Empowering Business Teams to Make Data-driven Decisions Quickly
To serve those in the developing world without banking history, Migo generates alternative credit scores based on a variety of personal factors, and then uses these scores to approve loans. “Data is literally at the core of how our business operates,” says Alex Harvey, Migo’s Marketing Lead. “So it was extremely important to Migo’s leadership to put the infrastructure and tools in place to empower everyone in the company to make data-driven business decisions quickly.”
As Migo looked for ways to instill a data-driven culture in its workforce, it soon became apparent that the company’s current analytics tools and processes were holding teams back. Data was housed in MySQL Database, and the team was using Superset to pull reports using SQL.
“We had to have a dedicated analyst who could write SQL and pull reports for everyone in the company,” recalls Joseph Bates, Migo’s Analytics Architect. “We wound up with this huge backlog of requests that not only impeded timely decision making but also frustrated everyone involved. We didn’t have a true, unified data store with front-end tools that non-technical teams could use to easily access, combine, and analyze data. Everything was siloed.”
After establishing a “hub and spoke” systems architecture with Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse at the center, Joseph led the search for a BI and analytics tool to replace Superset. This new tool had to give business teams direct, governed access to explore and analyze all of the live data inside Migo’s Snowflake instance.
“We considered Domo, Quicksight, and Looker, but none of these tools were built with the business user in mind,” says Joseph. “Domo puts your data in a black box, Quicksight is inexpensive but requires SQL, and Looker forces teams to use its proprietary language, LookML. What we really needed was a solution that would enable domain experts to answer their own questions, allow our data experts to focus on more complex projects, and ultimately bring these two groups together in one tool.”
A Spreadsheet Experience at Snowflake Scale
Migo decided to replace Superset with Sigma. “Sigma is built for the cloud data warehouse, so it takes full advantage of its speed, scale, and power,“ shares Joseph. “We have dozens of applications porting data into Snowflake every minute, but I never have to worry about whether Sigma can handle it.” Sigma runs live queries directly against Snowflake, so data stays safe inside the warehouse and is never extracted or cached.
“Sigma makes it so much easier to ensure the entire company is speaking the same language,” he continues. “Not only is everyone accessing and analyzing the same real-time data in one governed place, but their data modeling tools are great.” Advanced Sigma users can query tables directly from the cloud data warehouse without any modeling required, and can also curate datasets, define calculations, and prejoin sources to give others a clear, endorsed path for exploration.
Because Sigma’s UI looks, feels, and functions like a spreadsheet, it empowers anyone who knows how to use Excel or Google Sheets to conduct complex analyses without coding assistance. “We used BigQuery at my previous company,” shares Alex. “The only way for me to get my hands on any customer data was to have an analyst send me a data dump in Excel. It was painfully slow, and the data was outdated the second it was extracted.”
“Sigma is like I’m working in a spreadsheet, but all the data is live,” he continues. “I can explore all of our data at the lowest level of detail and do ad hoc analyses in real time without any limitation. I love being able to join my own datasets based on unique customer identifiers and build on dashboards without having to go back to Joseph and re-work things.”
“Sigma is like I’m working in a spreadsheet, but all the data is live. I can explore all of our data at the lowest level of detail and do ad hoc analyses in real time without any limitation.”
Marketing Lead at Migo
In addition to offering team workspaces and easy sharing, Sigma makes it possible for teams to work off the same live data together in real time so they can collaborate and repurpose each other’s work. “Everyone in the organization brings unique expertise to the table,” says Alex. “Being able to share data and collaborate on analyses in Sigma really brings all areas of expertise together and makes the analyses we run and subsequent decisions we make that much better.”
“Because we had immediate access to all of our data, could run any analysis without the assistance of the BI team, and knew the data was accurate, we were able to pivot and relaunch our entire marketing strategy in just 30 days. Sigma made the transition from growth marketing to recovery marketing exponentially faster, easier, and more successful”
Marketing Lead at Migo
Successful Pivots and Critical Business Outcomes
Migo’s marketing team was in growth mode when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “We had to very quickly shift gears and focus on customer retention and loan recovery,” explains Alex. Using Sigma, Alex was able to better understand and segment Migo’s population of defaulted borrowers and the most effective channels to reach them. In short order, the team then built out and launched a series of robust recovery campaigns to re-engage these customers.
“Because we had immediate access to all of our data, could run any analysis without the assistance of the BI team, and knew the data was accurate, we were able to pivot and relaunch our entire marketing strategy in just 30 days,” he continues. “Sigma made the transition from growth marketing to recovery marketing exponentially faster, easier, and more successful,” says Alex. “We’ve already increased our recovery campaign response rate by 47%.”
Migo’s ability to get a 360-degree view of the customer journey and clearly segment their audiences has also improved overall ROI on marketing campaign spend by 11%.
Migo’s ability to get a 360-degree view of the customer journey and clearly segment their audiences has also improved overall ROI on marketing campaign spend by 11%. It didn’t take long for the executive team to acknowledge these materially improved results. “When it came time to pivot back to growth, we were able to assess risk, do scenario planning, offer up recommended strategies, forecast results, and lock in executive alignment — all within a single week.”
“I’ll be honest: I rarely go into Sigma anymore,” admits Joseph. “Marketing, finance, and others are able to generate their own insights and analyses now. Even our CEO goes in and pulls his own reports and builds his own dashboards. So I spend most of my time onboarding new data sources and doing more complex projects like that.”
“Because of job security or data governance concerns, a lot of BI professionals feel the need to keep data locked up behind closed doors where no one else in the org can get to it,” says Joseph. “But nothing makes me happier or feel more like a leader than empowering other people to harness the power of data. Enabling domain experts to achieve things like greater campaign conversion rates or faster product adoption is really how folks like myself can add value and secure a seat at the leadership table.”