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HomeBig DataEnabling Operational Analytics on the Databricks Lakehouse Platform With Census Reverse ETL

Enabling Operational Analytics on the Databricks Lakehouse Platform With Census Reverse ETL

This can be a collaborative put up from Databricks and Census. We thank Parker Rogers, Knowledge Neighborhood Advocate, at Census for his contributions.


On this article, we’ll clarify how utilizing Census’s reverse ETL (rETL) makes you – an information skilled – and your knowledge lakehouse much more worthwhile to your group. We’ll reply all of your questions, together with:

  • What’s reverse ETL with Census?
  • Why does reverse ETL with Census make you and your knowledge lakehouse extra worthwhile?
  • How do you launch reverse ETL in your knowledge lakehouse right now?

In case you’ve created an information lakehouse that your group trusts and makes use of – congratulations! This can be a important accomplishment, and the toughest work to your knowledge crew is already behind you.

Now, we wish to introduce a easy, non-time-consuming resolution that can assist you make knowledge much more worthwhile and actionable in your group. Whether or not you are an information scientist, analyst, or analytics engineer, the implementation of this resolution can profit you.

It is referred to as reverse ETL with Census, and listed below are a number of (or many!) issues it could actually assist you to accomplish:

  • The power to ship reliable knowledge and perception from Databricks to all of the instruments utilized by your gross sales, advertising and marketing, and ops groups
  • The power to create a constant image for everyone in each device
  • The power to achieve each one among your prospects at any scale at simply the correct time.
  • The power to bridge the info hole and human hole between knowledge and ops groups.

First, let’s study what reverse ETL is.

What’s Reverse ETL with Census?

Reverse ETL is the method of syncing knowledge from a supply of reality (like your knowledge lakehouse) to a system of actions (whether or not that is your CRM, promoting platform, or one other SaaS software). This basically flips the unique ETL course of, permitting you to extract knowledge from the lakehouse, remodel it, so it performs properly together with your goal vacation spot’s API, after which load it into your required goal app.

Why does this course of must be flipped anyway?

Whereas conventional ETL labored properly for a restricted quantity of knowledge, as the info trade has exploded and the sheer quantity of quantity that organizations are dealing with has grown in tandem, the info engineers who as soon as had ample bandwidth to course of and reply your data-related questions, now not do. With an absence of fingers to course of your knowledge and pull out worthwhile insights, you want extra subtle instruments and processes (like rETL) to operationalize your analytics.

Now, that is a high-level overview, so let’s discover the meat of the “why.”

Why Reverse ETL with Census makes you and your knowledge lakehouse extra worthwhile

Reverse ETL has use instances for each (sure, each) division in your group, however we’ll concentrate on a standard one: Gross sales.

Think about your gross sales crew needs to know which leads they need to prioritize for outbound efforts. In your lakehouse, you create a question that scores your leads based mostly on sure standards – whether or not that is firm dimension/trade, job title, interactions together with your product/advertising and marketing web site, and so on. Right here, the upper the lead rating, the upper the precedence for outbound efforts.

At this level, you might have the info you want, however two large questions forestall you from placing it into motion:

How will you ship it to your gross sales crew?
How are you going to guarantee it drives worth?

The standard method is to ship it to a BI device or CSV file and hope the gross sales crew makes use of it. Positive, they could use it, however greater than possible, they’re going to neglect about it. That is simply the best way this course of used to work.

However with reverse ETL, you may ship the info instantly out of your knowledge lake to the SaaS instruments your gross sales crew lives in (Outreach, Hubspot, Salesforce, and so on), so you may guarantee the info is at all times high of thoughts to your gross sales reps, serving to them drive worth in each interplay.

However how does Census get the info into your SaaS instruments, making certain timeliness and accuracy (all whereas maintaining your knowledge safe)? Census is constructed on a number of key constructing blocks: Fashions, segments, and syncs.

  • Fashions are your cleaned and prepped lakehouse knowledge that will probably be despatched to your SaaS apps. Fashions might be composed inside Census’s section builder through SQL, exposing dbt fashions, or exposing Looker Seems.
  • Segments aren’t required, however they supply a handy approach to section your advertising and marketing knowledge from a single mannequin. This allows you to feed completely different segments to completely different advertising and marketing lists from a single mannequin.
  • Syncs transfer the info from a mannequin/section into the vacation spot. They permit you to map your supply fields to your vacation spot fields they usually present scheduling and orchestration. You possibly can schedule your syncs to run in batches or repeatedly, main to close real-time syncs.

These constructing blocks are surrounded by three governance layers:

  • Observability. Alerts you to any points together with your syncs each whereas creating the sync and whereas they run on a schedule. That is composed of sync historical past, API inspector, sync logs, sync alerts, and sync dry runs.
  • Entry Controls. Allow you to limit knowledge entry to the correct crew members.
  • Knowledge Safety. Census takes a singular method to knowledge safety. Census is designed to run inside your lakehouse. This “low-touch” structure makes use of Databricks’s execution engine to carry out delicate operations, which means that validation, transformation, and state monitoring all occur with out your knowledge ever touching Census’s servers. This makes your knowledge “safe by default”.

