Dropbox discovers insights faster with Fivetran

The cloud storage leader saves the equivalent of three full-time engineers and cuts data ingestion and reporting time from 8 weeks to 30 minutes.
“Fivetran quickly provided tremendous time and cost savings. After our first connector was up and running in 15 minutes, I knew we could completely transform how quickly Dropbox gets to business-critical insights.” - Lauren Lin, Data Engineering Manager at Dropbox

Key Results

  • Saved the equivalent of three full-time engineers 
  • Cut data ingestion and reporting time from 8 weeks to 30 minutes
  • Drove real-time decision-making about marketing investments into various channels 
  • Elevated customer support by enabling the CX team to access real-time insights into customer sentiment about product changes and bug fixes, leading to faster issue resolution
  • Freed the data engineering team to focus on high-impact projects like financial modeling and analytics

Dropbox data stack

  • Pipelines: Fivetran
  • Destinations: Databricks, Snowflake, AWS
  • Data sources: 70+ (including Zendesk, Marketo, TikTok)

With more than 700 million registered users across 180 countries, Dropbox is one of the world’s leading cloud storage and collaboration platforms. The company has seen tremendous growth since its inception, generating billions in revenue through its range of services and integrations with more than 4,800 third-party apps. 

Despite the company’s data-driven culture, when it came to its internal data and analysis, the company faced challenges with integration and scalability — not to mention the weeks it took to create reports and get insights.

Lauren Lin, Data Engineering Manager at Dropbox, wanted to find a more efficient way to help her stakeholders in Marketing and Customer Experience make strategic decisions based on data and analytics.   

The data engineering team was bogged down with requests for custom pipeline development and integrations. Its backlog quickly grew and became a juggling act of prioritization and availability. Each custom data pipeline request took up to eight weeks to fulfill, leaving high-priority initiatives lingering for months. These timelines and prioritization issues frustrated stakeholders — who often had to wait months, or even years, for a functioning pipeline. The situation was unsustainable and needed to change.

Accelerating customer experience and marketing insights

Dropbox’s Customer Experience (CX) department needed to replace a critical Zendesk data integration that was not built to support their needs for real-time, self-service access to high-quality data for reporting. Instead of spending weeks manually rebuilding its homegrown solution, Lin turned to Fivetran. 

“The CX team and I were able to turn on our first connector in less than 30 minutes. Very quickly we knew, yes, Fivetran can save us a lot of time and enable self-service.”

They immediately gained critical new insights into customer sentiment regarding product changes and bug fixes. Now they could quickly and easily understand the most frequently reported customer issues since the last product update or whether customers are using and enjoying new features. This led to faster resolution times and enabled the team to answer questions such as: 

  • What is the average time-to-resolution for customer support tickets across different product categories?
  • Which customer support channels are most effective in terms of resolution time and customer satisfaction?
  • What is the distribution of customer queries by topic (e.g., technical issues, billing, general inquiries) and how has it changed over time? 

The use of Fivetran quickly spread from the CX team turning on the Zendesk connector to Dropbox’s marketing team that wanted more data and more insights into their various channels to understand spend and ROI. Within hours, the marketing team used Fivetran to ingest data from LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter and Google Ads.

Fivetran gave the marketing department a more complete picture of their return on ad spend (ROAS). Now the team can make smarter decisions about where to allocate advertising dollars for the biggest impact. They could lean on data to answer questions around the success of a new campaign, which advertising channels provided the biggest return and when to pivot or reinvest money elsewhere.

Departments throughout Dropbox no longer have to submit requests through data engineering but rather manage the majority of data integrations on their own. 

“We want people to have access to data and be able to make data-driven decisions and Fivetran is moving us closer to that self-serve direction,” Lin says. 

Lin estimates that Fivetran is doing the work of about three full-time engineers.

With Fivetran making it so easy to set up automated data pipelines, Lin’s team has taken on higher-impact projects, such as building unified data models for key financial metrics and integrating data from its new businesses.

“We were spending too much time keeping the lights on. With Fivetran running, we don't have to worry about the maintenance of custom integrations, upgrading APIs or when we're going to work on that new request that's in the backlog.” 

Building one unified data ecosystem across all acquisitions

In today’s M&A environment, success depends on integrating data and business systems as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Lin’s team is beginning to onboard terabytes of data from hundreds of sources and systems from the businesses Dropbox has acquired over the last four years: HelloSign, DocSend and FormSwift. 

With Fivetran, Lin’s team is bringing data together to deliver key insights that will help streamline operations, eliminate redundancies and empower leadership to answer questions they haven’t been able to previously address.

“We're actively working on building one unified environment with all lines of business using Fivetran to build out analytics across the enterprise and unlock new opportunities for significant growth.”

Dropbox is a phenomenal example of what a data-driven culture looks like at scale. The company has invested heavily in giving its leaders like Lin the means to understand and drive decisions based on data, leading to a productive and engaged workforce as well as improving business cost-efficiency.

Download this IDC report to learn how Fivetran drives millions in financial impact and enables new business initiatives for enterprises.

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