Empowering Yieldify with data: what has Looker done for us?
Apr 4, 2016
I recently stumbled upon Justin Kan’s old post The First Time I Used Programming at Work.
This post reminded me of my time at Rangespan - where my colleague and friend, Charles Dupont, wrote an excellent article on why learning SQL is important for any business team.
The article describes how, through the use of data, a small team managed to automate 90% of repeatable tasks (obviously a huge time saver) and enabled individuals to delve deeper into the reasons why specific actions were successful or not.
Having taken the leap early on, any new hire was able to use data to learn and develop effectively - and that’s how I got started in Business Intelligence.
This short blog post reflects on how Looker has changed the way we work at Yieldify by empowering employees with easily accessible data - here we go.
Business Intelligence or Intelligent Business?
Since being deployed, the Business Intelligence (BI) team hasn’t become a bottleneck for data - instead we’ve thrived as a sounding board for feedback from various teams, helping decipher what information is needed to drive growth. The most recent example of this is the integration of Hubspot with our systems to measure the impact of our Content Marketing on Inbound leads.
So, what else has Looker enabled our BI team to do?
Decisions are all backed by data - every request can now be answered in seconds, the simple interface allows anyone to easily run a report to test their assumptions. This has made all our teams smarter in how we do business. Making decisions that actually impact clients and their campaigns - understanding success to make everyone successful.
Automate everything that is repeatable - once we know what we need, automate the report to ensure that you can work on the highest value action. The BI team is pushing more notification reports to be built in Looker to ensure we can see the root cause there and then.
Challenging the current processes - we learn more from accurate and clean observations of our processes. Testing various legacy actions to see whether they apply: one of our Account Managers has even started creating an improved Client Report.
Even more data - empowering each team to be self-reliant means that they begin to ask more data - eg. running funnel analysis on marketing strategies or understanding what campaign attributes are seasonally affected. This helps BI and Data Engineering prioritise what matters.
Technical interest - with more interest in how everything works and what affects the outcome, we have had more interested team members wanting to learn SQL - a gateway to driving the business to have more technical knowledge.
While working at Amazon, I saw that there was a steep learning curve for anyone not familiar with SQL (or programming) and realised how this can inhibit any team.
The Looker platform enables us to do more with very little time - it integrates with just about every platform (Amazon Redshift, Google Big Query and Oracle, to name a few), the UI is simple and intuitive and for any technical professional, data modelling is handled by LookML, a simple yet effective modelling language.
Every release patch, I see Looker becoming even more powerful for the business team. As we continue to strive to empower everyone at Yieldify with data - we are only limited by what we want to do.
If you'd like to hear more about how we work at Yieldify check out our 2015 Year in Review.