September 12, 2019

Startup Analytics Begins in the Cloud

Sigma Team
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Startup Analytics Begins in the Cloud

For years only enterprises could harness big data insights. But the cloud is making it possible for startups to leverage analytics in a whole new way. Learn how.

For years, business intelligence (BI) was a field that only enterprise companies could access—so when it came to making data-driven business decisions, they had the upper hand. But with the introduction of easy ETL/ELT tools, the cloud data warehouse, and cloud BI tools, today's startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can achieve the same capabilities in an easy-to-implement, low-cost, hosting-free environment.

Read on to learn how to jumpstart your startup analytics with cloud BI.

Not a Fortune 500 Company? No Problem.

Startups typically begin without a data pipeline and analytics backbone. Confined to viewing reports in various systems, running custom SQL, and piecing the rest together in Excel, initial efforts are rarely scalable, results are not easy to share, and they ultimately fail to provide accurate insights and common KPIs across the org in a timely manner.

Cloud-based analytics stacks allow startups and SMEs to leverage BI capabilities in the same ways companies like Microsoft and Apple do. As a startup or small organization, you can extend those capabilities to every employee at reasonable costs. Later, you can scale the system to bigger data, more queries, and hundreds or thousands of employees — even partners— while application and costs grow with usage.

By embracing the cloud, companies can focus on what they know and do best without having to invest in the on-premise infrastructure and large IT teams that were required in the past. Meanwhile, they gain access to the same quality BI, data privacy, scale, and security that enterprise companies enjoy.


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You Don’t Have to Fly Blind

Cloud-native BI and analytics software like Sigma make accessing and analyzing data easy for any business expert—not just trained analysts or SQL gurus. Traditionally, data analysts and BI teams used different tools than your marketers or salespeople to do their analysis, and then often provided business teams with limited dashboards and SQL reports. A modern cloud analytics stack changes all that with a platform to accommodate everyone.Cloud applications offer intuitive, user-friendly interfaces that are familiar and require less training than on-prem era tools like Tableau, Looker, MicroStrategy, and other BI platforms of the past. This means everyone can get up and running quickly, driving mass adoption across the org while bypassing many of the costs associated with on-boarding and even licensing users.

If you want to make data a bigger part of your culture and improve decision-making across departments, newer tools like Sigma should be on your radar. Cloud BI goes beyond fixing broken dashboards and stale reports for business users, empowering them to escape the BI request queue, explore data, and share insights on their own.

Faster Analysis, Lower Costs

One of the cloud’s greatest advantages to smaller companies is its cost structure. Data warehouse providers like Snowflake offer usage-based pricing, meaning you only pay for the data you store and the amount of data processing you use. With usage-based pricing, you can eliminate upfront infrastructure costs and ongoing investments in partitions and optimizations. You will never overpay for data management or waste money on idle processes that could be spent on higher value projects.

Sigma brings a similar cloud pricing model to the table. Instead of site or individual user licenses offered by traditional BI providers, Sigma provides unlimited access to data consumers, or “viewers.” An organization only pays for active users that perform interactive analyses against a cloud data warehouse. Accessing reports, dashboards, and worksheets are free for any employee, making it easy to get insights to those who need it without having to worry about costs or licenses. This innovative pricing model provides businesses with the ability to scale analytics across the organization and involve everyone in the data conversation at lower costs and way less friction than traditional BI vendors.


Enterprise-Level Security for All

Hackers increasingly target startups and SMEs because they don't have the same resources or data security levels as enterprises. But you don’t have to miss out on top-notch security or incur unnecessary risk just because you’re a new company.

Modern cloud warehouse vendors deliver enterprise-grade data privacy and security to companies that lack the resources to do it in house. They are quick to release the most up-to-date security features and protocols via patches, so your internal teams don’t have to maintain it themselves. The bottom line is, you get the security benefits the large tech companies enjoy, without any additional overhead.

Get Started with a Cloud Analytics Stack

The right analytics solution is manageable, easy to execute, and makes generating insights simple. Thanks to the maturity of the cloud analytics stack, you can achieve a level of business intelligence that once required 1) large upfront investment to get started; 2) large, in-house IT and data teams to implement; and 3) months of setup time before insights could be gleaned.

Now you can invest in analytics at an earlier stage, and use your newfound BI to drive business growth. You start by getting data out of your SaaS silos — platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, ZenDesk, and Marketo, which limit your data’s potential. A modern cloud analytics stack makes it easy to transition your data into a cloud-based data warehouse, where it can be made accessible to everyone. And as your teams grow, the results will speak for themselves — your cloud analytics stack will prove itself as a foundational long-term investment.