Introduction

Intercom bills itself as a “conversational relationship platform,” helping businesses connect with their audiences primarily through live chat, as well as email and chatbots. The Intercom platform offers functionality including engagement and onboarding for new customers, support for existing customers, and marketing for potential customers on the fence.

You can imagine that platforms like Intercom contain a wealth of valuable information, which is why Intercom is so often used as a source for the ETL (extract, transform, load) process. But what about reverse ETL, in which Intercom is instead treated as a target for source data from your centralized data warehouse?

In this article, we’ll explore how to perform reverse ETL with Intercom, including five Intercom reverse ETL tips and tricks.

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Table of Contents

  1. Select Your Data
  2. Select Your Intercom Reverse ETL Target
  3. Select Your Reverse ETL Transformations
  4. Select Your Queries
  5. Select Your Reverse ETL Tool

1. Select Your Data

In reverse ETL, data flows out of your warehouse (which is treated as a centralized “single source of the truth”) and into third-party systems like Intercom. The goal of the reverse ETL process is to operationalize this data by making it available for day-to-day activities and decision-making—even for team members who lack the technical skills to manipulate the data inside the warehouse directly.

For maximum performance, it’s best to pick and choose the data that you send to targets like Intercom. Carefully consider which types of data from your warehouse would best enhance the information that already exists inside Intercom.

Related Reading: How to Operationalize Your Data Warehouse

2. Select Your Intercom Reverse ETL Target

Of course, you’re not sending data from your warehouse to Intercom just for fun. The objective of reverse ETL is to perform analytics inside Intercom, rather than inside the warehouse. So what analytics capabilities does Intercom have?

In the Intercom app store, you’ll find more than 60 apps and integrations for crunching the data from your warehouse. The Intercom analytics and visualization tools available include Google Analytics, Baremetrics, Plecto, Dashbot, and more—so make sure you know where exactly you’ll be sending the data from your warehouse.

3. Select Your Reverse ETL Transformations

Depending on your choice of data and target, you may need to define one or more reverse ETL transformations to perform on this information before it reaches its final destination. Because this data has already passed through the standard ETL process, reverse ETL typically skips over steps such as data cleansing for improving quality and accuracy (or performs only a light cleansing).

Instead, transformations in reverse ETL should focus more on helping users find new insights by enhancing their existing datasets. This means that reverse ETL more commonly uses data transformations such as joining (combining multiple database tables via a shared column) and summarization (creating new data by performing calculations on existing data).

Related Reading: Data Transformation: Explained

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4. Select Your Queries

Once the data is properly transformed and has reached your Intercom destination, the next question is: how will you query and analyze this information? The answer here will largely depend on your choice of Intercom reverse ETL target, as discussed above.

For example, Intercom’s Google Analytics integration can help you understand how your customers interact with your live chat. Google Analytics can identify events such as a user opening or closing the messenger, viewing a message, starting a conversation, or providing their contact information.

Plecto, on the other hand, is mainly a real-time dashboard and visualization tool. You can import data such as activities, comments, average reply times, and more, and then display this information in an attractive, user-friendly dashboard.

5. Select Your Reverse ETL Tool

Moving data from your warehouse to Intercom is a lot easier when you have the right reverse ETL tool at your fingertips. So what kind of Intercom reverse ETL solution should you look for?

The two primary factors to look for when selecting an Intercom reverse ETL tool are:

  • Intercom connector: A reverse ETL solution that includes a pre-built Intercom integration—or whatever third-party system you plan to work with—is a must.
  • User-friendliness: The goal of reverse ETL is to operationalize your enterprise data by putting it in front of non-technical users. Look for an ETL tool with low-code and no-code functionality that allows people to build their own data pipelines without getting a computer science degree. 

How Xplenty Can Help with Reverse ETL

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With so many ETL and reverse ETL tools on the market, how can you know which one is right for you? If you’re looking for an Intercom reverse ETL tool, look no further than Xplenty.

Xplenty helps anyone—from technical newbies to ETL pros—build robust, efficient pipelines from their data sources to their cloud data warehouse. The Xplenty platform includes more than 100 pre-built connectors and integrations, including Intercom. Xplenty’s user-friendly drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to define custom extractions and transformations for your own ETL workflow. And with Xplenty’s 14-day pilot, it’s completely risk-free to see if it fits your needs.

Want to learn more about how Xplenty can help with ETL and reverse ETL? Get in touch with our team of data experts today for a chat about your business goals and requirements.