Leave a Nest

Leave a Nest's User Base Soars from 600 to 30,000 with Heroku PaaS

Founded by a group of researchers in Japan, Leave a Nest aims to advance science and technology to address global social issues. By bridging the gap between academia, industry, and government, Leave a Nest connects cutting-edge research with practical applications. Their initiatives include educational programs for students, support for young researchers, and development programs for startups. With subsidiaries in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia, Leave a Nest has a broad international footprint, extending its impact beyond Japan.

Leave a Nest’s core mission involves creating a platform where science and technology can flourish, fostering innovation and solving complex problems. Their projects, such as Tech Planter and Science Castle, are designed to nurture and showcase scientific talent and ideas. However, as their reach expanded, the need for a more robust and scalable system to manage increasing data and application submissions became apparent.

Overcoming application management bottlenecks

Leave a Nest faced significant challenges in managing the growing volume of applications for their accelerator programs and research funding. Initially, they used Salesforce’s Experience Cloud, which required participants to upload application information via web forms. The use of Salesforce allowed Leave a Nest to manage their data effectively; however, given their unique needs, the manual import of data created additional steps that became labor-intensive as application numbers grew.

Experience Cloud works well for many applications. However, Leave a Nest's specific usage patterns required a different approach. They needed a data management solution capable of handling spikes in demand. These spikes occurred during specific times, such as application deadlines or program announcements. With this in mind, the developer team wanted a solution that could easily scale and throttle without the burden of infrastructure management.

Additionally, Experience Cloud’s fixed license pricing model was not cost-effective for their growing needs. The creation of custom objects on Experience Cloud, due to their system configuration, resulted in data duplication across multiple services like Tech Planter. This further complicated data management and increased operational inefficiencies.

Leave a Nest initially managed only 600 licenses and could maintain their user load with Experience Cloud. However, as their user base grew, the per-user cost scaling became less sustainable. This challenge was compounded by the fact that only one engineer was available to oversee the transition to a new solution. These challenges led them to explore Heroku as a more scalable and cost-efficient alternative that could better meet their growing needs.

Leveraging Heroku for seamless Salesforce integration and data management

Leave a Nest chose Heroku as a solution primarily for its seamless integration with Salesforce through Heroku Connect, which allowed them to synchronize data between Heroku Postgres and Salesforce Sales Cloud, leveraging their existing back-end assets from Experience Cloud. Their initial implementation focused on migrating their existing application management system to Heroku, benefiting from Heroku’s efficient infrastructure setup and performance tuning capabilities. Heroku’s pipelines feature, including Review Apps and CI (Continuous Integration) Apps, further facilitated this transition by automating application previews with each code update, significantly enhancing the developer experience and enabling Leave a Nest to concentrate on service development without worrying about managing infrastructure.

As Leave a Nest integrated Heroku into their daily operations, the platform became essential to their workflow. The migration from Experience Cloud was smooth, with minimal disruption due to changes being limited to the user object within Salesforce, with Heroku Connect synchronizing the rest. Leave a Nest introduced a unique ID system called "Leave a Nest ID" to manage user data more effectively, streamlining user management across various services. This efficient system proved particularly useful during increased traffic periods, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and spikes in user engagement during major events, by consolidating multiple user registrations into a single ID across Salesforce cloud services. Heroku Connect enriched their platform infrastructure by integrating additional user information into Sales Cloud, which enhanced product development and improved user account verification processes. These improvements not only streamlined data management but also collectively ensured a consistent and enhanced user experience across devices, showcasing the significant business impact development teams of any size can achieve by leveraging Heroku Connect to support their work.

Transforming Data Analysis with pgvector on Heroku Postgres

Several advanced features of Heroku have been particularly transformative for Leave a Nest. The introduction of the pgvector extension on Heroku Postgres has enabled advanced search capabilities, transforming their database into a vector database. This allows the organization to perform vector similarity searches (VSS) and efficiently navigate extensive research ideas from students and professors, significantly enhancing their ability to analyze and cross-reference data.

This functionality supports key initiatives like the Hyper Interdisciplinary Conference, an event that brings together researchers from various fields to foster collaboration and innovation. By leveraging pgvector, Leave a Nest can analyze a wealth of research data, such as ideas from middle and high school students, college students' research funding applications, and professors' projects. This helps identify and link similar themes across diverse research submissions to facilitate interdisciplinary connections and groundbreaking discoveries. Leave a Nest unifies data across Salesforce and external sources using the Heroku Postgres Connector to sync Heroku data to Salesforce Data Cloud, then connecting it to Tableau Pulse for intelligent, personalized, and contextual insights. By integrating AI-powered search capabilities with pgvector, Leave a Nest can provide more accurate and relevant results, improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of their data management.

