Clover’s Alex Mora on Driving Product Performance and Data Literacy with Self-Service Analytics
Content Marketing Manager, Sigma
Small businesses are the anchor of the US economy. According to J.P. Morgan Chase, they makeup 99% of American firms and contribute more than 45% of the US GDP every year. And over the last decade, the overwhelming majority of small businesses have undergone a digital transformation as they deploy technology to help streamline operations, meet customer expectations, and drive more revenue.
One company that has been at the forefront of this trend is Clover. It builds a global open-architecture point of sale solution aimed at small and medium-sized business owners. Clover’s products are changing the consumer-merchant experience for the better, opening avenues for seamless interactions, inventory management, and reporting. The chances are that you have probably come across a Clover device during checkout at your local coffee shop, bar, or grocery store.
Like many companies, Clover uses data analytics to inform its company strategies, improve customer experience, and deliver great products. We recently spoke to Alex Mora, one of Clover’s data engineers, to learn more about the way it uses analytics—and Sigma—to build better technology and increase data literacy across the company.
Clover builds a global open-architecture point of sale solution aimed at small and medium-sized business owners. There are five versions of Clover hardware, including the Clover Station, Clover Station Pro, Clover Mini, Clover Go, and Clover Flex. With Clover, Fiserv is aiming to create the largest open architecture operating system for commerce-enabling solutions and applications for business owners.
FOUNDERS: Leonard Speiser & John Beatty
FOUNDED IN: 2012
What should everyone know about Clover?
At Clover, we design smart, customized point-of-sale (POS) devices that make running your business easier by seamlessly accepting payments from customers. Our products enrich the merchant experience and make it easy to run a business from anywhere.
Beyond our devices, we also provide business owners with dashboards and reporting tools to track sales and accounting, manage inventory, and monitor customer spending habits in real time. Many people know us from checkout counters, but we’ve built out our offering to go beyond payment processing. We’ve introduced internal apps like Clover Dining to enrich the restaurant experience, while also encouraging third parties to build apps on our platform that integrate our merchants with services like Mailchimp, Yelp, and Shopify.
Tell me a little about your day-to-day responsibilities at Clover.
I’m a data engineer on Clover’s Data Reporting and Analytics (DRA) team. I build ETL tasks to move data from our various data repositories—including MySQL, Google Analytics, Adwords, UserVoice, and others—into our Snowflake data warehouse. I also help architect our cloud database to facilitate more powerful analytics and build tools that simplify data collection and increase data literacy.
What’s your experience been like as a data engineer at Clover?
I initially started in a customer support role, trying to bring more clarity to our production systems with data. There, I ended up leaning heavily into the data side of things. Over time, the needs for a data engineer position just grew and grew as our systems changed. It became clear that I was the right fit for the new role because I had a background in computer science and SQL.
I have always enjoyed building things, so this role is exciting for me. The fact that I now get to develop tools and systems that help our team with data discovery and utilization has been fun. Clover has provided me with a lot of professional flexibility—and that’s not something you get from every company.
How are you using data analytics to solve day-to-day business challenges?
At Clover, we use analytics internally to learn more about our merchants and the various configurations of equipment settings. This data helps us drive future hardware and software improvements that we know customers will love. Analytics also helps us track the performance and utilization of new products through both the device and the web dashboard. Our internal data platform also powers Clover’s financial analysis.
On the customer support side, we lean on analytics to improve our support cases, monitor call center activity, and develop new product improvements.
It was exciting that so many people were using data to inform decisions, but it became clear that ad-hoc analysis took up a significant part of the DRA team’s workload.
Data Engineer, Clover
What made you seek out a solution like Sigma?
At the time, we needed a tool to minimize the amount of ad-hoc reporting we were doing. It was exciting that so many people were using data to inform decisions, but it became clear that ad-hoc analysis took up a significant part of the DRA team’s workload. This process began to compete with other priorities. We wanted a solution that could automate reporting and allow users to explore Snowflake data and make small tweaks to their analysis without the help of the DRA team.
Our business teams traditionally relied on Excel. So, we knew the solution had to be intuitive for new business users and operate similarly to Excel. We didn’t want our spreadsheet users to feel like a fish out of water. Sigma covered all of that and more. The price was also very encouraging, especially when compared to alternatives, like Tableau. With Sigma, we could afford more users—meaning more of our company could be data-driven without increasing the cost and burden on the DRA team.
What’s it been like working with Sigma over the last year?
Overall, our experience with Sigma has been great. It’s also been a crucial part of our company-wide adoption of Snowflake. The Sigma spreadsheet-like interface has made onboarding new users to the platform much faster. Some users are up and running in a day or two.
Business teams love the shared features, like the Formula Bar, which helps them to drill down into their data without using SQL. This has helped us get more ROI out of our Snowflake investment. And because Sigma enables our power users to use SQL when they need to do more advanced tasks, the application doesn’t get in the way. It’s the best of both worlds.
How has the Sigma deployment made an impact at Clover?
With Sigma, we have cut down my team’s ad-hoc workload and made it easier to focus on strategic tasks that help facilitate more robust analytics. It’s also helped spur greater data awareness and literacy across the company. Today, more than 75 people across 7 teams at Clover use Sigma for data analysis. Because Sigma feels like a spreadsheet, business users haven’t hesitated to dive right into Snowflake data for faster insights.
Broader data access and literacy are a significant component of what my team works toward every day. Sigma helps us hit those goals. We’re excited to roll the tool out to more users and double down on data training to ensure everyone at Clover has a solid background in analytics. It’s also exciting that all our teams can now answer their questions with data on time using Sigma.
people across seven teams use Sigma for data exploration and analysis.
Because Sigma feels like a spreadsheet, business users haven’t hesitated to dive right into Snowflake data for faster insights.
When you aren’t building tools and helping increase data literacy at Clover, what do you do for fun?
I work in Clover’s New York office, so I enjoy exploring everything the city has to offer. I spend a lot of my spare time going to Broadway shows, eating great food, and hanging out in the parks. I’m also an avid hiker, reader, and musician. That said, I probably dedicate more time than I should to Netflix, YouTube, and the like.
Alex is a data engineer at Clover, where he builds tools to simplify data collection, drive faster analytical insights, and promote greater data literacy across the organization.
Music, Hiking, Traveling, and Reading