We know because we've been there.
When we were at Twilio, customers loved our APIs but needed insight into product usage, spend, troubleshooting and deliverability. So we had these grand ideas to build “Google Analytics-like” features in the Twilio product console. Unfortunately, these ideas fell flat after realizing that we needed significant engineering investment and years to build. We carried on anyway and built what is now Twilio’s Voice Insights. Other product teams took notice and wanted to build customer dashboards too, so we put together massive teams and it took years.
Hundreds of engineers work on data products at top companies like Twilio. That’s because building data products is really HARD no matter the size of your company, and you don’t really know it until you’ve been there.
Why is it so darn hard?
Hard to build - you have to build the architecture from scratch every time (multiple times in large organizations like Twilio)
Hard to support - you have to add more product dev folks as data and insights grow (and that’s not cost-effective)
Hard to scale - you can’t just put a chart into your customer-facing portal because that won’t scale (eventually the data won’t load fast enough)
At the same time, customer expectations from SaaS products have grown, even over the past 10 years. Having robust and elegant customer-facing analytics has become the expectation. So customer dashboards often get pushed off on product roadmaps, leaving customers flying blind and frustrated.
Embedded analytics and BI tools are just a band-aid that results in inelegant, low-quality product experiences. But you need to get something out the door, right? For some companies, these shortsighted fixes are enough. Not for us.
Propel is helping product dev teams build more, build different, and build for scale.
Propel is backed by Matrix Partners with notable angels including founders and executives from Twilio, Databricks, RapidAPI, FaunaDB, Labelbox, and Calixa.
Director of Engineering