How Redash is Helping Alooma Sustain a Data Driven Culture

by Dan-ya Shwartz  
8 min read  • 19 Jul 2017

This post originally appeared on the Redash Medium blog here. It was contributed by Dan-ya, a data scientist and growth hacker at Alooma.

Our history with Redash goes way back. I started using it when it was just a small home brewed project, before it spun off to become an independent company.

Alooma and Redash share the same mission: to liberate data and unleash its full potential.

Knowing that analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) were going to be paramount for running a data company, we wanted something that gave us full transparency down to the schemas without any abstraction layers. We needed to write our own SQL and collaborate over queries and dashboards in a simple way.

Our entire company works with Redash. Everyone from our CEO, Executives, Sales, Marketing, Dev and of course our Data team. We’re going to show you a bit about how we use Redash to make important but quick business decisions. We hope you can learn and apply some of these lessons for your own company.

3 ways we use Redash

  1. Dashboarding - to align on company goals and status

  2. Decision making - using queries

  3. Data as building blocks - using API access and external sharing

Dashboarding - Getting on the same board

Sales care about their pipeline of prospects, Marketing cares about their conversion funnels, Product cares about how Alooma is being used and what features to build next and Support wants to know what bugs and customer satisfaction.

But as a cohesive unit, in our early stage what we all care about is growth.

On a daily basis, we ask ourselves questions like:

  1. How many new paying customers do we have?

  2. How many customers churned?

  3. What is our total ARR? Has it grown?

  4. How is our sales pipeline doing? Do we have enough opportunities to work with?

  5. How many new leads did we have? Is our lead velocity rate going up or down?

  6. How many visitors do we have on our site? Did the conversion rate increase?

  7. Are we over capacity with our dev resources or sales reps?

It’s likely you have similar questions. Being a distributed team across Israel and the U.S., having online dashboards for anyone to access, create and manipulate dramatically improves efficiency and helps us to be on the same board (that’s a joke by the way). Ultimately it provides company alignment and a baseline to set goals.

Across our organization, we have many dashboards. For example, we have a Sales dashboard to visualize our Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), pipeline and even response time to leads and a Marketing dashboard to track and chart our site visitors and measuring A/B test results, conversion rates and lead sources.

To get practical, I’ll explain how our SEM Keyword Drill Down Dashboard works and how it uses Redash’s query and dashboard parameters feature. This is something your company can take action on and get immediate value out of.

The dashboard: Let’s take a look

For marketers and search engine marketing, ROI rules. To really calculate ROI, you have to look at specific keyword ads, not just at the campaign level.

To do this, we connected the data from AdWords, Site analytics for which we use our own SDK and Salesforce. The combination of data from these sources, creates one of my favorite dashboards: Marketing Keyword Drill Down.

In this dashboard our VP of Marketing and SEM agency can dive in, pick a keyword using query parameters in the search bar and get all the modifiers per keyword.

For example, we picked all the permutations of ‘ETL’ over the last 120 days - (Alooma is a cloud ETL or data pipeline service). The chart shows the weekly Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and the relative cost. The table below the chart gives us more granular detail about the cost, impressions, visitors and MQLs and ratios of the ‘ETL’ keyword combinations.

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So what? With the dashboard we now can understand our keyword yield to optimize our campaigns and shape our content strategy.

Decision making - ask the right questions

At Alooma, we’re a curious bunch. We make data-informed decisions to back up our intuition. When a question gets asked internally on Slack, the answer will most likely be returned with a Redash link - dashboard, table or visualization.

Here are some examples:

Product priorities for Product Managers

Since Alooma helps companies integrate their data from multiple sources into a unified data warehouse like AWS Redshift, Google BigQuery or Snowflake; our Director of Product asked ‘Which data sources are the most popular?’

The answer came back like this:

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The query shows a rank of inputs by number of deployments and the customers that use each input. It’s based on our Salesforce data, Alooma app usage data and Zabbix data for system status.

Geo visualization for dev maintenance

One of our developers who is responsible for devops, asked me if we have any running deployments in the far east of the world. To deliver an answer quickly, I used our IP to country enrichment feature and Redash’s map widget and shared it in our Slack chat.

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Content ROI for a prize

At Alooma, we always encourage our developers to write useful blog posts. A tradition started by our CEO, is to reward the person who wrote a post that drove the most MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads. It only took me a minute to write the query that told us who the winner was - Itamar Weiss. If you were wondering, he won a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant.

You’ll notice that I didn’t publish this query to prevent it from showing up in searches. This is helpful when you don’t want everyone to have access to a particular dashboard or query, but only use it for personal use.

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Data as building blocks

Even as data scientists we know that data is only a piece of the puzzle. However, as the lowest denominator, data is ultra powerful to build on top of. One thing we like to use Redash for is communication. Here are two examples:

Slack bot for customer communication

For our latest internal Hackathon, I was part of a team that developed a Slack Distribution Bot. The goal of the bot was to help our Marketers send out updates like product announcements to various customer Slack channels.

We used the Redash API to GET the latest data about each customer deployment and feed it back to the bot:

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Sharing dedicated dashboards with external contractors

If you ever work with external consultants, you have to strike a balance of how much information to share, especially if your company is internally very transparent. You need to share enough so they can do their job well and be aligned but not too much so that it exposes sensitive company information.

But there’s a simple solution to this complex problem. With Redash we only share our Marketing: SEO dashboard with our external consultant. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

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Final thoughts on using Redash

We showed you some of the ways we use Redash at Alooma to align the company, make decisions with data insights and communicate. We’re really happy with the flexibility Redash offers and believe there is so much more we can benefit from.

We still have redash features we’d like to explore. My personal favorite is the alerts - I used it in the past with another company and it was super valuable.

We hope you’ve learned something new from our experience. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below. You can get started with Redash for free if you self-host it.

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