Sisense is a popular business intelligence platform that is known for being user-friendly and allowing non-technical users to work with it to analyze large data sets. It is an all-in-one tool that doesn’t require additional purchases as users scale up, offering on-premise or cloud-based options, drag and drop dashboards, and seamless transfer from desktop to mobile platforms.
One defining feature of Sisense is its ability to work well with large data sets. Sisense uses a columnar approach rather than rows; this allows the user to pull large queries using the CPU as well as system memory to provide extra speed. Their patented in-chip technology and ElastiCube model allows for a high-performance database with speedy data stores. This is an advantage for users who need to work with large data sets but don’t want to spend the money on expensive hardware. However, that complex architecture can become a problem for users who are looking for a quick setup; many run into problems configuring ElastiCube and setting up the in-cache technology.
Additionally, the money saved on hardware on the user’s end may well end up being spent on the software itself, as a downside of Sisense is its price tag.
Founded in 2004, Sisense is largely venture capital (VC) backed and has gone through six funding rounds to date, raising almost $275 million as of early 2020. In fact, its latest investment gave the startup unicorn status, meaning it has a valuation of more than $1 billion.
While it is a private company and its subscription pricing is not widely available, it is reportedly an expensive option.
Many companies, particularly small to midsize businesses (SMBs), don’t have the requirements for Sisense’s super-fast processing and can’t justify that type of investment. However, that may not prevent an aggressive sales pitch from Sisense, which we’ve also heard about from some prospects, along with those who were trying to get out of multiyear contracts after being promised features that didn’t exist. It’s not uncommon in the VC world, where a lot of money has been raised with promises made that salespeople are under pressure to meet.
With all that said, Sisense may make a lot of sense for certain users – larger enterprises or businesses with huge amounts of data to process. But be sure you’re fully aware of what your needs are, as there are a lot of alternatives out there. Let’s look at a few.
Microsoft’s data visualization tool includes a suite of tools for working with data. The software, priced at $9.99 per month, seems reasonable, but at a per-user cost, users may find they are paying $2,000 a month for a team of 200, so it is advisable to calculate the cost ratio upfront. Power BI integrates with several other types of software and offers access to both on-site and cloud-based data. Although it is often called “Excel on steroids,” there are several differences, and the programming language required (DAX) may make it too complicated for the average user.
Yellowfin has several data visualization tools that allow users to work with company data, including more than 50 different interactive charts and infographics that can be internally or externally without having to code or run through complicated systems. You can embed and share all the charts as well. Yellowfin offers location intelligence, allowing users to merge spatial and traditional data to find opportunities in their markets. The company offers a 30-day free trial.
Qlikview is a guided analytics solution that should not be confused with Qlik Sense, also from Qlik. QlikView is the company’s first-generation BI tool and was notable for moving away from large, stack-driven technologies. QlikView is powered by a patented Associative Engine, which allows QlikView to compress data and hold it in memory, making it available for immediate use, generating new data views on the fly. QlikView does not offer augmented intelligence, self-service analytics, or an offline mobile option, which are features available in many other alternative BI tools.
The primary advantage of Domo is its focus on social collaboration. Many of its integrations, like Google Analytics or Shopify, come pre-installed, so you don’t need to purchase any add-ons. Because of this focus on collaboration, you can get real-time data in an easy to use dashboard. It also has a fully functional and easy to use app that allows you to view charts from anywhere and send messages throughout the company. Something to look out for with Domo, however, is security. Because everything eventually gets into their cloud, integrating on-premise data triggers steep implementation costs, security concerns, and storage fees. Plus, the role and data-level security can cost extra, as the software operates on a tiered pricing system.
GoodData is a business intelligence platform as a service (PaaS) – a hosted platform designed specifically for the cloud, is technology agnostic, and can connect to any data source. It allows users to create custom data models and analytics, as well as Much like Sisense, GoodData has received several rounds of venture capital funding since its founding in 2007, which may lead to some of the same issues with cost and service.
