CIENCE Saves 50% of Engineering Team’s Time on Bi-Directional Email Integration

Location: Denver, CO
Employees: 1,200+
Impact: Rebuilt key project in months vs years Cleared roadmap in quarters vs years 50% of engineering team’s time saved 200% projected increase in employee productivity

The Nylas Email API helped CIENCE expedite its bi-directional email integration from years to just a few engineering sprints.

CIENCE Technologies is a lead generation company that offers a unique blend of specialized sales services and software, ranging from research, sales development, and campaign management. The CIENCE platform surfaces data from their internal database to help sales reps reach out to qualified prospects at the most strategic time in the sales process, accelerating results for sales teams.

Challenges:

The CIENCE platform is targeted towards sales development and business development representatives, helping them procure leads and run outbound campaigns all in one streamlined workflow and interface. Sending emails is a core functionality for CIENCE’s users, and is essential for landing initial calls and closing deals.

CIENCE built an email sequencing system for running outbound campaigns that could integrate tightly with its customer data platform – a database of hundreds of millions of people. To support these efforts, CIENCE tried building its own email connectors and internal SDK to build a bi-directional connection to all major email providers, and it was a massive pain point. The biggest difficulty was supporting IMAP, a notoriously challenging integration to support, as well as building unique integrations to support every other email provider their user base needed. Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, and Outlook (for example) all have different ways of handling email attachments. The CIENCE team put in significant effort – up to 50% of the engineering team’s time, building these unique integrations and trying to keep the systems up and running.

“Our biggest pain point was email connectors. We were building them ourselves and they would break all the time. It took quite a bit of effort to get these systems to be mature, and they still weren’t perfect. This slowed us down and created a backlog of bugs that our team kept having to address, and didn’t contribute to the core competencies of our product,” said Isaac Nassimi, Chief Product Officer.

This backlog resulted in longer time-to-market and shifted focus away from building out the core competencies of the CIENCE platform. The team knew there had to be a better way.

Solution:

It took CIENCE nearly four months to even have a proof-of-concept prior to finding Nylas. After evaluating how much it cost to build and maintain the email connectors themselves the team determined that Nylas was the best solution for the job. Depending on the complexity of the integration, annual maintenance, bug fixes, and customer support tickets can cost teams anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions – Nylas allows them to build a full-featured b-directional email integration with analytics like open rates, bounce rates, link clicks, and more with a very small engineering team in a fraction of the time – with no ongoing maintenance required.

“When we realized the build option wasn’t the right call, we started to research what we could use ‘off the shelf’ – that’s where we turned to Nylas. We’re very focused on output and value, so it was easy to get buy-in,” Nassimi added.

Nylas’ Email API provides a stable infrastructure for email connectors. CIENCE engineers were no longer waking up to issues needing to be resolved and instead, focused on value-add features. The initial implementation was seamless, with the full product integration for all providers – including Google, Microsoft, IMAP – only taking a few days.

“It’s been a really good experience working with Nylas. I’ve been impressed with the level of support we have received. It has changed our business and let us do a lot more with a smaller engineering team. Our engineers can sleep at night knowing our email infrastructure is going to be stable, everything is much smoother. We feel confident when an automated email goes out it’s going to be delivered. Now we’re able to focus on the key features of our platform,” said Nassimi.

Results:

By working with Nylas, the CIENCE team has achieved significant results:

  • The company rebuilt and improved a key project in a couple months that had been previously in process for a year and a half.
  • The team cleared roadmap within quarters vs years. Now the whole product and engineering department is focused on adding valuable new features to the platform rather than on infrastructure and stability. Previously, 50% of their time was focused on email connectors.
  • Going forward, CIENCE is projecting a 200% increase in employee productivity once its product is launched internally.

“The act of sending an email doesn’t provide business value, it’s what you do with that email that provides the value. Every second you spend working on infrastructure takes you away from spending time on the things that provide business value. Every engineer has built something that has haunted them. Trying to build email connectors in-house will be one of those things if you embark on it,” concluded Nassimi.

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