TechnologyAdvice: Give us a one sentence description of Sisense?
Evan Castle: “Sisense is a business intelligence platform that makes it easy to connect to big and varied data sources so that business users can analyze and visualize data really quickly and with very little skill.”
TA: What differentiates Sisense from other business intelligence providers?
Castle: “So first of all we have a strong solution to manage data called the elasticube, it’s an in-memory but columnar database. What that means is instead of using your memory which is very expensive to load, we actually save it on disks and only load the actual columns that are needed for the query into memory. That makes it quick and efficient and with a lot less hardware. The second thing is we have a lot of learning tech so as users ask queries we learn from them.
When someone asks a similar but slightly different query we can assemble and present that information a lot quicker so its scalable for a lot of different users simultaneously. Lastly, we have really good visualization capabilities. We’re completely web based, so you can develop dashboards across any browser across any device whether its mobile or PC and you can analyze big varied data sets on your device without being technical and mashup different data sets quickly and easily.”
TA: Tell us about your ideal customer
Castle: “Our users may be IT team or department who wants to offer a managed self service solution to business users. Sometimes its businesses users themselves with different data sources whether its web data from Google analytics or a big data source like hive or traditional data sources like SQL server and they want a solution they can easily manage and analyze big varied sources on their own machines. It might be analysts or advanced excel users who are typically buying Sisense.”
TA: What data sources do most companies use with Sisense?
Castle: “It’s hard to say since we work with a lot of different data sources and it depends on the industry. If it’s agencies its connecting to Google Analytics and Adwords. If it’s tech companies, they’re connecting to big data sources such as Hadoop and Hive. For traditional businesses they’re using SQL and Oracle or one of the other relational database and of course Excel which everyone uses.”
TA: What is Sisense’s pricing model?
Castle: “We have lots of different clients and we’re flexible. We have small startups to fortune 500s and partners who want to embed Sisense within their own technology and whitelabel it. We work on an annual license fee and that depends on the number of users and includes everything: upgrade, licensing, training. Of course you can buy out a few years of licenses as well but typically it’s an annual model.”
TA: Are there any limitations to Sisense?
Castle: ”We iterate a lot, we have 2-3 releases every year at least. We have introduced basic statistical functions but now we want to introduce more advanced functions and predictive analytical tools. That’s one area we’re working on.”
TA: What technical skills does the average user need?
Castle: “So it’s geared towards business users because of the flexibility of the tool so anybody that knows excel well can be up and learning in a day or two. Some users if they have a bit of an IT or SQL background are good. We can really deal with non-technical users. It’s very easy and intuitive to get up and running with Sisense.”