Kara Barcelon, Controller
Speeds up manual sales order review process 25%
Conserves budget from software upgrades and costly technology consultants
Empowers finance team to take the lead on integrations, without engineering assistance
Automates processes across the organization to tap into greater efficiency and productivity
Mixpanel is a product analytics software provider that serves more than 26,000 companies from different industries worldwide, including Uber, Expedia, and Ancestry. Mixpanel helps its customers understand how and why their users engage, convert, and retain in real-time across web, mobile, and smart devices. In turn, customers can use that data to grow their business and build better products.
“At Mixpanel, our mission is to increase the rate of innovation. Not only as a company but for the businesses we serve,” says Controller Kara Barcelon. “Internally, our team doesn’t shy away from a challenge. We’re constantly looking for new technology and processes that will help us better support our customers.”
As Mixpanel grew its customer base, the company’s finance team found itself spending more and more time manually creating sales orders for new contracts closed by sales. “We were struggling to scale our order-to-cash process as our business grew. This process required significant manual effort from the team to input and review contract information into our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system,” says Barcelon. “We need reliable sales order data in our ERP to ensure that all of our revenue is accurately recognized for financial reporting purposes.”
The Mixpanel team needed to find a way to keep pace with incredible business growth without committing all of its resources to data entry. “At an organization like ours, no one is going to wait around for someone else to solve their problems. My team might not be data integration experts, but we’re solutions seekers, and we knew there was a better way to handle repetitive processes so that we could focus on more-complex tasks.”
Mixpanel was no stranger to integration solutions. Its systems team had previously adopted a well-recognized, 20-year-old software tool to handle some of its integration needs. “We weren’t satisfied with the outdated, highly technical approach that our previous vendor took to integrations,” explains Barcelon. “We had to pay external consultants to build out solutions for our team, which, in addition to being very expensive, was slow-moving and gave us little control over the outcome.” The team decided to look for a new vendor that could bring speed and efficiency back into its processes.
As the team evaluated different alternatives, it focused on finding a solution that even line-of-business users with no integration experience could use to build their own processes. “Our engineering team was very dissatisfied with our previous vendor. This time around, we wanted a solution that any team could use to satisfy its integration needs.”
Mixpanel chose the Tray Platform to scale its quote-to-cash processes and create efficiencies across the organization. “We found a solution that both our engineers and our non-technical teammates could agree on. The Tray Platform armed our organization with the ability not just to innovate our processes, but to automate manual work across our entire finance team.”
Using a General Automation Platform (GAP), the Mixpanel team worked quickly to stand up its CRM + ERP integration. “After we saw how easily we could deploy our initial order-to-cash use case, we started to wonder how we could use automation to solve several other challenges we were facing,” says Barcelon. “For example, we have connected an accounting tool that assists in automating journal entries to our ERP on our own, rather than having to pay additional fees for an external provider or consultants. In addition, we have used the platform to keep account owners up-to-date on data in both our Salesforce instance and our ERP. We also use the platform to auto-alert customers when their invoices require purchase orders. With the Tray Platform, we were able to sync data between different tools in our system, including our CRM, ERP, and others, to unify our accounting data and automate time-consuming manual processes.”
Mixpanel cites Tray.io’s customer success organization as a critical factor in its swift implementation process. “Not only did the support team help bring us up-to-speed with using the platform, but they’ve been real partners in architecting our processes. Often, we’ll use the Tray.io team as a sounding board to find out how to make our workflows even more efficient. It’s great to work with a team that genuinely cares about our success.”
Now, virtually the entire revenue team at Mixpanel is enjoying the benefits of automation. “With every new workflow we build, our team has become better and better to the point where we’re pretty dangerous with the platform,” jokes Barcelon.
“After we introduced automation into our order-to-cash process, we noticed a 25% reduction in the manual effort required to complete a sales order,” remarks Barcelon. “Instead of reconciling every order, my team now only needs to review incoming orders and make adjustments as needed. This process, in turn, has allowed us to refocus on other mission-critical financial and accounting projects.”
“As for our journal entry workflow, our integration conserved significant budget that we would have invested in expensive consultants and software upgrades to resolve the complications in that process. Not to mention the hours we saved from tedious manual work.”
“Beyond finance, we’ve applied automation to many different facets of our business and experienced benefits there as well. We’ve used the Tray Platform to automate email outreach to internal teams to keep them up to date on account changes and keep our internal systems up to date. These are all projects that would have traditionally required time from our engineering team. But now, we can do them on our own.”
“Automation has fundamentally changed our approach to building processes,” says Barcelon. “You’re not limited to the capabilities of any one system. So far, we have yet to find something that the Tray Platform can’t do.”
Moving forward, the team at Mixpanel plans to innovate and automate new areas of the organization. “We want to embrace automation in all the ways we can,” says Barcelon. “Today, people just don’t know what they can achieve with the right tools. Honestly, we’ve changed the way we approach our work. Instead of just using a project-to-project approach as a traditional finance team might, we look at our work from the standpoint of how we can build out automation to get things done. We’ve already used automation to clear some of the biggest obstacles we’d faced, and now we look at projects and prioritize them for our next automation builds.”
“We’re currently building a workflow that automates payments from our referral program, which will conserve the resources of both our finance and partnerships teams. And that integration won’t be our last: I’m of the mind that we can integrate the world with the Tray Platform.”
If you’d like to see how other fast-growing companies are transforming their tech stacks through automation, check out our customer story with Udemy to see how they streamlined self-service. And if you’d like to see the Tray Platform in action, join our next weekly group demo.