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The Unseen Mastery of Data Engineering: Unraveling the Significance of Glue Work

Elevating the Value of Data Engineering Mastery

As a Data Manager at Adevinta, I lead a team within our corporate scope, encompassing marketplaces such as Fotocasa,, Milanuncios, and Infojobs. Our mission is to drive analytical autonomy and accelerate decision-making in key areas such as Sales, Finance and Service Operations. We recognise the importance of a multidisciplinary data team to achieve these goals. Today, we will focus on a crucial profile within the Adevinta team and their fundamental role in our success: Data Engineers.

In the intricate landscape of Data Engineering at Adevinta, these unsung heroes execute what we call ‘Glue Work,’ silently weaving the threads that bind our data-driven world together. In this fascinating realm, where data flows like invisible currents shaping decision-making, there exists an often overlooked skill: Glue Work. This artistry goes beyond lines of code and technical processes; it’s about the subtlety with which Data Engineers weave crucial connections for the harmonious functioning of projects and organisations. Let’s dissect how these seemingly mundane tasks directly align with critical business needs.

What does glue work represent and how does it translate to business improvement?


Glue Work represents the Data Engineers’ ability to strengthen the data infrastructure and ensure that the needs of Finance, Sales and Service Operations in Adevinta are effectively met. In these critical objectives, it is essential to prioritise and communicate the value of each task performed by Data Engineers, conveying their significance to business teams in their own language to ensure effective collaboration and attainment of business goals.

Process Optimisation for Agile Decision-Making

This approach aims to streamline decision-making within an organisation by ensuring that data is readily available, accurate and processed efficiently. For example, we have a challenge within our markets at Adevinta: the company aims to reduce the time needed to analyse customer behavioural data and launch adaptive phone campaigns that keep pace with change.

Business Objective: Our goal is to achieve faster response to market trends to optimise campaigns and improve spending efficiency in our markets.

Glue work: With data pipeline optimisation, Data Engineers review and improve the pipelines that collect and process user behaviour data in our marketplaces.

The result is a well-optimised data infrastructure, enabling faster and more efficient collection and processing of information for telephone campaigns.

The business benefit is greater agility. With real-time data analysis, we can make agile adjustments to telephone campaign strategies in our markets. Quick campaign adaptations help us avoid unnecessary expenses and maximise return on investment at Adevinta.

In conclusion, The Glue Work of Data Engineers in process optimisation results in a significant improvement in our ability to make agile decisions, which directly contributes to operational and strategic success in our markets.


Quality Assurance for Precision in Decision-Making

Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of data used in decision-making is crucial, especially in the dynamic landscape of B2B markets (for example our marketplaces, like Fotocasa, work with Real Estate Agencies to post their ads on our platform) which is the corporate area where I work.

  • Glue Work: Data Engineers meticulously focus on data cleanliness and validation, ensuring integrity within our B2B marketplace. For example, they rigorously verify supplier information and validate transactional data to maintain accuracy and reliability. This dedication not only prevents inaccuracies but also strengthens decision-making processes, highlighting its pivotal role in maintaining precision.
  • Business Need: In a world where decisions are only as good as the data that supports them, ensuring accuracy is paramount to strategic decision-making in our B2B marketplace. For example, making sure pricing information and product details are accurate is essential to building trust with our business partners and making informed decisions that drive growth and success.

Innovation in Transformation Opens New Horizons

This embodies the art of converting raw, disparate data into meaningful insights that drive strategic advancements. This concept is particularly relevant within the corporate finance and sales area of our marketplace.

  • Glue Work: Data Engineers play a crucial role in transforming our market’s raw, meaningless data into meaningful, actionable insights. For example, they combine financial transaction data with customer behaviour data to identify patterns and trends, enabling strategic decision-making in corporate finance. This creative process is essential to generate innovation and drive advances within our operations.
  • Business Need: These innovative transformations unlock the potential to discover new market trends and identify patterns specific to our market. For example, by analysing customer purchasing behaviours and financial or sales performance metrics, we can gain valuable insights that inform product or service development strategies. Ultimately this improves our competitiveness and drives growth in our sector i.e. Real Estate, Motor, Miscellaneous or Jobs.

