A story about how to arm employees with data to make data-driven decisions

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A story about how to arm employees with data to make data-driven decisions
Industry: Services
Location: Seattle, Washington
Website: rover.com
Rover is the nation's most trusted network of pet sitters and dog walkers with more than 100,000 pet sitters and dog walkers across over 10,000 cities. Rover relies on real-time insights based on various data sources to make decisions that directly impact pets and their owners. Data guides trust and safety features which are critical to the marketing and business growth.

The Need

Rover needs to ensure business, marketing and other decisions are backed by real data. “We analyze data in a variety of different ways to continue getting smarter about what creates the best connection between dog, owner and sitter. We look at data points ranging from a sitters frequency of booking and communication with dog owners to past satisfaction ratings or any customer service feedback. We also use our data to learn how to keep pets and sitters safe and have learned what environments will lead to a positive experiences for pets and their owners,” according to James Thigpen, Web & Data Ops Manager.“Data is pervasive in our company. Employees have access to and leverage large amounts of data to do their jobs.” Data self-service is one of Rover’s core values. Data from various sources needs to go into a data warehouse and then visualized by Periscope, a data reporting and analytics tool.

“People wanted insights based on data that they trust.” Thigpen elaborated. “Timeliness and integrity of the data is critical to Rover.

Business and product teams want to know what the users are doing and how things are happening in real-time. They had questions which simply could not be answered without access to user behavior data across the Rover apps and web properties. To get a holistic picture, Rover’s team members run queries that blend multiple datasets - including Rover’s production transactional databases (MySQL), server logs, Zendesk data, payment providers, website clickstream data, and others.

Why Alooma?

“Alooma gives Rover data visibility and ownership we never were able to achieve before. With Alooma’s Event Stream, we are able to record events from web and mobile apps into a single place (our Redshift data warehouse) where people can analyze user behavior, for example, which we never had this level of visibility into,” Thigpen explained.

“Alooma makes our data much easier to work with.”

Alooma’s streaming approach provides the flexibility required to transform and enrich the data while replicating the data to our Redshift data warehouse. Alooma’s Code Engine enabled Rover to transform its data on the fly and connect various data infrastructure components via a robust data pipeline. The Code Engine enables the capability to combine data from so many different sources, for which, sometimes you need to tweak formats and normalize the data to fit together. “You can’t simply wish for a change in the mobile app or the web app,” the Rover team explained. “Data sources are inherently messy. Integrations are always more complicated than what you think. The Code Engine helps make all of this easier. The UI is very easy to use, and the Live feature is not only a cool visualization, but a valuable debugging tool.” The Rover team also noted that with Alooma, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. You can add Python code, test it, fix it, and even if you encounter an error in this process, no data will be lost -- it will all be in the Restream Queue waiting for you. “Restream is amazing. We don’t have to worry about data loss.” said Thigpen. sily transform the data as much as we need on the fly. All without requiring any engineering resources to build the data collection infrastructure.” Wiggin explained.

The Results

Alooma enables Rover to rapidly consolidate data from various sources into a central data warehouse, giving the entire organization easy and controlled access to the data for crucial analytics and reporting. “Alooma’s real-time streaming approach helps us answer all our business users’ questions.” Since deploying Alooma, internal conversations shifted from giving the business users unsatisfying answers such as “We don’t have the data and cannot answer that question, sorry!” to providing productive insights: “We have the data and let’s help you analyze it!” Thigpen and the data engineering team at Rover are now able to proactively provide their coworkers with business intelligence insights so they can quickly tackle whatever matters most to them, with accurate data to support their decisions. “We didn’t fully appreciate Alooma until using it for a few months,” Thigpen said. “We are really happy with the product and would recommend it to anyone researching offerings in this space.”

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