We promised a +1 to this Sisense alternative list, but we’re going to overachieve and give you a +2. You may have already guessed it, it’s our BI tools, but you may not be very familiar with them, DashboardFox and Yurbi.
Unlike the other tools listed in this article, we’re a small bootstrapped company, and while our technology is on par with Sisense and the others, our price is a fraction of the cost.
To be as transparent as possible, we’re in no way claiming that we can match the speed and in-chip performance that Sisense has on big data. If you are a company needing that, the cost of Sisense may very well be worth it. But if you are a small to mid-size business, or a department in a large organization looking for robust, self-service dashboards and reports, you should check us out.
If you are looking for an internal-use BI tool, DashboardFox is the Sisense alternative to check out. We allow customers to purchase up to 15 concurrent users and instead of a monthly or annual subscription, the cost is only a one-time fee of $15,000. That is less than the cost of one year of Sisense for a lot fewer users (from what we’ve heard, they do not make pricing available on their website).
If you are looking for more than 15 concurrent users (we call you an enterprise account) or you are looking to embed dashboards and reports into your existing customer-facing application, our sister product, Yurbi, is the best option. Yurbi includes more enterprise features such as FastCache and provides an unlimited number of users for a single SaaS application for $24,000 per year. We also have special pricing for small businesses and startups and special options for enterprises with multiple data sources they need to integrate.
Here are a few reasons we think DashboardFox or Yurbi is perfect for Sisense environments:
Simple Architecture. We talked about the complexity of configuring the Elasti-cube and keeping it running smoothly. We built DashboardFox from the ground up to be easy to manage. Bigger BI tools are not so fortunate, they have acquired other tools and the integration has caused a hodge-podge of technology that adds to the administrative complexity.
With DashboardFox, everything runs on 1 server with 1 application service to monitor. And upgrades to the latest version take about 15 seconds. DashboardFox keeps things simple not just for the end-users, but also for the admin team.
Affordable on Scale. From all the sources that we have heard from, Sisense costs most, the more users you have. Or if you want to deploy it on-premise, we’ve heard the minimum is $300,000 a year.
DashboardFox is a one-time cost, not an annual subscription like many of the Sisense alternatives we mentioned above. Plus DashboardFox offers a concurrent user license, you can serve a lot of people for an affordable price.
Personal Touch Support. With Sisense you’re like a piece of sand in the ocean. Have a wish list of features, don’t expect them to be implemented anytime soon. Need support, depending on the level you pay for you’ll start at Tier 1 before a painful rise up to someone who can solve your issue. What if the issue isn’t product-related, call the consulting squad and pay expensive services fees.
DashboardFox is a small, bootstrapped company, and regardless of how big or small you are, you’re a big fish in our pond.
Our support team is like having a virtual member of your team and you’re most likely working directly with one of our developers who can solve an issue instantly. Need a feature? You drive our roadmap and we tend to put what you need at the top of our list and deliver it in 2-3 months’ timeframe.
We told you we were transparent, we told you the good above, here’s the bad and why in some cases we are not a fit as a replacement of Sisense.
Cloud/API Driven Reporting. DashboardFox is amazing when you connect it to a relational database. If your data is stored in Microsoft SQL, Oracle, Postgres, MySQL, or any other relational database, we shine. You can easily import data in Excel or CSV files as well. But if you are primarily reporting against cloud APIs from social media sites, Google Analytics, Salesforce, Quickbooks, etc, then Sisense is probably a good choice.
We could twist your arm and discuss how you’re better off pulling all that data into a local database for reporting, but if you’re happy with the way Sisense is doing it, we’re probably not going to improve things.
You have a ton of data. Not just a lot, a lot of data we can handle. But if you have a tremendous amount of data that needs crunching, Sisense has the technology to handle that. If you’re debating the difference between a lot and a tremendous amount, I would suggest doing a trial. It may make sense to try Yurbi and its FastCache technology, but our team is happy to understand your requirements and make the best recommendations.