Legendary investor Warren Buffet once called accounting “the language of business.” But complicated and manual accounts payable (AP) processes have many businesses tongue-tied.
MineralTree is an AP and payments automation solution provider that improves, automates, and optimizes key financial processes. It empowers finance leaders with the tools they need to better align their back office to support business priorities.
One key area MineralTree identified as ripe for disruption was analytics and reporting. For finance leaders to make timely, data-driven decisions, they need real-time visibility into payments, vendor relationships, purchase orders, cash flow, and invoicing. The problem is that aggregating this data from multiple systems is inefficient, time consuming, and error prone. Even once the data is collected and analyzed, it’s difficult to visualize it in a way that’s easily understood and acted on.
Leveraging the power of Sigma, the team built MineralTree Analytics: a solution that integrates with their customers’ financial systems and provides comprehensive visibility into every aspect of the AP process. It enables users to escape the confines of spreadsheets and start independently exploring their data through rich KPI visualizations that help surface insights and make data more actionable.
We sat down with Prashant Soral, MineralTree’s Chief Technologist, to discuss how MineralTree Analytics was developed and the role Sigma played in getting the product to market.
— Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you joined MineralTree?
As the Chief Technologist at MineralTree, I am responsible for analytics, data engineering, and the rapid delivery of experimental initiatives.
— What was your goal when building MineralTree Analytics and how did Sigma support that goal?
Our goal for MineralTree Analytics was three-fold:
- Provide an embedded analytics application for MineralTree customers.
- Provide an embedded analytics application for suppliers interacting with our customers.
- Provide a wide array of internal MineralTree users with access to the same data as our customers and our customers’ suppliers.
We were already using Snowflake as our cloud data platform on top of AWS, as well as Striim as our extract/load tool, and dbt for transformation, but we still needed a flexible visualization platform. That’s when we discovered Sigma.
— What led you to choose Sigma over other embedded analytics solution providers?
I had an extensive evaluation process consisting of 9 key criteria.
- Ease of implementing row-level security
- Ease of development
- Ease of use for internal users
- Ease of embedding dashboards
- Ability for external users to explore and create reports
- Localization of labels
- Integration with predictive modeling
- Source code control
We used these criteria to compare and score each solution. Some tools actually broke during the proof of concept because they couldn't handle our scale. Others were not developer-friendly or lacked key security features.
In the end, Sigma won out. What attracted me most was its powerful security features , including row-level security. That was missing from many of the other providers. I was also impressed by how easy it was for non-technical end users to do their own analytics with Sigma. Lastly, Sigma beat out much of the competition when it came to performance. Unlike some of the competitors, Sigma is able to scale along with our growth.
— How long did it take to build MineralTree Analytics?
From the day we signed the contract with Sigma, it took only two months before we went live with embedded analytics for our customers. That figure is especially impressive when you consider that it required only two developers.
Sigma played a key role in allowing us to achieve this timeline. The well thought design for embedding dashboards in Sigma, implementing row-level security, ease of development and ease of use were all important factors.
— MineralTree Analytics was launched just a few months ago. What has been the feedback so far?
It’s been extremely positive! Customers love the look and feel of the dashboards and have said the information is valuable and easy to understand. They’re starting to ask for more features and what our plans are for the future.
The response internally has also been extremely positive. We’re replacing Grafana with Sigma because it's such a reliable platform — it’s always up and it always works. Sigma is also easy for technical and non-technical users, which improves the speed and quality of decision making within our organization.
As for the future, MineralTree Analytics will be a key component of various solutions within our platform so we can continue to help our customers align AP with strategic priorities at their businesses. We look forward to continuing working together with the Sigma team!