Snigdha Jha, Senior Manager of Data Engineering
There is now no meeting where we come in and say, ‘My gut feeling is . . . ‘ instead, everything is rooted in facts and what the data is telling us.
By making insights a part of every conversation and every decision, ThoughtSpot is reimagining the role of data in creating a more fact-driven world. ThoughtSpot believes that anyone should be able to find or create insights without days of training or relying on technical experts.
With ThoughtSpot, business people can type a simple search to instantly analyze billions of rows of data, and leverage artificial intelligence to get trusted, relevant insights. Simple to use, ThoughtSpot can handle even the largest, most complex enterprise data without sacrificing speed, security, or governance. Industry leaders such as Walmart, 7-11, BT, Daimler, Exxon, Hulu, and Royal Bank of Canada use ThoughtSpot to transform their decision-making cultures.
Snigdha Jha is ThoughtSpot’s Senior Manager of Data Engineering. She leads efforts to ensure that internal teams are empowered to make data-driven decisions by enabling data literacy and helping team leaders with industry standard KPIs and metrics.
Before they began using Mixpanel, there was no way of understanding how ThoughtSpot users interacted with the product without collecting any personally identifiable information of users. They did have some in-house tools—but as with every in-house tool, there came a time when it could no longer be maintained or scaled. The company began a search for a third-party tool that offered data collection, complied with security requirements, and provided ease of use for people across many roles.
When ThoughtSpot adopted Mixpanel in 2018, the company was still at a very early stage in its need for data collection, but recognized that it was better to start building its data infrastructure in expectation of growing customer numbers rather than play catchup. In fact, they’ve spent time iterating on the infrastructure setup to ensure that the data they collect is the right data. “Collecting wrong data would be worse than collecting no data at all” says Snigdha Jha, Senior Manager of Data Engineering.
ThoughtSpot has elected to use Mixpanel data via the ThoughtSpot interface, as it has created a variety of specific pinboards. One of these is Customer 360, which is used by the company’s Sales and Customer Success teams and by business executives. Another is a complete Retention pinboard, which is heavily built on top of Mixpanel data to understand how users are using ThoughtSpot. When do they drop off? What pattern of behavior change can be seen over the space of weeks?
Basically, people across the company are utilizing ThoughtSpot, the UI and the interface to pull reports/insights from a collection of data sources, including Mixpanel’s product analytics data. “There is now no meeting where we come in and say, ‘My gut feeling is . . . ‘ instead, everything is rooted in facts and what the data is telling us,” says Jha.
Jha states that whenever it comes to user adoption or product roadmaps, “we have a much better idea of what the customer is going to ask, and we are always well-prepared in advance.”
Even ThoughtSpot engineers are interested in knowing how the feature that they worked on is being adopted. “This is very good for the company,” says Jha.
Jha also points out that having these insights has made it easier for ThoughtSpot employees to work seamlessly even while at home. “Now you don’t have to worry where you are logging in, because you have access to this data, and it gives you a common ground to connect with other teams.”
Retention, stickiness, addiction and feature discoverability are the four metrics that Jha identifies as key to ThoughtSpot’s success. “When we launch a feature, we want to see how our power users are behaving, and whether they are adopting those features,” she says. “If they’re not adopting the new features, our customer success team reaches out to train and empower the end users with how the features will make their jobs better. It’s not just our most active customers, however, we also use data to engage with customers with lower levels of adoption, to understand their challenges and how to solve them. Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure they realize that the solution to their problem is already in the tool. We want to nudge them in the right direction so they can see better adoption and more value from ThoughtSpot.”
Any third-party data tool integration takes time. And since ThoughtSpot’s data analytics architecture is highly complicated from the engineering point of view, the expectation was that it would be difficult to integrate Mixpanel. Integration was actually fairly seamless, and Mixpanel sits in there perfectly.
Universal adoption. ThoughtSpot adopted Mixpanel in January 2018. Since then, Mixpanel has become the backbone of the company’s product analytics data subset. “Which teams use it? Everybody,” says Jha. “From the executives to the sales operations, business operations, product management, engineering, every team uses the insights into our product, and Mixpanel plays a key role in making that possible.”
Actionable data. ThoughtSpot uses Mixpanel to uncover instances in which they can respond profitably to user behavior. “If we see that a user was very active until this week and then dropped off, is there something we can do to help encourage them to resume their former level of activity? If the user is using a lot of feature A, can we try introducing new product features to them ?”
And here’s an added bonus. “Using Mixpanel in ThoughtSpot has given a new freedom to my team for empowering product management to Sales team for being able to understand product usage and make data enabled decisions without needing to depend on a traditional BI team,” says Jha.