to analyse advertising effectiveness has cut customer acquisition costs by 70%. A team of five data scientists are now building ML models, based on data warehoused in Snowflake to calculate the credit score of potential customers. “Without this kind of analysis, we could have gone out of business,” said Chtivelband.

The Accounting team also benefited heavily from the automated data integration provided by Fivetran.  Igor Chtivelband underlined that by saying:

Some companies with a business model similar to ours have seven or eight people in accounting/payment departments. At Billie, thanks to Fivetran and Snowflake, one person is enough.

Reports generated from internal accounts in NetSuite data have also been a game-changer. “They were bad before; barely there,” he said. “Now we have the velocity to be able to experiment and see the fruits of our labour very quickly.” He sums up:

I recommend Fivetran. It’s one of three best-in-class tools for doing data analytics properly. Not only is it incredibly powerful, it’s also quick and easy to get setup.

About Fivetran: Fivetran, the leader in automated data integration, delivers ready-to-use connectors that automatically adapt as schemas and APIs change, ensuring consistent, reliable access to data. Fivetran improves the accuracy of data-driven decisions by continuously synchronizing data from source applications to any destination, allowing analysts to work with the freshest possible data. To accelerate analytics, Fivetran automates in-warehouse transformations and programmatically manages ready-to-query schemas. Fivetran is headquartered in Oakland, California, with offices around the globe. For more information, visit fivetran.com.

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