Additionally, Heroku supports the development and management of various web apps and Slack apps that are critical to Leave a Nest's operations. Their platform, 'Functions from L', includes multiple Slack applications such as Party on Slack, TimeLine, and DeepL Translator, all running on Heroku. Integrating Slack into their workflows, with various alerts being sent from their Heroku-hosted web app to Slack, has supported over 10,000 users and leverages Heroku’s scalability to manage the increasing demand for their services.The TimeLine Slack app visualizes posting activity, and with Tableau Pulse, they can monitor Slack usage and provide support.

Heroku's immediate usability without the need for infrastructure configuration significantly reduces the burden on our system operators. This capability makes Heroku an invaluable asset, allowing our team to focus on core development tasks and accelerate innovation. George Yoshida, Chief Information Officer, Leave a Nest

Achieving scalability and efficiency

Implementing Heroku has significantly optimized Leave a Nest's operations, delivering substantial improvements in scalability, operational efficiency, and data management. These enhancements have enabled Leave a Nest to better achieve their goals and support their developers and growing community of users.

Scalability and user growth

Leave a Nest’s user base increased from 600 licenses to nearly 30,000, showcasing Heroku's capability to handle large-scale applications and user base without compromising performance. This massive growth was facilitated by Heroku's dynamic scalability, including auto-scaling of dynos and the ease of upgrading Heroku Postgres databases, allowing Leave a Nest to be more strategic with their resources and costs, leading to significant cost savings while still expanding their platform capabilities. Additionally, the integration of Heroku to power their Slack applications, utilized by approximately 10,000 users, highlights the platform’s ability to support extensive and active user engagement, further emphasizing Heroku's scalability and reliability.

Developer efficiency

Heroku's integration with Salesforce through Heroku Connect significantly improved operational efficiency at Leave a Nest by reducing manual data management tasks. This allowed the team to focus on more impactful activities. For example, by synchronizing user data between Heroku Postgres and Salesforce Sales Cloud, Leave a Nest eliminated the need for manual data entry and updates. The Heroku Pipeline further streamlined the development process by automating application previews and simplifying code deployment. This feature enabled developers to concentrate on coding rather than administrative tasks, as application previews were automatically generated with each code update managed on GitHub. As a result, Leave a Nest experienced a notable increase in sales and profits—3.6 times and 4.2 times respectively—compared to a 1.4 times increase in headcount. This dramatic improvement highlights the impact of efficient data management and automated workflows on overall business performance.

Data unification and enhanced search capabilities

By integrating their unique "Leave a Nest ID" system with Salesforce through Heroku Connect, Leave a Nest streamlined user data management and reduced redundancy. Heroku Connect enriched the developer experience by integrating additional user information into Sales Cloud, leading to better account management and a consistent user experience across multiple devices. By changing their existing database into a vector database that provides vector similarity searches using the pgvector extension on Heroku Postgres, Leave a Nest can now easily find similar research projects by entering keywords such as "renewable energy sources" to facilitate interdisciplinary connections. Additionally, previously they had limited options for handling stream data like access logs from Heroku. With Data Cloud, they can now efficiently process large data volumes within the Salesforce ecosystem.These comprehensive data management capabilities ensure information is easily accessible and usable by all employees, regardless of technical expertise. This accessibility has dramatically improved the efficiency of providing information to customers and increased the amount of work that can be processed, maintaining an efficient and effective platform that supports their innovative projects and daily operations.

Heroku's robust and scalable platform has empowered Leave a Nest to overcome significant challenges, streamline their operations, and continue to innovate in the field of science and technology education and research. Additionally, Heroku's dynamic scalability provided a cost-efficient solution, enabling us to support an approximately 4900% increase in users without compromising performance. This allowed us to strategically manage resources and reduce costs, benefiting our developers by freeing up time to focus on innovation and service enhancement. George Yoshida, Chief Information Officer, Leave a Nest

What's next for Leave a Nest?

Leave a Nest aims to continue scaling its educational and research support services globally by leveraging the Heroku platform. They plan to strengthen their international presence in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia, fostering a larger network of collaborators and stakeholders. This strategic expansion will drive significant advancements in science and technology, aligning with their mission of solving social issues through innovative solutions. Additionally, they plan to use generative AI with the Einstein 1 Platform to process their aggregated data via the Heroku Postgres Connector for Salesforce Data Cloud. Learn more about Leave a Nest by visiting their website.

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