Octane Lending Saves 200 Hours per Month of Engineering Effort with Atlan – Atlan


Main Lender for Powersports Reduces Questions on Information by 40% with Documentation and Self-service

Based in 2014, Octane® (Octane Lending, Inc.) is a specialty lender, providing on the spot financing to shoppers buying powersports autos like bikes, snowmobiles, private watercraft, ATVs, and extra.

Traditionally, knowledge at Octane has been synonymous with monetary reporting. Octane is a know-how firm and non-bank lender which derives vital income from mortgage securitizations, inserting calls for on correct reporting, delivered underneath strict deadlines. With these reporting necessities, Octane’s knowledge capabilities have been strong, however have been targeted on mission-critical obligations, and never essentially on conventional enterprise intelligence.

Alex Bendix, Information Product Supervisor, joined Octane to make sure enterprise intelligence bought the main target it deserved, had the fitting group and know-how to help it, and was well-adopted by knowledge shoppers that would take advantage of it.

“We carved out a brand new group to deal with knowledge wants that weren’t associated to monetary reporting,” Alex shared. “We’re targeted on constructing the inspiration for enterprise intelligence, supporting something from particular person product managers doing advert hoc evaluation, to dashboarding and reporting, primary forecasting, all the best way out to predictive machine studying fashions that our knowledge science group is constructing.”

Two separate knowledge groups now exist at Octane, one targeted on monetary reporting, and the opposite on enterprise intelligence, comprising Information Engineers, a Information Analyst, and a Product Supervisor and Engineering Supervisor guiding every group. And supporting these features is a contemporary knowledge stack starting with AWS infrastructure, and together with Athena, Redshift, Airflow, and Tableau.

Partly as a consequence of monetary reporting previous a proper knowledge & analytics perform, Octane’s knowledge practitioners are sometimes siloed, with totally different elements of the enterprise using their very own analytics groups, and no single centralized analytics perform.

“Information has been pivotal for us to have the ability to advance as an organization for thus a few years. However groups have been utilizing knowledge in numerous methods,” Alex defined. “There are totally different ranges of scrutiny relying on the use case. Somebody on our Finance group who’s producing reporting that can go to scores companies, or these buying in debt markets, are going to have very totally different wants from somebody on our Gross sales group who’s trying to perceive conversion metrics at totally different dealerships.”

Whereas these features might have been siloed, the information they used of their evaluation was usually from the identical sources, which might result in divergent views over use shared knowledge, and myriad methods of calculating and visualizing data. With out centralized documentation, and a standard understanding of their knowledge property, a shared language for, and method to, knowledge couldn’t exist.

Step one was developing with documentation. That was the actually, actually troublesome half. Pre-Covid, we have been usually all in New York (and rather a lot smaller), so you can simply resolve knowledge questions in particular person. As soon as the pandemic hit, you can now not be in the identical room as somebody and say, ‘Hey, just be sure you’re taking a look at this knowledge, not that knowledge.’ However then, the following precedence was making that data simply usable. We had all that data obtainable in spreadsheets accessed by clicking by way of 5 pages on Octane’s intranet. So we acknowledged that the corporate was giant sufficient that it wanted to be a simple, frictionless expertise to entry that documentation in a unified approach.

With a shared understanding of their knowledge rising inside Octane, their subsequent step was clear, to discover a knowledge catalog that would function a single, simply navigable residence for his or her property.

For Octane’s wants, spanning compatibility with their fashionable knowledge stack, enablement for a spread of customers from technical to non-technical, and empathy with their wants as a knowledge group, Atlan proved to be the right match.

“When it comes to why Atlan stood out, I believe it simply does a number of issues. Quite a lot of totally different instruments are good at explicit issues like documentation, or their querying engine.I believe the good factor about Atlan was that it felt fairly intuitive by way of how issues have been all looped collectively and it felt like there was a number of alternative to broaden. Clearly the group that had constructed the product have been knowledge customers, themselves, and it felt like there was understanding of what of us like us have been truly experiencing on the bottom,” Alex shared.

