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GoCardless banks on Looker to deliver company-wide data-driven efficiencies

GoCardless banks on Looker to deliver company-wide data-driven efficiencies

Banking & FinanceCase StudiesDigital TransformationTop Stories

A modernised approach to data is key to Digital Transformation, particularly as the abundance of data increases exponentially. GoCardless utilised a Looker platform which has enabled it to significantly modernise its approach to data and replace its previous processes that were outdated and time-consuming. Jon Palmer, Head of Business Intelligence, GoCardless, tells us more.

Looker, a leading data platform company, has announced that recurring payments platform, GoCardless, has deployed Looker to drive significant productivity gains across its business, universally adopting data analytics to improve efficiency across multiple departments including finance, product and compliance.

Since deploying Looker, GoCardless has significantly modernised its approach to data, replacing its previous processes that were outdated and time-consuming. Prior to deploying Looker, GoCardless employees had limited access to data, with its analysts tasked with responding to requests for a significant number of reports – taking up valuable time and typically requiring them to deliver various dashboards following ad hoc requests.

Today, 95% of employees at GoCardless have a Looker account, with three quarters (75%) of them using it in a meaningful way on a monthly basis. Requests made to the data team have now been reduced to nearly zero, where previously at least a dozen analytics tickets were created weekly.

Automating processes

GoCardless’ financial planning and analysis (FP&A) team has saved four days per month by using Looker to automate the process of data analysis at the executive and board level – significantly freeing up both this team and the data analysts who were supporting this process on a regular basis. Additional features such as scheduling enable updated reports to be regularly shared with team members – including, specific reports shared on a weekly basis with the CEO and relevant teams – without the requirement for people to manually update and send each week.

GoCardless also uses Looker to track the impact of product feature releases, including gaining a better understanding of the sales funnel, detailing where revenue drivers exist and how its products are being used by customers.

Enabling regulatory compliance

Looker’s data platform has improved regulatory compliance for GoCardless through features such as managing file permission sets that include version control, access to certain documents and the viewing and edit history of such files. Looker also enables GoCardless to maintain its customers’ data privacy, through the organisation and anonymisation of personal information, and management of this data at scale.

“We wanted to foster a culture in which everyone has access to data to inform decision making, as well as ramping up efficiencies. Since working with Looker, we’ve been able to open up access to data across the business and we’ve seen near universal adoption of the platform,” said Jon Palmer, Head of Business Intelligence at GoCardless. 

“The Looker team has been integral to onboarding and training our employees to enable a self-help culture across the company. This has also freed up the analysts to focus on more strategic efforts as we continue to execute our ambitious growth plans,” Palmer said.  

John O’Keeffe, VP of EMEA, Looker, said: “We’re delighted to work with a like-minded business such as GoCardless that shares similar values and ambitions to harness analytics to drive increased productivity across the business. GoCardless is about to enter a critical growth period in its lifespan and we’re pleased to be able to support the team by enabling insight-led decision making as a framework for expansion.”

Jon Palmer, Head of Business Intelligence, GoCardless, explains more about the solution implementation and its business benefits:

Tell us about GoCardless

Our mission is to take the pain out of getting paid, for businesses with recurring revenue.

We’ve created the first global network for recurring payments, designed and optimised for taking invoice, subscription, membership and instalment payments.

We now process US$13 billion in transactions a year and we’re proud to count 50,000 businesses around the world as our customers, from small businesses to household names like TripAdvisor and the Guardian.

What’s your role at the business?

As the Head of Business Intelligence (BI), my role is to enable and foster a culture of data-led thinking across the GoCardless business. I’m responsible for developing the BI strategy, ensuring we have the right tools and technology in place in order to meet the business needs, while also driving adoption of analytics across the business – taking the onus away from the data team and putting the power in the hands of the individuals.

As we continue to grow, I’m also working to create a ‘self-serve’ ethos – making sure that each employee has access to the data that is relevant to them and their role.

How does GoCardless use data to improve decision-making?

We’re using the Looker platform to – among many other elements of commercial data – track the impact of product feature releases and gain a better understanding of the sales funnel, detailing where revenue drivers exist and how our products are being used by customers.

This is especially important as we move into new geographies – we recently launched in the US – and access to data will help us quickly establish what’s working and where and how we can improve as we grow. 

We’re also using the insights generated and driven by the Looker platform to improve our verification processes – with these varying, we’re identifying where there are bottlenecks, where we can make things better and faster to improve our merchants’ experience of our onboarding flow.

You mention that some of the processes before Looker were ‘outdated’, can you tell us more about this and how Looker helped improve the situation?

Our financial planning and analysis (FP&A) team were spending around four days every month manually developing reports for the board. Using Looker, we’ve been able to automate the process of data analysis significantly freeing up both this team and the data analysts who were supporting this process on a regular basis.

We’ve also been able to benefit from Looker’s scheduling feature – in which we can enable updated reports to be regularly shared with team members – including, specific reports shared on a weekly basis with the CEO and relevant teams – without the requirement for people to manually update and send each week.

Another area we’ve seen improvement and development in is business-wide security and privacy – we’ve made real strides in that area. Using Looker, we can now control who across the company has access to what information and when. This ensures people in the right roles can see the right level of sensitive data. 

Is there more in the pipeline in terms of your deployment of Looker, and if so, could you give us a flavour of what that might look like?

One of the benefits of rolling out the Looker platform is that the tool can drive insight and action into other applications, alongside serving more traditional dashboard-driven use cases. We’re starting to embed Looker in internal applications like Salesforce so that we’re driving a deep understanding of customer success into all our business processes.

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