Success Story

Harvard Business Publishing: Behind its data-driven business transformation

Harvard Business Publishing is a world-renowned media and education brand. Learn how the organization is driving business growth by strengthening its focus on data-driven learning solutions.



When Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) decided to prioritize data-driven products, the lean enterprise data team recognized the need to reevaluate their data models to align with the new strategic direction.


The data team partnered with Data Clymer to update their dbt transformation models and implement best practices, all while effectively and efficiently deploying a best-in-class modern data stack.

Data Technology Stack

Business Objectives

data integration

Enrich HBP’s portfolio with data-driven capabilities and product features

co-development & training

Better engage learners and subscribers and help them solve their problems faster

increased data trust

Use data to improve the practice of management in a changing world

Data Team Objectives

Deploy a modern data stack to enable more data-driven product features

Maintain the highest standards of security and user accessibility

Make valuable data available to product managers and teams across the organization

Realize the full value of dbt and establish data modeling best practices within the organization’s DNA

The Full Story

Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) is one of the world’s most recognized media and education brands. Its award-winning content, digital tools, and learning programs prepare leaders and improve the practice of management in a changing world.

The organization recently expanded its business strategy to put greater emphasis on learning and data-driven products to deliver even more value to learners. This strategy sharpened the focus on data as a way to understand and solve each individual’s problems. However, it also presented a new challenge for the small enterprise data team, which had previously focused primarily on operations and financial analysis.

“To achieve our business goals, we needed to modernize our data platform so we could build data-driven products and provide valuable insights to both our internal users and customers.”

—Trevor Bass, Director of Data Science and Analytics, Harvard Business Publishing

Building a Future-Proof Foundation

The data team was already in the midst of a major data transformation project, including building out a cloud data warehouse for the first time. They had recently completed a tool evaluation and selected a stack comprised of best-in-breed technologies, including:

Now, they needed to accelerate the data ingestion process and integrate data from dozens of different data sources into Snowflake. Fivetran was a great fit for this effort based on the tool’s large catalog of data connectors, the level of built-in automation, and the ability to scale along with HBP’s data strategy.

With the tools and strategy in place, there was just one missing piece: resources. Although HBP’s data team is highly skilled, they wanted to work with established experts in dbt and Fivetran. The team began searching for a solutions integration partner to help implement a modern data stack effectively and efficiently.

See why hiring a data analytics consulting firm is beneficial

Extending Capacity and Expertise with Data Clymer

Because HBP’s enterprise data team is lean, partners are a core piece of their data strategy. “Having staff augmentation for our scrappy data team is extremely valuable,” explained Trevor Bass, Director of Data Science and Analytics. “We can extend capacity to enable quick adoption of new technologies while simultaneously building internal expertise.”

After a peer recommendation and evaluation, the team chose Data Clymer based on its superior technical competence and awareness of dbt best practices. During discovery and implementation, Data Clymer worked with HBP to discover and validate work streams that would drive impact for the business and provide data quality benchmarks for the immediate and long-term.

“Data Clymer’s dbt expertise was a driving factor, especially the knowledge around leveraging advanced functionality like automation. They had broad experience with solutions that could be force-multipliers and enable our team to be more effective and efficient in developing, owning, and testing code.”

—Maria Herrera, Associate Director of Data Engineering

A Collaborative Approach to Data Development

As an organization where learning is a top priority, HBP was thrilled with Data Clymer’s educational and consultative approach. Data Clymer provided highly collaborative mentoring, training, and guidance to help HBP mature their own data engineering and transformation skills.

Maria Herrera, Associate Director of Data Engineering, said, “The Data Clymer team truly understands the data from a business perspective and presents it in a way that makes sense to our stakeholders. They enable solution ownership over time by putting an emphasis on educating us and letting us drive decisions. Ultimate success includes Data Clymer repeatedly working themselves out of a job.”

Kevin Newman, Lead Data Engineer, added, “It’s a true thought partnership with collaborative and open problem-solving. They explain the pros and cons of each approach so we can understand the ‘why’ and make the right decisions. Communication is a breeze. We find ourselves looking forward to meetings. And best of all, we’re getting results!”

"Data Clymer stands out as a partner because of their professional, collaborative approach and deep technical expertise. All these things together give us confidence in our approach and set us up for success.”

—Maria Herrera, Associate Director of Data Engineering


Together, Data Clymer and the HBP data team have laid a foundation for long-term success. With a modern data stack in place, HBP is another step closer to achieving its vision of data-driven products that make learning irresistible. Here a few key milestones since the partnership began.

Foundation setting

Laid the technical foundation for the company’s data-driven product strategy with a new modern data stack

Data ingestion

Created custom connectors and ingested data sources that provide deep knowledge on digital subscribers and products

Data modeling

Created staging models based on raw data for sources in dbt, including standard data testing and source documentation. The Data Clymer team also established management and modeling of data so HBP's analysts can start to create value.


Identified recommendations for evolving HBP’s architecture, data models, and infrastructure to scale with business needs. Cross-trained HBP data team on dbt best practices, data source connection, and staging models.

Cross-team collaboration

Partnered with various teams to achieve their goals by enabling them to access data and ensuring it is available, secure, and accurate.

“Data Clymer ensures we are doing things ‘right’ and building for the future, both through helping us establish best practices and implementing these best practices hands-on.”

—Trevor Bass, Director of Data Science and Analytics

Looking Ahead

HBP is in the early stages of implementing its new data platform and is rapidly maturing in the data space. The data team is collaborating with Data Clymer to map out a number of initiatives to continue advancing their data-driven business transformation.

Future objectives include:

  • Democratize Analytics: Continue to extend the value of the Snowflake/dbt platform across HBP’s robust and thriving analytics community
  • Operationalize Insights: Develop reports and dashboards that deliver timely results to product teams and analysts
  • Measure Impact: Continuously measure the impact of the data-driven features to inform future decisions
  • Improve Data Governance: Maintain the highest levels of data quality, privacy, and security through documentation, policies, and internal standards

“Data Clymer is a trusted partner for capacity and expertise in dbt best practices and modeling. We now have a clearer path to maturity, thanks to Data Clymer and the modern tools we’ve adopted.”

—Kevin Newman, Lead Data Engineer

Looking for dbt Expertise?

As one of only five dbt Premier Consulting Partners, Data Clymer has achieved the highest level of technical expertise and customer track record. We’ve helped numerous organizations achieve success with dbt, including the Big Ten Conference, Vida Health, Kentik, and more.

If you need assistance from a service provider with deep experience implementing and developing dbt, our data engineers are here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can accelerate your dbt implementation.