Realizing that Atlan wanted an inner champion at Octane as a way to be adopted, Alex drew on his Product Administration background and commenced analyzing what his potential customers would wish, constructing necessities for a self-service glossary beneficial sufficient to be adopted persistently by knowledge shoppers.

“My technique was that I wished customers to consider within the platform, and for Atlan to have vital credibility. And in relation to documentation, in case you seek for a standard, primary desk, you must have the ability to see documentation. Each second you go in there and don’t see what you want, you lose religion on this knowledge market,” Alex shared.

Starting with groups of knowledge shoppers, Alex started asking what three to 5 tables are most essential to their on a regular basis work. Then, working again from these required tables to their inner house owners, he ensured that subject material consultants have been documenting their information and sharing it in a simple-to-consume format.

“The actually troublesome half was motivating subject material consultants to truly put in all this data. Quite a lot of it was simply brute drive the place I mentioned, ‘I’ll actually simply sit on a Zoom name and you’ll simply inform me this reside, I’ll document it, and we’ll get it in Atlan.’ However the good factor was, as soon as we bought the primary couple of knowledge dictionaries put collectively, it nearly felt like a rumor the place it was like, ‘Oh, I’ve heard that group did it. Okay effective, we’ll do it too.’ It created a tradition of sharing and knowledge documentation.”

And with the information that his colleagues favor to take the quickest and easiest path to finishing their work, he fashioned a sequence of displays, demos, and movies dubbed “Atlan College”, providing it on to his colleagues that may get probably the most profit, and approaching group leaders to encourage their groups to undertake it.

“In our first month we had fewer than 5 weekly lively customers, then it was 10 weekly lively customers. And for context, now in some months we have now 50 – 60  month-to-month lively customers. Issues have grown exponentially,” Alex defined. “I made it my private mission to evangelize Atlan at each alternative as a result of I spotted with certainly one of these instruments, persons are solely going to make use of it if their coworkers and colleagues are utilizing it, and if it’s clear that it could actually make their lives simpler. There was an actual alternative to be much more environment friendly.”

A profitable rollout of Atlan, strong documentation, and buy-in from subject material consultants and knowledge shoppers alike, meant that Alex and his group have been able to measure the influence that self-service made on Octane.

Alex saved a detailed eye on a key inner metric: The amount of questions and solutions in an inner Slack channel for knowledge help. Information shoppers from throughout Octane would place their questions on knowledge into the channel, the place knowledge engineers can be answerable for answering them. Whereas some questions have been related, oftentimes these requests have been easy, starting from primary details about metrics, to the character of current dashboards, or why a spreadsheet didn’t look fairly proper.

However by making their knowledge property searchable in Atlan, appending wealthy context and documentation to these property, and enabling self-service for knowledge shoppers, the variety of messages lowered by 40% in simply three months, saving the group 200 hours monthly.

“You used to have individuals asking questions like, ‘Hey, the place do I discover an utility? The place do I discover somebody’s identify?’ And with Atlan, all you should do is search somebody’s identify, it’s performed,” Alex shared. “Quite a lot of the wants have been quite simple questions, and folks not realizing self-serve. It was actually gratifying to have that north star metric of the variety of instances we have been requested questions in public channels. Atlan lowered it actually, actually considerably.

Every engineer was answering questions 10 to twenty% of their time. And then you definately multiply that over a sure variety of workers throughout the group, that’s a whole bunch of hours monthly that you simply’re dropping by way of productiveness. Having the ability to have everybody be a little bit bit extra targeted led to much more time spent on the issues that truly transfer the needle. And for us, that’s setting the inspiration for enterprise intelligence on the firm. Serving to these knowledge scientists, serving to these analysts, serving to these PMs who’re making an attempt to get extra knowledge savvy.”

Key to Alex’s success in evangelizing for Atlan with management and shoppers alike is his steadfast dedication to quantification. With the potential influence of his group’s work measured from the beginning, Alex is ready to merely and shortly justify the hassle of his packages, and provide compelling reasoning for customers to undertake Atlan.

