- Zoopla improves data integrity and integration by centralising data into Redshift rather than using Power BI native connectors
- With Fivetran, Zoopla’s BI team can continue to make progress without increasing headcount of dedicated data engineers
- The BI team developed a KPI dashboard that monitors about 40 different company-wide KPIs that the entire company follows
Zoopla is a property website that enables users to find residential or commercial property to buy or rent in the UK and overseas. Since acquiring Property Software Group and Expert Agent, Zoopla also offers a backend software that agents can use to build their businesses. Amidst the growth and acquisitions, Zoopla needed a way to bring together data from disparate systems.
Complicated Custom Scripts and Disparate Data
“We had custom-built scripts pulling in the data from different places,” explains Steven Collings, Head of BI at Zoopla. “These were built by different people, often in different languages and not documented. Each script required maintenance to keep up with changes to source systems and APIs. We wanted a solution to help us integrate data more quickly and efficiently, using less developer time.”
In addition to custom scripts, Zoopla was using native connectors from Power BI to shortcut data straight into reports. “We were integrating data too high up in the stack to be able to reuse it in the ways that we wanted to,” says Collings. “We wanted our data centralised in a warehouse so we could ensure it’s quality, join it together and create enterprise data models.”
Collings also recognised that feeding the data directly into Power BI was not scalable: “We don’t want to push every piece of fine-grained data into Power BI just so we can use it for a deep dive analysis. It makes more sense to have that data in Redshift, a tool that is better suited for running those types of analyses.” With Fivetran bringing data into Redshift, Zoopla has increased its data quality and can easily integrate new data sets.
Freeing Up Engineering Resources
Due to competing priorities for data engineering resources, the BI team faced a reduced level of data engineering support. “With Fivetran, we’ve been able to push ahead and make progress while working with fewer resources. We’ve enabled existing members of the BI team to do things that would have been data engineering tasks in the past and our data engineering resource uses their valuable skillset rather than just maintaining pipelines.”
Collings estimates that currently, Fivetran does the work of up to one full-time engineer and expects that number to increase: “We’re interested in adding more sources that aren’t being integrated at the moment which will increase the number of engineering hours that Fivetran saves us.”
Building Out Comprehensive KPIs
One of the biggest drivers for bringing on Fivetran was a project that required centralising NetSuite and Salesforce data for a large KPI project. “We had a custom-built Salesforce connector but we didn’t have the skillset on the team to maintain it and we didn’t want to spend development resources on something like this when we could buy it off the shelf.”
The project entailed building a KPI overview for the senior leadership team. The weekly dashboard monitors about 40 different KPIs across Sales, Product, Marketing, Financials, HR, and others. It is constantly available and refreshed in Power BI for everyone in the business and will soon be displayed on screens around the office.
While some of these KPIs would have been available before, they were spread around different systems, lived in different reports or never even surfaced. If they were attainable, the process was often manual and error-prone. “This has been the key deliverable,” says Collings. “It was always in our mind that we didn't want to build a point solution. We wanted to ensure that all of the data we were landing could be leveraged for other purposes and we wanted to make this data available in a self-service capacity. I think the more people see what is possible it will spark the next wave of questions and open up more opportunity to use Fivetran.”
About Fivetran: Shaped by the real-world needs of data analysts, Fivetran technology is the smartest, fastest way to replicate your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance cloud warehouse. Fivetran connectors deploy in minutes, require zero maintenance, and automatically adjust to source changes — so your data team can stop worrying about engineering and focus on driving insights.
About Amazon Redshift: Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse solution that makes it simple and cost-effective to efficiently analyse all of your data using your existing business intelligence tools.
About Microsoft Power BI: Microsoft Power BI is a business analytics solution that enables users to visualise data and generate and share insights.