Advancing scientific growth
In the wake of COVID-19, the importance of efficiency in public health and pharmaceutical research has never been underscored more prominently than now. But this isn’t a new problem to BenchSci. Founded in 2015, BenchSci has made it their mission to exponentially increase the speed and quality of life-saving research by empowering scientists with the world’s most advanced biomedical artificial intelligence.
“Our goal is to cut down the time and expenses in the preclinical stage of research through machine learning,” says Wolfgang Mairinger, Senior Data Analyst at BenchSci. “Essentially our product can quickly comb through massive databases of preclinical research to surface what scientists are searching for. Because our goal is all about increasing efficiency, we work diligently to optimize our product and its features based on the insights we discover in Heap.”
Wolfgang realized there was a huge opportunity to support their company mission by first increasing efficiency internally. Like many startups, BenchSci's data governance was established with limited resources, so as their company grew and their product developed, their Heap dataset grew in complexity. It’s a huge undertaking to run a comprehensive data reconfiguration, but luckily BenchSci was able to use Heap’s Professional Services Packages to get a helping hand.
A hypothesis for progress
“In the early days the team was small and a lot of our analysis was done by the Product Managers,” Wolfgang says. “But it was like we gave them the keys to the castle without explaining how the draw bridge works. Heap was doing a great job of getting us everything we needed, but there wasn’t enough consistency in how that data was being managed.”
“There were all these events missing context, just floating around until they were inactive because it took too long to figure out what was going on with them without proper prefixes or notes,” says Wolfgang. “To win back confidence in our data, we needed to have a clean slate.”
“I had a general idea of the ideal state for data governance from documentation on Heap’s site, but it was really helpful to get added direction from Heap’s Professional Services team,” says Wolfgang. “They provided us with tailored documentation, trainings, and regular syncs that helped guide us as we worked through our data clean-up.”
After the Data Maintenance engagement was underway, BenchSci brought on Dana O'Brodovich to manage their Business Intelligence and Analytics team. Having used Heap at several other companies, Dana was able to jump right in and assess the situation.
“When I started Wolfgang was in the midst of trying to clean up after a lot of different people,” Dana says. “He had already spent a ton of time getting our house in order, but there was still more to be done. Wolfgang adapted the best practices provided by Heap into a comprehensive guide customized for our unique use cases which helped us move forward faster.”
Putting things to the test
“We started by solidifying our naming conventions,” says Wolfgang. “As our company continues to scale, having clean naming conventions and clear definitions is so important so you don’t end up having meetings just to explain what each data point means. From there I was able to evaluate each event to make sure it was defined correctly and followed the new conventions.”
“Thanks to Wolfgang’s hardwork and the guidance from Heap’s Professional Services team, we are in a much better place,” says Dana. “Now when you go into Heap it is really clear what triggers an event, where it is located, and what the event is. This level of clarity is really going to help cut down on onboarding time and enable our team to scale efficiently.”
BenchSci was soon able to test their new efficiency levels by onboarding a new Product Analyst, Saurabh Agrawal. Saurabh reflects on the experience, saying, “At first I was a little overwhelmed, but there’s always an initial learning curve with new tools. Once I got over that discomfort, it was really easy to understand the way events were categorized. Pretty quickly I was able to start setting up my own events and reports. The team’s investment in clean data definitely made my transition smoother.”
From data to insights to action
“One of the most useful things about the Professional Services engagement with Heap was that it kept us accountable to a timeline,” says Dana. “Without this project I think it would have been easy to just put things off ‘until next month.’ There is always a large volume of work that feels more important than cleaning up events. Now we are in a place where our team is not wasting time trying to make sense of the data. It has really helped build confidence across our org.”
Wolfgang agrees, adding, “It’s definitely increased the trust in the reports the Business Intelligence and Analytics team produces. There’s more transparency behind our reporting and it’s much easier to verify that everything is working correctly. Now when people have pointed questions our team is able to back their decisions with trusted data.”
“I’d really recommend working with Heap’s Professional Services team,” Wolfgang adds. “Everyone we worked with was incredibly professional and worked hard to figure out what we needed to achieve our goals."
"Since finishing our data reconfiguration we’ve found some impressive trends in how Heap is being leveraged. We've seen a 3x increase in the average of Heap reports created monthly as well as a 9x increase in new charts saved. With clearer event structures our growing team is empowered to dig more into our data, allowing us to find more and more answers to questions that help us reach our business goals!"