Why our customers say they chose Looker over Sisense

A trusted data model is the cornerstone of the Looker data platform, which is centrally-defined, version-controlled, and collaborative. Customers tell us that Looker’s flexible yet powerful foundation is their key to delivering actionable insights to internal and external customers.

Looker automatically generates a data model based on the relationships between tables in the schema and presents users with an agile and collaborative way to expand and refine the central model in parallel in a version-controlled environment. This function ensures that the data model can be instantly updated as requirements evolve, so data consumers of all skill levels can get their business questions answered quickly and accurately.

On the contrary, Sisense lacks most of the benefits inherent with Looker as their platform relies on the creation and maintenance of disconnected and fragmented in-memory data models called ElastiCubes, which are cumbersome and require significant technical expertise.

ElastiCubes need to be built by developers before running any query — something their past customers tell us is an extremely tedious process. As the data models expand, it is hard to manage the build times of the large cubes, which can take several hours, delaying the development process and making it hard to scale. Also, it is cumbersome to make modifications if the database or logic changes, forcing the developer to go back to modify the ElastiCube.

Looker customers who compared our solution against Sisense most frequently cite the following differences and advantages of the Looker Platform:

Flexible version-controlled data model

Optimized for in-database analysis

Platform for data monetization

Enterprise-class modern architecture

Self-service for better business decisions

Chat support with Looker experts

Flexible version-controlled data model

The Looker platform is uniquely designed to allow anyone on the data team to update data definitions and relationships in the metadata layer easily and work together to maintain a centralized and well-governed data experience effectively. Business definition changes only need to be made once in the data model, and the changes will propagate automatically to all dependent objects. This simplified process makes managing and maintaining the data model easier.

Unlike Looker, Sisense requires users to build ElastiCubes, Sisense’s proprietary data stores. Building ElastiCubes requires a lot of technical expertise, and a small mistake can cause errors in getting ElastiCubes to load. Maintaining ElastiCubes is painfully time-consuming as only one developer can make changes at a time, and there is no version control for tracking changes to the cubes or any ability to revert them. These fragmented sets of rigid ElastiCubes often result in a landscape with significant data duplication — and a maintenance nightmare.

Data is always changing, and so are business requirements. Instead of involving IT to make modeling changes to the physical data model, business analysts already familiar with SQL can contribute to Looker’s git version-controlled data model and define or maintain business rules for their organization. Each data analyst gets their own development environment to try out new analyses without affecting everyone else so that every change to your data model can be audited, examined, and rolled back, if necessary.

Optimized for in-database analysis

Looker provides a real-time data and analytics platform, powered by a modern in-database architecture that gives organizations unconstrained access to all data while leveraging the unique data-processing capabilities of the underlying database. Unlike Sisense, where users are dependent on pre-built dashboards that cannot answer their questions in real-time, Looker connects directly to any SQL compliant database for a real-time view of the business.

Sisense requires users to move data into its proprietary ElastiCubes for storage and analysis. If organizations don’t have a data warehouse, they need to ship the data to Sisense’s engine and rebuild it there, which is slow, clunky, and double the work. ElastiCubes struggle to handle large volumes of data, which means that customers experience severe degradation of performance as data grows, leading to scalability issues and limited flexibility. Sisense then requires customers to purchase more servers to get decent performance with a larger deployment.

Looker provides fresh data, unlike Sisense that forces users to work in their Elasticubes. Direct connectivity to any SQL database ensures no more stale data residing in Elasticubes waiting to be updated, and no need for inflexible physical schemas or in-memory cubes. And perhaps most importantly, no need to wait for IT to make modeling changes. Looker follows a more agile approach by leaving the data in the database so users can ask more questions without having to rely on IT teams to build additional cubes.

With Looker, users are empowered to drill into their reports down to the row-level, create new queries, and explore the entire business in real-time, without running after data teams and waiting for the ETL process to finish.

Platform for data monetization

With Powered by Looker, organizations can embed world-class analytics directly into their existing applications, as well as build innovative data products to take to market and generate new revenue streams. Looker delivers a rich development framework that lets developers build data experiences using pre-built components that ensure these custom experiences fit in any application naturally.

Looker is the first modern analytics platform that lets developers use the modern GIT software development workflows and tools they love. Looker’s secret sauce is a code-based modeling language that allows you to:

  • Collaborate better on the same project
  • Ship quality code reliably
  • Ensure continuity

Looker also lets you quickly grow and improve your product over time by scaling up with predictable performance and pricing. As you grow your customer base, you can maintain your model in one place and have changes update everywhere automatically. And you can rapidly and cheaply add new use cases, personas, user types, and customer types by taking advantage of the security and user provisioning already in place.

For more information on how Looker differentiates itself from others for Embedded Analytics, read the whitepaper on The Looker Platform vs. Alternatives.

Enterprise-class modern architecture

Looker is 100% web-based and designed specifically for new-age data engines using modern technology. Looker supports today’s ever-evolving data ecosystem, so organizations can build their own data stack confidently, knowing that they have the flexibility to make modifications easily as the business needs change.

On the contrary, Sisense is a ‘heavy’ application that carries a high infrastructure cost and requires a certain amount of memory and space resources for the application to function fully. Organizations will often run into exorbitant hidden costs as they have to purchase new servers to scale with their growing users and data.

With Looker’s unique architecture, organizations can also take advantage of public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments and the features and benefits each provides. Looker’s multi-cloud capability makes your data strategy future-proof. You can easily change where you choose to deploy Looker and which underlying cloud database(s) you use with no downstream impact to your end users.

Self-service for better business decisions

Looker’s powerful explore section gives users of all levels a drag-and-drop experience so they can go beyond pre-made dashboards and reports to ask their unique questions. This flexible interface allows users the opportunity to iterate on questions in real-time and better understand their piece of the business.

Sisense architecture can cause a data bottleneck, where most users cannot create or explore content and are limited to predefined dashboards and cubes. Typically only one internal “Admin" builds ElastiCubes, and one internal “Designer" creates dashboards based off the cubes. To ask a totally new question requires an admin to write a manual SQL query to build a new ElastiCube, and a designer to then build a dashboard for viewers.

Most BI tools can create beautiful visualizations that roll into impressive dashboards. Looker’s dashboards are live, interactive, and dynamic, so you can go beyond the surface and dive into the underlying data. Looker sits on fresh, governed data, giving you access to row-level detail so you can drill through charts to gain a deeper understanding of your business.

Chat support with Looker experts

Looker prioritizes customer feedback and relationships above all else. Instead of placing customers in a technical support queue where they're forced to wait days for a response (like Sisense and other competitors do), we connect customers with a person who cares about solving their issue.

Looker’s support team earned the title of Department of Customer Love because of their outstanding service. The DCL elevates Looker beyond the competition and beyond Sisense.

Customers consistently rate Looker support as one of the most appreciated features of our product.

Looker customers can have an in-product, live chat with a DCL support engineer any time they need help with a particular feature, or have a question about the product — without leaving the platform.

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