The best BI platform for democratized data
May 29, 2020
The best BI platform for democratized data
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Sigma Computing
Sigma is used throughout Teachable, from executives to engineers to Finance to Customer Operations. Its ease of use has allowed us to democratize data so that it is equally valuable to people in a wide variety of roles. It is used by Product Managers to build dashboards providing insight for Engineering Teams to see how the products they build are affecting our users. It is used by Fraud Analysts to examine transactions and look for bad actors on our platform. It is used by Marketing to filter tables of attribution data to see how specific campaigns are performing. It is used by the QA team to monitor builds and watch for problems in our test suite. In short, business users in every department at Teachable are using Sigma on a daily basis to derive the analyses they need to make decisions.
- Sigma is highly focused on ease of use. At Teachable, users find its interface far more intuitive and user friendly than the BI platform we were using before.
- The spreadsheet-style interface and formulas are an easy transition for business users who are not used to working with complex BI platforms.
- The ability for business users to open any data source that we have granted them permission to access, and to join tables on their own (building their own data models) is incredibly powerful and a huge plus—the Data Team does not need to be a roadblock, as no one has to wait to get access to data sources they need.
- When we have run up against bugs or shortcomings in the product, the Sigma Team has been extremely responsive. We have seen many improvements already. In less than a year on the platform, and they are clearly iterating on the product at a rapid pace.
- Many of our users access the SQL Runner and would like to be able to share queries with other users. Sigma does not yet have a feature allowing users to save and share raw queries.
- The visualizations, while quite adequate, definitely lag behind some of the more established BI platforms on the market.
- Sigma has allowed business users to vastly increase their access to data, driving much more data-driven decision-making.
- Sigma has freed up the data team from routine data-gathering, allowing the team to focus on building higher-level tools and products that unlock value for the company.
I regularly hear from business users that they love Sigma. With less than an hour of training, new users are able to start building reports and extracting insights from our data warehouse. As the head of the data team, my goal is to give users across the company tools that they can use to serve themselves whatever data they need. Sigma's user-friendliness is unparalleled among the many BI platforms I have used in my career.
Whenever we have encountered a bug or a feature that needs improvement, I have had no trouble getting it surfaced to a product manager at Sigma. They have often gotten on the phone to walk through the issue and make sure they have a clear understanding of what we are experiencing. And they don't wait for problems to talk to us—their product team regularly reaches out to customers to get feedback and guidance around what we want from the product.
Not having to know SQL in order to use a BI product would be a basic requirement, in my opinion—if you have to know SQL, the product is not worthwhile. Most of our users do not know SQL. They do seem to feel comfortable with the spreadsheet-like interface.
Collaborating and sharing worksheets, both within teams and across teams, is a common use case at Teachable. When we first started using Sigma, the sharing features were a little shaky, but the team at Sigma has made some significant improvements, and users are now easily able to share worksheets with individuals and teams.
Probably the best thing about Sigma, from my perspective, is that all I have to do is grant permission on a data source (schema or table). If I grant a team access to a schema, they can go ahead and launch a worksheet from any table in the schema without any further intervention from the Data Team. They can join any tables in the data warehouse, on their own, through a simple interface; we typically have to teach a new user how to do this only once and they are good to go. This has been a game-changer for us; the Data Team is no longer spending half its time on simple data pulls, and business users throughout the company are no longer blocked from data access by having to go through the Data Team to get it. This is what real democratization of data looks like, and it has had a very positive impact on the company. The data team can spend its time focusing on building out better data sources, and building useful products on top of them, instead of spending its time retrieving data. Users can get what they need when they need instead of having to wait until we have time to pull it for them.
Sigma is great for organizations that want to give their business users access to generate their own insights from the data warehouse without having to go through Engineering or the Data Team. The product is a great fit if you already have usable data and you want to derive insights into a straightforward interface. It would be less appropriate for organizations that want a data cleaning or data transformation layer integrated with their BI platform, or for cases where very complex, advanced visualizations are needed.