How ProSoccerData Built Their Data Stack with Cumul.io & Panoply

Building an analytics stack anno 2019 is challenging. In fact, over 70% of companies feels that their current solution falls short. So, how to make the right choice? We talked to Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData. Read how they built a future-proof data stack with Panoply & Cumul.io.

What is ProSoccerData?

ProSoccerData is an online platform that helps soccer clubs boost the performance of their soccer teams.

“We want to provide soccer clubs with a single platform to schedule trainings & get important statistics on their players. In the platform, the coaches can see the progress of each player from when they arrive at the club, up to when they join the first team.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

ProSoccerData is used by famous soccer clubs, leagues and federations worldwide. For example, the Belgian Red Devils, AFC Ajax (NL), the Seattle Sounders (US), and the Japan Football Association use it.

The ProSoccerData platform

The challenge: building a future-proof analytics stack

ProSoccerData combines data from internal & external tools, and the platform itself. So, there was a clear need for a strong reporting stack.

“Before using Panoply & Cumul.io, we had nothing (laughs). We had basic statistics on how many people logged in to our systems. All presented in a tabular form, and that was it. So basically, we were running blind.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

At first, the analytics stack would be used mainly for internal reporting. In particular to get more insights from Jira, the ticketing & support system, and other tools they use internally.

In addition, reporting for customers became an important requirement. Soon, they had a good idea of what their data stack should look like & what it should do:

  1. Combine data from Jira, Intercom & invoicing with data from our own platform & third-party tools
  2. Report in (near) real-time on our platform data
  3. A database or warehouse that’s optimized for reporting, without the trouble of having to maintain the database & views yourself
  4. Ability to integrate reporting & dashboards into our own platform to share with users

The strength of Panoply as an automated data warehouse, combined with Cumul.io’s seamless dashboard integration were the driving factors for choosing these two technologies.

ProSoccerData's data stack: Cumul.io & Panoply

What’s the biggest win of using Cumul.io & Panoply as an analytics stack?

Before diving into the setup of their analytics stack, we wanted to know how it made an impact within the company. What is the biggest value they gained from using Cumul.io & Panoply?

“For our company, the biggest gain is time. We don’t have experience in maintenance of data warehouses. Panoply takes away that pain from our team by automating it. With Cumul.io, business teams create the reports themselves without needing a developer. Therefore, our developers gain back time to focus on more technically complex matters.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

We were eager to ask Michael: “What are your favorite features that made you choose for Panoply & Cumul.io?”

“For Cumul.io, it’s the ease of use for both dashboarding and the integration. For Panoply, it’s the optimization of queries & query speed. Combining these two together, it gave us fast and real-time reporting in return. And we don’t even have to worry about it.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

What does the current analytics stack with Cumul.io & Panoply look like?

Let’s break down the full analytics stack of ProSoccerData: from the initial data sources to the resulting dashboards & reporting.

1. Data collection via multiple sources

ProSoccerData has raw data from many sources. Specifically, it includes data for both internal & external reporting:

  • Internal reporting
    • Jira for support & ticketing
    • Intercom for customer messaging
    • Invoicing via their invoicing system
    • Sentry for error tracking
    • MySQL databases with platform & usage data
    • Google Analytics
  • External reporting
    • Third-party applications used by their customers
    • MySQL databases with usage data

Panoply & Cumul.io as analytics stack

2. Panoply as a data warehouse for reporting

The next step was to combine it all into a single data warehouse. Eventually, Panoply emerged as the most fitting solution.

“We’re using MySQL databases, but running our dashboards & reporting on our live databases would be a bad idea for performance. That’s why we started looking for a big data solution on top of our databases and other sources, which is more optimized for reporting use.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

Michael started experimenting himself with data warehouse solutions on the market, such as AWS RedShift. He even got to the point of setting it up himself and creating fast queries, but that’s where he bumped on a few roadblocks:

“It gradually became clear that this set-up needs a lot of maintenance. We didn’t have that experience nor expertise within the team, so it would cost us a lot of time. So, I started looking who could help on maintenance & creating materialized views. And that’s how I found out about Panoply: they actually do all of this automatically.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

ProSoccerData gathers data from their databases, web hooks and web services to push it into Panoply. Above all, the advantage is that Panoply automatically sorts & simplifies all of that data into clean tables. Furthermore, it automatically optimizes the queries.

As a result, the actual dashboards in Cumul.io are lightning-fast.

Cumul.io & Panoply: integrated analytics

3. Cumul.io for dashboards & reporting

The last step was to find the right tool to visualize the data in interactive dashboards. ProSoccerData decided to use Cumul.io for its user-friendliness:

“The problem with many BI tools is that you need to have the knowledge on how to create dashboards & reports. But with Cumul.io, I can easily let my colleagues on the business side create the reports. The UI is so intuitive, you can find your way around it without being a data scientist.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

Next to internal reporting, ProSoccerData shares usage statistics with their clients. In fact, they plan to embed the Cumul.io dashboards fully into their own platform.

“We’ve seen tools like Tableau & Power BI, but one of the key factors that made us decide for Cumul.io is their integration. We can build & adapt the reports online without any code. At the same time, we can integrate the same dashboards into our platform, and personalize them on a customer basis by adding the right security settings.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

The advantage of Cumul.io for ProSoccerData is the direct communication with their own platform. Instead of configuring in Cumul.io which user has access to which data, the dashboards will filter automatically based on the user’s login in ProSoccerData.

Therefore, they can ensure that users can only see the data they have access to, without having to waste time on additional set-up.

Cumul.io & Panoply: integrated analytics

Who uses the analytics stack & reports?

Internally, the entire company makes use of the dashboards. It lets them to see immediately where something goes wrong. As a result, they make better & faster decisions based on these insights.

  • Business teams use it to get insights into invoicing and client data
  • IT creates reports on ticketing and errors in the past days or hours
  • Support teams use it to follow up on support tickets that were created via different channels

ProSoccerData’s customers also benefit from fast & transparent reporting:

“We create dashboards about usage to provide feedback to our customers. These reports show how actively their club uses the platform: % of account activation, user activity and so on.”

Michael Mattan, Lead Application Architect at ProSoccerData

What about you? What does your current data stack look like? We hope ProSoccerData’s story has left you inspired to build your own data & reporting stack.

Special thanks to Michael at ProSoccerData & our partners at Panoply! 🙏

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