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How to Automate Partner Onboarding



The Challenge

Onboarding partners can be one of the largest bottlenecks for large platforms that are constantly adding new partners. Retail platforms that are growing rapidly, such as Instacart are a prime example of a case in which being able to speed up onboarding minimizes time-to-market while prioritizing non-standard partner integrations for the data engineering team.

With rapid growth comes increased resource requirements which can cause extended timelines, delays, and increase resource cost, limiting potential growth opportunities. By implementing automation, more onboarding can be done faster with less work.

The Solution

Onboarding partners and integrating data solutions does not need to cause complications; automated data engineering is becoming more accessible and can remove the main burden of onboarding partners through data engineering teams. Nexla’s unified data solution features automated data engineering through data as a product and any-to-any connectors that connect to almost any data source and deliver to those who need it in the format they use most, letting data engineers focus where they need to.

Connecting systems is easy with data product automation facilitating any-to-any connections. Nexla autogenerates connectors that move data seamlessly and safely, building pipelines and fulfilling delivery without the need for intensive hand-coding. Custom and shareable transforms make it simple for data engineers to deploy templates across sources, and sharing sources and credentials between teams is as simple as a few clicks.

Automating the onboarding process has, in a real-life use case, has cut the amount of data engineering by up to five times. Automating the repetitive pipeline building and connector setup frees up data engineers to focus on non-standard partners or value-adding projects. With additional monitoring capabilities as well, data engineers are given more control and oversight with less time invested.

With more partners and users comes more potential security breaches. Governance is an essential part of bringing new partners onboard and integrating unique or non-standard systems into existing systems can lead to gaps that must be addressed by data engineers. Nexla’s unified data solution implements governance and security measures across data, monitoring security at every point in the process and providing oversight throughout pipelines and across partners to ensure the most secure data.

Real Life Example

Instacart integrates retailer APIs, FTP servers, data storage and analysis as well as lists, sources, and data of various formats and velocities, all of which power its platform. Adding a new retailer involves adapting the new partner’s data into a format that can be integrated into the existing systems. Although these data sources may come in various forms and formats, they must all be usable by the overall Instacart data solution.

This process can naturally take time, with data engineers coding pipelines and creating templates and transforms to integrate data. Automated data engineering can take that over and link sources to destinations without necessitating a hand-coded connector. This creates bandwidth for data engineering teams to focus on partners with special requirements.

When onboarding becomes automated, the time to market is reduced significantly and overall timelines speed up. With this approach, the time required to onboard partners with unique requirements was cut by up to two months. “For partners with unique or unusual requirements, Nexla has helped reduce our launch time by one to two months,” said Elliot Schmukler, Vice President of Product at Instacart.

For more details, check out the full case study here.


Growth is a constant across enterprises and industries, and bringing in partners is a primary growth tactic for many. The load of onboarding partners should not outweigh the benefits of doing so, nor should it require an expanded data engineering team or additional resources. Making more use of existing resources by automating the process has saved Instacart time, money, and effort; what can it save you?

Onboarding should not be a bottleneck. If you want to get to market quicker,  get a demo or book your free unified data solution strategy session today. For more on data and data solutions, check out the other articles on Nexla’s blog.


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