Transforming Data Reporting Processes through dbt Integration at Persona Identities


Rapidly evolving in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) sector, Persona Identities has made a significant mark through its top-tier, highly configurable software solutions for identity verification and orchestration. With Persona, businesses can create customized identity solutions to fight fraud, meet compliance requirements such as KYC/AML, and build trust and safety. A key factor behind the company's success is the pivotal role of analytics in fostering product enhancements and boosting customer retention, by enabling insights into user behavior. However, the journey was not without its hurdles, as Persona had to confront substantial challenges, particularly in crafting a scalable data and analytics infrastructure, due to the customized nature of its solutions.

Pre-dbt Integration Challenges

Better Data Modeling Approach

Prior to leveraging dbt, Persona focused on intensively managing its complex data models. The company’s commitment to refining its approach to data modeling meant harnessing a myriad of disparate data sets, which served as a use case for improved data analytics.

Commitment to Optimal Data Processing

Persona's dedication to quality meant that the company meticulously processed detailed data models, involving numerous data relationships, extensive queries, and normalized data entities. This comprehensive and thorough approach to data processing, albeit resource-intensive, paved the way for a more streamlined process.

Data Centralization and Consistent Metrics

Understanding the need for a unified view of its data and consistent metrics, Persona needed to centralize its data models and business logics. This progression would enhance the perceived value of Persona's data and analytics among both internal and external stakeholders.

The Inflection Point: Solution Conceptualization

Necessity of a Data Repository

Persona identified the requirement to establish a data repository for quality control and streamlining of its data processes. An open source platform was leveraged to denormalize data and orchestrate Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs). In this scenario, version control was deemed crucial for data consistency and reliability.

The Challenge of Implementation

While the proposed solution was cost-effective, its implementation proved challenging. The process necessitated skills extending beyond SQL, thereby causing project latency and creating hurdles for the team in executing the plan.

Beyond centralization, Persona also pinpointed data validation and documentation as vital building blocks for improved data management.

The Advent of dbt

Why dbt?

dbt, a data transformation tool well-known in the data community but relatively obscure externally, emerged as an ideal solution for Persona's needs. It expedited the consolidation of data models, encompassing staging, marts, and intermediate models. YAML was adopted for documentation and data validation, thereby facilitating a more streamlined data management process.

The Post-integration Landscape: dbt Integration

Amplified Reporting Processes

The integration of dbt ushered in a massive expansion of Persona's reporting processes. It facilitated the use of multiple BI tools within a single project, answering 10x to 20x more questions with a single self-serve report, thereby significantly enhancing data visibility and analytics capabilities.

Efficiency in Cost and Time

With dbt centralizing data transformation, Persona achieved significant savings in computation costs and time, with savings ranging from 10x to 100x. This development not only improved efficiency but also streamlined the data analysis process.

The Road Ahead: Augmenting dbt Documentation

Following the initial positive transformation brought on by dbt, Persona is now focused on addressing its documentation feature limitations. To overcome this, we propose to leverage platforms like Atlan for self-service data catalogs to facilitate self-service data engineering. This approach will save substantial time for both technical and non-technical staff. In this context, underlining definitions are considered crucial for governance and ensuring proper utilization of data resources.


In sum, Persona's data management and reporting procedures underwent a significant metamorphosis through the integration of dbt. This change emphasizes the significance of ceaseless improvement in the governance and efficiency of data processes. These aspects are pivotal to maintaining Persona's growth trajectory and establishing a reputable position in the fiercely competitive IaaS market.

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