dbt Labs is a data transformation workflow that allows analysts to deploy analytics code quickly and collaboratively. In 2022, the company raised $222 million after tripling its customer count and quadrupling the company size. Dbt Labs empowers over 9,000 companies with an aligned data philosophy for the entire organization. And it was paramount for this philosophy to reflect in their business planning software, as well.
Carta provides equity and capitalization table management software. The company has ingeniously used its own trading platform in selling $100 million of its shares to prove its valuation. Carta has quickly expanded into a wide array of FinTech products and investor services including a compensation tool, a tax tool, and a credit liquidity tool. Rapid scaling means rapid changes - a challenge that requires a highly flexible business planning platform.
dbt Labs and Carta both chose Pigment. But what motivated the teams to choose Pigment as their business planning platform of choice? And what was the impact of that choice?
Sarah Riley, Sr. Director, Head of Finance & Strategy at dbt Labs, and Kevin Zell, Senior Manager of Strategic Finance at Carta, join Pigment in a fireside chat on the Pigment customer journey from business requirements to implementation and continued success with the platform.
Why choose Pigment?
Unmatched flexibility for fast-paced changes
In the past, Carta explored several business planning solutions, but never found the level of flexibility required for the company’s pace of business. With Pigment, the team said goodbye to painful re-implementation while revising business unit structures and org charts. Pigment was the modern business planning software that resisted breaking under ever-changing conditions.
A powerful data model for superior data wrangling
Sarah and her team at dbt Labs are well versed in the world of business planning software. In short, they’ve seen it all. But they hadn’t yet come across a planning platform that supported a more flexible, flatter data structure that breaks the traditional mold of rigid hierarchies. Pigment’s unique data model, including the power of flexible dimension properties that drive natural aggregations and filtering, really spoke to their needs. With Pigment, they exchanged rigid data cubes and troublesome sparsity challenges for powerful data structures and ease of data processing.
Getting ready to Go Pigment: tales of implementation
Plan each day to beat the race
At Carta, Kevin and team dedicated focus time each day to really zoom in on Pigment implementation needs. This translated to two-hour calls nearly every morning with the Pigment team, so they were never alone in their mission to succeed.
The key to successfully implementing a business planning solution? Get early buy-in from cross-functional team members and split implementation into workable chunks and use cases.
As a result, the team now boasts rolling out Pigment to the entire executive team at Carta with stellar results:
“It's been awesome to start seeing adoption. Our CFO was answering questions for himself constantly on [Pigment], which has been amazing for me.” - Kevin from Carta
What’s even better, the team at Carta had Pigment running and catering to its 2,000 employees, in no time.
Prioritization is the key to faster implementation
Sarah and the dbt Labs team committed firmly in Q1 to set up and run Pigment by the start of Q2. Such quick motion could only be achieved through laser-share clarity on key priorities.
The Strategic Finance team started by implementing workforce and expense planning, getting to a good running state by four weeks. Their end goal was a decentralized planning process that could easily be accessed and used by executives and department heads alike.
“We took a pretty extensive approach rolling it out to the executive team. We actually have our CEO plus two layers in the tool.” - Sarah from dbt Labs
The team successfully walked through their forecasts on Pigment to C Suite executives at a board meeting, with outstanding leadership adoption of the tool. They also extensively trained the team on Pigment. The end result was increased visibility and control on the pulse of the business for more confident decision making.
Pigment use cases
How Carta uses Pigment
Carta has primarily implemented Revenue Planning and Headcount Planning use cases on Pigment. More specifically, the Revenue team performs their ARR forecasts and plan headcount with imported employee roster data from Workday.
The Pigment interface is so engaging and powerful that Kevin uses the tool throughout the day for ongoing analyses. Yet it still results in less time wasted on data prep when compared to spreadsheet-centric solutions.
Overall, executives contribute time to reviewing dashboards while analysts build out forecasts and boards in Pigment.
Pigment enables more efficient headcount planning
Headcount planning was a nightmare of spreadsheets and poor visibility before Pigment. With Pigment, Carta now has a much better way to manage headcount, one of the primary cost sources for most SaaS business.
Hiring managers have a centralized location to see open requisitions, and the company saves costs on redundant or unnecessary open job requisitions. It is much easier to understand the impact of org chart restructures on the financials of the company.
All in all, Pigment boosts clarity in the headcount planning process.
How dbt Labs uses Pigment
Leaders at dbt Labs have strong backgrounds in Analytics, making it easier for executives to dig deep into the rich data present in Pigment.
Being highly detail-oriented, the dbt Labs team underwent meticulous hands-on training with lots of active participation and Q&A sessions. Dedicated time to problem solve and learn the tool played a major role in exceptional product adoption.
Additionally, the team was exceedingly happy with the fast rate of feature releases by the Pigment product team. Requested features were implemented within weeks of being raised, leading to constantly expanding use cases with Pigment.
More power with Pigment integrations
In terms of immediate next steps, the teams at dbt Labs and Carta have both resolved to scrap manual data integrations for Pigment’s extensive selection of native data connectors. They aim to increase usage of integrations including Workday.
Pigment replaces the outdated and time-consuming standard of manual data imports and csv files with native integrations including ERP, CRM, HRIS, ATS, billing and payment systems, and other data sources.
Proudest achievement on Pigment
No longer gatekeepers of data
Everyone at the organization, from the CEO to hiring managers, benefit from easy access to data insights. With Pigment, Carta’s FP&A team were no longer the gatekeepers of data.
With 30,000 customers to serve, datasets at Carta are enormous and difficult to distribute in the form of actionable insights.
“We've been the gatekeepers of so much data, and it makes our jobs way less fun because people are constantly asking us questions that they could answer themselves if they just had access to it." - Kevin Zell, Carta
With Pigment, everyone including executives and analysts could segment data in precisely the way they wanted for their specific business needs. All of this would be close to impossible with spreadsheets.
Superior visibility to leadership
The dbt Labs executive team’s wishlist included improved visibility into executive budgets, something that Pigment was able to provide. They realized that greater accountability happens with the right tools to understand the business.
What’s more, the company is now able to implement proactive decision making by catching early warning signs that can then be quickly rectified.
"We didn't have the systems or tools for [the executive team] to have visibility into executive level budgets on a regular basis. And it's hard to hold anyone accountable unless you give them the tools to understand their business. And now, I actually feel like they have it." - Sarah Reily, dbt Labs
An achievable vision for the future with Pigment
Even a distant vision for the future becomes easier to reach with Pigment.
Sarah shared how dbt Labs started with the Finance function, but quickly evolved into covering more of the sales funnel and setting role-specific targets across all elements of the Go-to-market.
For Carta, it was the ability to analyze more data than ever before, at the right time. The team moved from reactive reporting to frequent, real-time analyses. This enabled them to capture the needs of the business in a more robust and actionable way.
Both dbt Labs and Carta could now ask questions they never asked before, all within the Pigment business planning platform.
“There’s a lot that can happen when you start empowering people with their own data.” - Kevin Zell, Carta