Automation: Unleashing Time for Strategic Endeavors

By freeing up time and boosting efficiency, automation enables a strategic focus on initiatives that drive overall business growth,innovation and transformation. In our contact centre department, automation is vital in optimising operational efficiency.

  • Glue Work: Data Engineers implement automation to eliminate repetitive tasks, allowing for a more strategic allocation of time to enhance operational efficiency.
  • Business Need: Beyond operational efficiency, automation frees up intellectual bandwidth, enabling the team to focus on strategic initiatives that drive business growth.

Transparent Collaboration for Informed Decisions

This task emphasises the significance of open and efficient collaboration. Leveraging collaborative tools enhances alignment between teams, deepens comprehension of business requirements and expedites the flow of critical information for informed decision-making.

  • Glue Work: Data Engineers play a crucial role in transparent collaboration by utilising collaboration tools for seamless communication and knowledge sharing. These tools not only bridge gaps between different teams but also serve as a glue that binds diverse expertise together. Example tools include Git, Jupyter Notebooks Or Slack.
  • Business Need: Transparent collaboration enhances cross-functional alignment, deepens comprehension of business requirements and expedites the flow of information critical for informed decision-making. For instance, by using collaborative tools effectively, our business teams can quickly share insights, discuss strategies and align on priorities.

Adaptability and Scalability for Sustaining Competitiveness

Creating adaptable and scalable systems sustains competitiveness. Our Data Engineers design solutions that can flexibly respond to changing demands, ensuring business agility and growth. For example, in our Sales team, adaptability and scalability are essential for maintaining a competitive edge in a dynamic market.

  • Glue Work: Data Engineers play a crucial role in designing systems that are adaptable to change and scalable to handle evolving data needs. For example, they develop customer relationship management (CRM) systems that can seamlessly integrate new data sources and functionalities as the business expands or market conditions shift. This requires strategic foresight to align technological solutions with the ever-changing landscape of sales needs, ensuring that the systems engineered today remain relevant and effective in the face of tomorrow’s uncertainties.
  • Business Need: The ability to adapt and scale ensures Adevinta remains competitive in a dynamic market, capable of navigating challenges with agility. Companies that can swiftly respond to changing circumstances, emerging trends and evolving customer demands are better positioned to maintain a competitive edge. The ability to adapt and scale is not just a technical requirement but a strategic imperative that empowers the organisation to navigate challenges with agility and seize opportunities for sustained success.

How can organisations effectively measure and communicate the economic impact of the invaluable “glue work” performed by Data Engineers?

Quantifying the “glue work” of Data Engineers in monetary terms involves assessing:

  • Cost savings
  • Impact on decision-making
  • Revenue generation through innovation
  • Efficiency and savings from automation
  • Competitive advantages through adaptability
  • Mitigation of risks and costs associated with data integrity.

While assigning precise values can be challenging, considering these aspects provides a more comprehensive view of the economic value of glue work.

To sum up

In the vast landscape of Data Engineering, the Glue Work carried out by Data Engineers at Adevinta is far from a silent force; it’s the epic saga that propels the success of data-centric initiatives. It’s the collective resonance of these seemingly mundane yet intricately connected tasks that form the heartbeat of the broader organisational strategy — a symphony where every note is carefully composed, every pause pregnant with significance. Here’s to celebrating the unsung maestros behind the scenes at Adevinta, where every bit of glue isn’t just an adhesive; it’s the elixir that fortifies the foundation of our Data Engineering endeavours across our diverse marketplaces!

“This article is dedicated to my exceptional team, whom I deeply admire and who teach me valuable lessons every day.”

Laura Marqués, Head of corporate Data & Analytics in Adevinta Spain

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