Case studies

Saving Inkit $100k+ in data import costs with Flatfile

Elizabeth Bukys

Posted 6/10/2020

Living in a digital world, it’s easy to forget about all the “offline” conversations that are critical to how companies run their businesses. Inkit is a SaaS product that directly addresses this gap with consumers. Inkit automates direct mail to connect hundreds of digital applications (like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Braze) with printers, brokers, and postal services. Their personalized and targeted direct mail approach results in a massive impact on their clients. Some of them, like Naturebox, have increased their revenue per customer by 60 percent using Inkit’s automated re-engagement system.

Unlike other platforms in their space, Inkit strives to eliminate the manual work involved in managing online to offline programs; every action to be automated, tracked, and analyzed in one place. The process requires less time and people overhead, resulting in cost savings and a faster time-to-market for Inkit’s customers.

When Buy vs Build is the Best Option

To use Inkit’s direct mail automation solution, customers need to import their client’s data from a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. To handle data import, Inkit went about developing their own tool internally but it quickly became apparent that the build your own solution route was not working well - for Inkit internally as well as their customer base.

Michael McCarthy, CEO of Inkit describes what brought them to Flatfile: 

“We home built our uploader. It was very problematic if customers uploaded files that didn’t meet our requirements. We had to give them our exact specifications, which ended up being a huge bottleneck. Any time someone would upload a file that was not encoded properly, everything would break.”

Inkit would frequently need to work with customers directly to fix import issues, walking them through things like saving files with UTF-8 encoding in order to work properly for their platform. The Inkit team continued to run into a variety of problematic edge cases around data imports. With one client, they found files with a German location had EU encoded files that could not be imported at all.

From improper file types to bad data inputs, Inkit came to the point where the company was spending several hours a day addressing data import issues. Building their own import tool was not only bogging down development resources, but customer support at Inkit was being stretched thin handling data import requests left and right. As Inkit scaled, the customer support team became overwhelmed with import-related requests. By the time they came to Flatfile, the team was spending roughly 30 hours a week answering support tickets directly related to data import challenges.

Once Inkit realized the extent to which they were losing precious productivity hours on data imports for their customers, McCarthy sought a solution. Enter: Flatfile. It took Inkit one week to implement Flatfile’s Portal product with their React front-end framework.

“We were in such a bind--we bought the Portal product immediately after a quick demonstration and a look at the API documentation,” said McCarthy. “It was really easy once we got it up and running and a huge time saver across the board. It didn't make sense to continue to invest our resources on building and maintaining this core yet secondary part of our product. We stopped spending time on data import issues, and now see a 100 percent data import success rate. Flatfile exceeded our expectations.”

With Flatfile up and running, Inkit no longer needs to deal with data import support tickets from customers and focuses on their more important product-related success, which has greatly impacted their business.

“Six or seven of our clients actually had weekly issues,” said McCarthy. “After adding Flatfile, all of them stopped sending in tickets for help.”

The Data Import ROI

When it comes to the return on investment of Flatfile Portal, McCarthy went on to say:

“A viable data import solution easily represents a hundred thousand dollars a year in savings for Inkit. We had two clients that were paying upwards of $30,000 a year and were at risk to churn if we didn't figure this data import issue out. There's also a ton of engineering time that we saved by partnering with Flatfile. Without Flatfile, we would have had to dedicate one or two full time engineers to the development and maintenance of an internal data import solution and honestly, it would never have been as good as Flatfile’s product. I could see a bigger company looking at a million dollars a year in cost savings.”

“Thanks to Flatfile, we were able to deliver a 10X better product and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

About Inkit

Inkit helps companies connect to hundreds of printers with complete visibility. Instantly leverage global print infrastructure with Inkit’s developer friendly APIs, dashboards, and reporting. Connect, track, and manage critical business communications faster than ever before.

About Flatfile is the bulk data import/transfer solution for software products. With a primary focus on CSVs but support for dozens of other file types, Flatfile makes accepting data files from 3rd parties, whether a customer, vendor or partner, painless.

Flatfile Portal embeds directly in software applications with just a few lines of code and adds an end-user facing bulk data matching and validation flow to your product.

Flatfile Concierge lets services teams accept data from 3rd parties via any channel and then do the work of identifying and repairing data just once.

All of these are built on top of the Flatfile healing platform, which learns over time how data should be structured and cleaned before it is imported. They have already processed over 200 million rows of data imports for companies like ClickUp, Blackbaud, Benevity, and Toast. Get in touch at [email protected].