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Gaining Perspective with Business Intelligence

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Gaining Perspective with Business Intelligence

If I were to ask you what is the biggest mountain in the world, what would you say?

Did “Mt. Everest,” the highest mountain above sea level, immediately spring to mind? Or perhaps did you think about Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain from the sea level floor? What about Chimborazo in the Andes, the farthest point on the earth’s surface from its center?

The answer is a matter of perspective, both literally and figuratively--contingent on how the respondent defines “big.” If this seemingly simple question can produce such a broad range of answers, imagine the convoluted responses a more complicated query can create, without a single source of truth on which to analyze choices and base decisions.

This is the challenge today’s businesses face all the time--in a proliferating data environment, where information is being pulled from multiple sources, by unique systems and users, at different points in time.

Joe Hamlet, Senior Manager of Business Systems at SendGrid, a provider of cloud-based email delivery services for transactional email management, shared this lesson with the GoodData team at our 2014 Sales Rally last month.

“You can measure anything by reducing uncertainty,” Joe said, referencing the book How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas Hubbard. "It's all about reducing uncertainty and finding that high value piece of data."

Reducing uncertainty. Gaining perspective. Operating from a single source of truth. As Joe explained to our team, those are the challenges he set out to solve when he began his search for a unified business intelligence solution to support SendGrid’s top organizational goal: Promoting Customer Success. Having experienced exponential growth -- from their 2009 TechStars launch to now, delivering more than 13 billion emails a month (a stack of emails taller than Mt. Twitter’s tweets)--Joe knew that he needed to find that magic bullet to successfully scale and adapt customer services while sustaining business growth.

But finding a single source of truth isn’t easy when you have more than 5 systems giving you answers. Chimborazo. Everest. Mauna Kea. Which answer do you trust? Joe realized he needed a platform solution with the power to pull all the data points together; run detailed analyses; and visualize data in a comprehensive, accessible and actionable format. And he needed it fast. Fast, because SendGrid was growing at an unbelievable 87% annually. Fast, because the ISP and user email environment changes as rapidly as you can hit “send.” Joe and his customers needed real-time information to make data-driven decisions and respond with agility.

After evaluating numerous providers, Joe chose GoodData. While GoodData’s ability to deliver with quick time to value was instrumental in his decision, Joe revealed that ultimately he selected GoodData because of the relationship and trust established early on--a key lesson for our sales force in continuing to build relationships based on transparency and a sincere commitment to the customer.

In just six months, GoodData implemented a full-stack, cloud-based solution that pulled together data from Zuora and internal MySQL databases into one seamless analytics experience--later adding Salesforce, Google Analytics and Marketo. Zendesk, Jira, Splunk and other databases are on the roadmap for integration as SendGrid’s instance continues to evolve. “Being able to spin up a data warehouse, analytics and reporting in less than six months was unheard of,” Joe said. “The last data warehousing project I was on took three years.”

Today, GoodData analytics have been adopted organization-wide at SendGrid, delivering a unified view of the customer and the business, while also helping SendGrid empower its employees with the information they need to make data-driven decisions with a single source of truth.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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