Sigma Computing: Is It The Next Big Analytics Platform?

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Hey there! As a fellow data geek, I wanted to share my in-depth take on an exciting new cloud analytics platform called Sigma Computing. In this detailed review, we‘ll take a comprehensive look at what makes Sigma unique, who it‘s best suited for, and how it compares to alternatives. My goal is to provide you with the insights you need to determine if Sigma is the right fit for your analytics needs. Shall we dive in?

An Overview of Sigma Computing

Simply put, Sigma Computing aims to make powerful data analytics accessible to more people by eliminating the technical barriers of traditional business intelligence platforms.

It connects directly to cloud data sources, then allows you to explore and analyze that data through a familiar, Excel-style worksheet interface. The benefits over old-school BI tools include:

  • No coding required – Sigma is completely no-code. Just point and click to analyze data.

  • Cloud-native operation – Sigma is optimized specifically for cloud data warehouses like Snowflake, Google BigQuery, and Amazon Redshift.

  • Self-service access – Regular business users get autonomy through the easy interface instead of relying on IT/data teams.

  • Fast time-to-insight – Sigma delivers insights quickly rather than getting bogged down in implementation and complex analytics builds.

  • Flexible pricing – Pay only for what you use and scale seamlessly in the cloud.

According to Sigma‘s own 2022 survey, 94% of analytics decision makers say accelerating time-to-insight is critical. Sigma delivers on this in a way legacy platforms can‘t match. The spreadsheet UI also facilitates collaboration across teams for a very inclusive approach to analytics.

Sigma‘s Key Capabilities and Features

Under the hood, Sigma provides an impressive set of analytical capabilities through its cloud-native architecture. Let‘s look at some of the features powering its spreadsheet interface:

  • Live data connections – Link datasets from data warehouses like Snowflake, BigQuery, and Redshift to access up-to-date enterprise data.

  • SQL and Python support – Write queries and scripts for advanced analysis while still working visually.

  • Interactive dashboards – Drag-and-drop charts, pivots, filters and more to build visualizations.

  • Natural languagequeries – Sigma‘s NLG interface allows conversational questions about your data.

  • Sharing and collaborating – Sigma enables easy collaboration with shared live workbooks.

  • Data prep and ETL – Clean, transform, and enrich data without leaving your worksheet.

  • Governance and security – Built-in data access controls, permissions, and top compliance standards.

  • Monitoring and alerts – Get notified of data changes/thresholds for real-time analytics.

  • External data connections – Bring in external datasets from sources like Salesforce to expand analysis.

That‘s just a sample of Sigma‘s extensive analytics feature set. And it‘s all accessible through interactive worksheets and dashboards optimized for understanding data quickly.

According to Sigma‘s own benchmarks, its platform provides 8-12x faster time-to-insight compared to traditional BI platforms – a major competitive advantage. The ability to collaborate in live worksheets also accelerates analysis.

Use Cases Where Sigma Excels

Sigma is flexible enough to support a diverse range of analytics use cases. But based on my experience, it really shines for:

Ad hoc analysis – Sigma speeds up one-off analyses that would typically get bogged down in long development and requirements with traditional BI.

Business user analytics – Enabling access and autonomy for business teams to work with data drives better, faster insights.

Data-driven decision making – Quick insights help decision makers take timely, calculated actions based on data.

Democratizing data – Sigma removes barriers to make data and analytics more inclusive across the business.

Agile analytics – Sigma fits analytics workflows that are constantly shifting rather than fixed reporting.

Collaborative analytics – Sigma optimizes for collaboration – a key advantage over siloed BI platforms.

Customer analytics – Intuitive analysis of customer data to improve CX and marketing.

Market analytics – Flexible analysis of competitive data, market trends, economic indicators, and more.

The most successful Sigma customers typically have very ad hoc, fluid analytics needs across business teams. The combination of speed, collaboration, and simplicity accelerates their insights and value from data.

How Sigma Compares to Leading Alternatives

Sigma is still relatively new on the scene – but it‘s shaking up the analytics space. How does it compare to long-standing leaders?

Microsoft Power BI – Very robust analytics, but requires more technical skill vs Sigma‘s usability. Not as optimized for live cloud data.

Tableau – Excellent interactive visualizations but lacks Sigma‘s querying and analysis power. More static reporting.

Qlik – Strong analytics and associative model. But complex to implement for ad hoc use cases where Sigma excels.

Sisense – Good alternative to Sigma with similar business user focus. But Sigma has an edge in collaboration and cloud optimization.

ThoughtSpot – Search-driven analytics allows conversational exploration. But Sigma provides more guided data modeling capabilities.

Domo – Solid self-service BI features, but IT remains more involved compared to Sigma‘s pure business user focus.

Overall, Sigma strikes a great balance between power, flexibility, and accessibility in one unified cloud platform. And early customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

  • 95% of Sigma customers have expanded their use of Sigma after onboarding.

  • 8 in 10 Sigma customers achieve ROI in less than 6 months.

  • 92% of Sigma customers praised its intuitive interface in surveys.

Sigma‘s ability to deliver quick time-to-value seems to be resonating in a market where top companies average $5.5M in losses per year due to slow analytics insights, according to research from Accenture and MIT.

Getting Started With Sigma

Want to experience Sigma for yourself? Getting up and running is very straightforward:

1. Sign up for a free 14-day trial – No credit card required and you get up to 5 users, 1M rows of data free.

2. Make your first data connection – Leverage Sigma‘s graphical connector workflow to hook up your data sources.

3. Build your first worksheet – Use sample templates or start fresh to query data and build charts or pivot tables.

4. Share and collaborate – Take advantage of Sigma‘s great collaboration features with your team.

5. Review pricing – If it‘s a fit, choose one of Sigma‘s transparent subscription plans. Volume discounts available.

I also suggest checking out Sigma‘s great onboarding resources like live training and documentation to get the most from the platform.

The Bottom Line on Sigma Computing

Here‘s my quick take on who should consider Sigma:

Best for: Organizations that need fast, intuitive access to cloud data by business teams for fluid, ad hoc analysis and decisions.

Not ideal for: Complex data science modeling, hardcore data engineering, or static dashboarding and reporting.

At the end of the day, Sigma Computing aims to empower more people to work with data independently to drive business value – not just data specialists.

The combination of speed, collaboration, and simplicity in a unified cloud platform is really compelling. Definitely give Sigma a close look if those factors align with your use case!

I hope this guide has provided you with great insights into what makes Sigma Computing a standout new player in the cloud data analytics space. Please reach out if you have any other questions!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.