“For me, quantification is often simply that you simply’re driving extra income or decreasing prices. And in case you’re decreasing prices, it’s an apparent direct value, or an oblique value, like time saved. It’s fairly simple to have a look at time saved by determining the variety of individuals affected by one thing, what number of hours you’re saving every week, and to give you a blended individuals value,” Alex defined.

With that blended individuals value in place, Alex then identifies the typical consumer affected by the enhancements he goals to implement, merely multiplying the time saved by their efforts by what the total compensation of that consumer or customers may be.

“My recommendation is to be prepared to work with ambiguity and give you estimates. It’s higher to give you an estimate, have somebody problem it, then refine it, than it’s to say nothing in any respect,” Alex shared. “Then, be sure to’re screaming that from the rooftops as a lot as doable. That’s both grassroots in particular person conversations with individuals, and that’s additionally in giant displays or with management. Take each alternative to speak about all these metrics you got here up with. It’s essential to be your personal greatest advocate.

With so a lot of Octane’s knowledge shoppers turning into extra savvy as a consequence of Atlan and the context Alex and his group outfitted the platform with, surprising advantages proceed to come up.

We had at the least ten those who had by no means touched knowledge earlier than utilizing Atlan. They needed to work with different individuals and ask ‘Hey, are you able to get this knowledge for me?’ And because of Atlan, they felt empowered to question knowledge, themselves,” Alex shared. “Which may not sound like that massive of a deal to somebody who’s tremendous knowledge fluent, however for lots of people who’ve satisfied themselves they’re not technical, that’s an enormous confidence booster. Atlan allowed individuals which are quantitatively inclined or analytically inclined and have the ability to extract knowledge for their very own analytical tasks.

Whereas Octane as soon as had a chasm of knowledge literacy between its technical groups and its knowledge shoppers, Atlan is giving Alex’s colleagues that could be analytically inclined, however not technical consultants, the instruments they should apply knowledge themselves. 

“I really feel like working with a number of of us at Octane that have been analytically inclined, however didn’t essentially have the actual instruments to do this was actually, actually thrilling. I believe that that creates a greater tradition of respect throughout the groups. There’s a a lot deeper understanding when of us like product managers, or individuals in management, really feel much more comfy getting in and pulling the information themselves. There’s simply extra empathy when individuals have a greater concept of what their coworkers are doing.”

Even having a whole bunch of hours of effort responding to knowledge requests, and opening up knowledge to customers who’ve by no means used it earlier than, Alex and his group’s ambitions for Atlan stay bold, with a deal with driving extra worth with key customers, and constructing a world-class group of technical consultants.

“We’re on the level the place we have now as many as 70 month-to-month lively customers. That’s not 100% of people that use knowledge at Octane, however that’s fairly shut,” Alex shared. “Now, we’ve switched from a penetration viewpoint to a utilization quantity growth throughout the consumer base that we’ve penetrated.”

Whereas a small variety of customers at Octane won’t use Atlan, as their knowledge wants are low and rare, Alex refers to a “center group” of customers that do have wants for knowledge, and use it in various levels. With Atlan established as Octane’s catalog of document, their knowledge engineering group is difficult at work growing the variety of customers which are conscious Atlan may help, and are utilizing it actively.

And past the apparent profit yielded by their knowledge shoppers, Alex is happy for his group to develop in functionality and imaginative and prescient, alongside their newfound partnership with Atlan.

“I’m excited for Octane and Atlan to develop in parallel. Atlan is continuous to construct out new options they usually’re getting each more and more broad and more and more particular. It’s nice to see the corporate simply proceed to supply increasingly performance that we will work with. And I’m excited for us to maneuver up that adoption curve ourselves and begin to have even increasingly superior lecturers of Atlan. I need our most superior customers to be on par with any of probably the most superior customers from another firm. And I believe doing that may actually be an indicator that we’re persisting on this data-driven tradition.”

Photograph by Blue Ribbon on Unsplash

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