As soon as that knowledge is delivered to your SaaS device, this is what it would seem like to your Gross sales of us:

Lead scoring data delivered in a SaaS tool (e.g. Hubspot, Salesforce) with Census reverse ETL that runs on the Databricks Lakehouse

Positive, that is a high-level instance, however take a look at how YipitData is utilizing reverse ETL to empower their gross sales and buyer success groups.

How YipitData makes use of reverse ETL

Like many others, YipitData makes use of reverse ETL to sync buyer knowledge from their knowledge lake to Salesforce. Consequently, their Gross sales and Buyer Success groups are promoting extra successfully and stopping potential churn. This is how they do it:

  • Lead Scoring: Utilizing product and advertising and marketing web site knowledge saved of their Databricks cluster, YipitData identifies the best-fitting potential prospects and prioritizes their gross sales crew’s time to achieve out to those leads.
  • Churn Scoring: Utilizing product knowledge from Databricks, YipitData creates varied metrics to determine accounts which can be prone to churn (ex: energetic customers, energetic merchandise, final login, and so on.) This knowledge helps the client success crew prioritize accounts to keep away from churn.
  • Buyer 360: YipitData syncs related contact actions (ex. most up-to-date e mail, most up-to-date assembly, newer chilly name) to particular person Salesforce contacts. This creates cohesion between all their go-to-market actions.

The way to launch reverse ETL on Databricks

You possibly can launch Census rETL right now. Utilizing the gross sales instance above, this is how.

Step 1: Join Databricks to Census
To ascertain the connection, you will want the server hostname, port, HTTP path, and entry token for a Databricks cluster. Select a Databricks cluster working an LTS model like 7.3, 9.1, or 10.4. Yow will discover the required credentials in these two paperwork:

  1. Get connection particulars for a cluster
  2. Generate a private entry token

After you enter your entry token, you will want so as to add the next configuration parameters to your cluster by navigating from Clusters > [Your Cluster] > Superior Choices > Spark.


If the CENSUS schema has not been created, create it by working:

CENSUS schema

In case you need assistance or run into any points whereas connecting to Databricks, take a look at this documentation (or simply holler at us instantly).

Step 2: Connect with a vacation spot SaaS software
This instance makes use of HubSpot because the service vacation spot.

Connecting to a service vacation spot often solely requires your login credentials, so enter these as proven.

When you’re linked, you can begin the enjoyable half: Modeling your knowledge.

Step 3: Modeling your knowledge
Create a mannequin utilizing knowledge from Databricks. On this instance, we’re making a “lead rating” to determine which leads are the best precedence for a gross sales crew’s outbound efforts.

As a result of a mannequin is solely a SQL question, if SQL, you may ship no matter knowledge you’d wish to dozens of frontline instruments utilized by your group. On this instance, we used the next mannequin:

WITH rating AS (
WHEN identify = 'webinar attended' THEN 3
WHEN identify = 'appointment created' THEN 4
WHEN identify = 'appointment shared' THEN 2
WHEN identify = 'content material downloaded' THEN 2
WHEN identify = 'e mail opened' THEN 1
) AS lead_score
webinar_attended AS (
identify = 'webinar attended'
content_downloaded AS (
identify = 'content material downloaded'
appointment_created AS (
identify = 'appointment created'
e mail,
webinar_attended.depend AS webinar_attended,
content_downloaded.depend AS content_downloaded,
appointment_created.depend AS appointment_created,
first_name | | ' ' | | last_name AS identify,
web site,
'subscribed' AS standing
"demo".customers u
JOIN rating ON rating.user_id = u.user_id
JOIN webinar_attended ON webinar_attended.user_id = u.user_id
JOIN content_downloaded ON content_downloaded.user_id = u.user_id
JOIN appointment_created ON appointment_created.user_id = u.user_id
lead_score > 100

Step 4: Sync your knowledge
That is the place the “reverse ETL” magic occurs. 🪔In a sync, knowledge is shipped from a mannequin to a vacation spot (i.e. HubSpot). On this case, we’re sending the “Lead Rating” mannequin to a customized HubSpot discipline referred to as “Lead Rating”, leading to a customized lead rating for every contact in your HubSpot account.

Step 6: Create a sync schedule
Along with working a sync, you may robotically schedule your sync. Right here, we’re working the Databricks-to-HubSpot sync each morning at 10:00 am. Which means if new knowledge is loaded into your Databricks account, Census will robotically embrace it within the sync each morning.

Step 7: If mandatory, troubleshoot your sync with the Dwell API Inspector
We hope you do not have to debug your knowledge, however in the event you do, we have you coated! In case you’re working into points, take a look at our reside API inspector to search out your points and get your syncs working easily.

The “what”, “why”, and “how” of Databricks + Census rETL

Databricks is the center of your knowledge and AI technique (and rightfully so!), however now you must make it accessible to a good wider viewers. That is the place Census reverse ETL is available in. By placing your knowledge in your frontline operational apps, the lakehouse might be prolonged to completely different end-users within the org.



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