New tools to improve performance
on March 5, 2021 (last modified on April 20, 2022) • 8 minute read
If you’re reading this, you know how powerful data can be—for businesses and in the lives of everyday individuals. Data helps companies build better products, and it helps regular people make smarter decisions.
CoverUS exists at the intersection of those two things.
A healthcare startup that uses data to help their customers in the U.S. figure out how they can better afford healthcare, data is the lifeblood of the company’s core offering. But like most companies today, they use just as much data internally.
To learn more about how they manage and operationalize their own internal data, we talked with Andrew Hoppin—co-CEO at the company—and Mohnish Mehta—CoverUS’ Senior Associate, Business & Finance. Andrew and Mohnish talked with us about how they’ve used Databox to spend less time culling data, build a single source of truth for the company as a whole, and democratize who has access to that data and when.
“If I needed to interrupt what Mohnish was doing to ask for data, there’s an additional cost to that,” Andrew said.
Before finding Databox, CoverUS’ data operation was completely manual—time-locked and time-consuming. Whenever Andrew or other team members needed data to answer a question, they turned to Mohnish, who then stopped what he was doing and spent time poring through data across multiple platforms instead.
“It was a pretty labor-intensive task,” Mohnish admitted, “and automating it helped a lot.”
On top of the time-consuming element of their data setup, it was siloed and inefficient in other ways, too. Mohnish only has so much time in a day, which functioned as a hard limit on how many data requests could be pulled, for how many people. As for combining data from multiple sources into one coherent calculation, that was out of the question.
Here are the challenges CoverUS faced:
“Andrew would ask a few questions and then we’d go into each portal separately, compile all the answers he was looking for, and then present it back to him and the executive team,” Mohnish explained. “The problem with that is that you’re only getting point-in-time data. If he asks a question today, we might take 2 days to compile all that data and get back to him. So, number one, it’s not instant data and, number two, it’s only response for today. He might need that same information one week later and then again we have to go run that analysis and pull out all that data.”
“Initially, we came across Databox when we started running paid acquisition campaigns,” Mohnish said. “We wanted to use Facebook and Google to advertise. We needed a single source of truth where we can keep both of those platforms’ data and compare them against each other.”
“We’re not big enough, we don’t have enough budget to have an analytics department, and Mohnish has a lot of other responsibilities in addition to analytics,” Andrew noted, “so it’s really important to be able to provide that direct access to a range of different people within the company directly—without them having to really learn a new tool intimately.”
Luckily for Mohnish and Andrew, the CoverUS team found Databox pretty early on in the company’s existence. After looking at a few other tools and finding they overcompensated on what the team actually needed, they opted to try out this business dashboard software based on a trusted recommendation.
“We looked at Domo and Microsoft BI and other tools at different points, but they either felt too heavy or too expensive or both,” Andrew told us. “Databox seemed to hit a sweet spot.”
They ultimately connected several data sources, including Google Sheets, Intercom, Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Facebook Ads. According to Mohnish, they asked themselves, “what are the things we, as a business, need to follow on a day-to-day basis to improve our big goal? Then we worked back from there. We want to track all of these KPIs, how they’re changing and evolving over time, and what it costs to do that.”
Now, “Databox is the single, consistent place that we can all go to get those insights and to make decisions in response to them,” Andrew highlighted.
Here are the solutions CoverUS found with Databox:
“Being able to have one set of dashboards which address each of those core areas of the company, that are really easy to access and updated all the time, is really great,” Andrew said. “Compared to going directly to Google Analytics and other data sources, it’s easier for me to not have to be a Google Analytics expert and still get the insights I need from Databox.”
“It’s our single source of truth for all the different key aspects of the company,” Andrew noted. “It’s very useful for me to be able to go one place and look at our audience metrics […] and also for the product team to understand how the product is being used and how trends in the internal KPIs are working. And then on the marketing and advertising side, to see how the campaigns are working.”
“It’s really useful to be able to put all of those metrics into dollar terms. We can see it’s costing us $0.60 to get somebody to come to our site and $6 to get somebody to give us their email and $16 for somebody to create an account,” Andrew explained. “We’re able to show all of that in context, in a logical progression, so that you can quickly look and see—big picture—how it’s going and what the trend is.”
The team at CoverUS has seen big results since implementing Databox—some imminently measurable and others… less so. On the one hand, Mohnish estimates that not having to manually and reactively pull data saves nearly an hour of each day. That’s time Mohnish can spend on other, revenue-generating activities.
Plus, the entire team has quick, visual access to a single source of truth.
“The single source of truth is hard to measure value-wise, but it’s fundamental,” Andrew told us. As for the value of being able to visualize their data: “It makes me want to go use it and learn from it, more than Google Analytics. It’s not only intuitive—it’s attractive.”
Here are the results CoverUS saw using Databox:
“Analyzing all of the data that exists in Databox today, if I was to do it on a day-to-day basis, it would probably take me an hour every day. Now it takes me 5 minutes,” Mohnish told us. “My time can be better spent for other aspects of the business, so it’s definitely saved us money in that sense, as well.”
“As a startup, we try to stay pretty limber. Our product roadmap is constantly evolving, our product team is pretty responsive towards what they’re seeing coming from Databox. Our core team is small, which makes it easy to communicate with one another and actually act upon data and the insights the data is giving us,” Mohnish explained.
“It was great from my perspective to have a question and then be able to get an answer—not just as a one-off, but to have that forever answered, visually, where I could be directly empowered to answer the question, instead of having to go ask Mohnish again,” Andrew highlighted. “It’s not just Mohnish’s time—it’s the efficiency of a turnaround for everybody else without having to interrupt anyone else.”
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