Case Study: How LILLYDOO saves IT resources with TogetherDB
LILLYDOO is a fast-growing European e-commerce tech startup for subscribable hygiene products from Frankfurt, Germany. If you have a newborn or toddler, consider LILLYDOO for their flexible subscriptions of plastic-neutral diapers, delivered to your home free of shipping costs and manageable in an easy-to-use app.
Operation and challenges
LILLYDOO is a modern, tech-first company that uses a customized shop system with an internal MySQL database. The shop system offers dashboards, and allows customer and product management for customer support and product teams.
Like in many companies the internal admin interface cannot cover all needs, so some employees must access the database directly:
- The developers check values or debug issues on the production database.
- Management runs SQL queries to generate reports.
- Product managers inspect the raw order or customer data to answer customer care requests.
- Different business disciplines examine specific tables and data to perform various checks.
Until recently, everyone used Sequel Pro, HeidiSQL or MySQL Workbench to access the production databases. This brought two challenges:
The IT team had to either give users permanent access, or create and revoke custom database access details every time someone wanted to look into the database. This cost time in the foregoing email chains for coordination as well as in providing/retracting the actual access, which hindered employees from doing their job. Having an overview of all given accesses is difficult, and dangling accesses were not uncommon. An unsolved problem was restricting the users’ permissions to their specific needs. While database grants are manageable to distinguish between read-only access and read-write access, it is difficult and time-consuming to define granular access down to a table and column level.
While the developers could easily work with the technical tool, it proved a challenge for the management and product owners who are used to more user-friendly software. The result were frequent frustrations and time wasted by requesting help from the IT team or colleagues.
Adoption of TogetherDB
TogetherDB is web-based, so no installation is necessary. LILLYDOO’s head of development, Alexander, signed up for the 30-day free trial and created the company account. The database manager created new access details for TogetherDB (see how to set up MySQL) with which they created a new connection in the TogetherDB dashboard — initial setup done!
Alex then set up the company. He created three groups: “Developers,“ “Product Owners“ and “Management“. Using only their email address, he added all team members that may need database access to the company and then to their respective group. This action sends out an invitation email to join; simply adding users to the company doesn’t yet give them access.
As the last step Alexander set up the database’s sharing configurations. The developers got read-write access to all tables and the product owners and management got read-access with some of the customer table’s columns hidden for privacy reasons. Additionally, management is allowed to execute SELECT SQL queries, and the developers are allowed SELECT, INSERT and UPDATE queries.
“This super simple central database access management is a blessing for our IT team and saves its valuable resources.“ — Alexander Kohout, Head of Development at LILLYDOO
LILLYDOO’s biggest gain from adopting TogetherDB are the time savings for their IT department. Any request or the event of a colleague joining or leaving a team is now handled with just a few no-hassle clicks. Additionally they enjoy enhanced control as they now have a full log on which entries in the database any team member has changed. Furthermore, for their yearly audit they need an overview of who in the company can access which databases with which permissions. Before, this information was nearly impossible to gather; now they can navigate to the company settings and check each members’ accesses with ease.