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Sisu redesigns analytics platform to streamline workflows

Sparked by feedback from both existing and potential customers, startup BI vendor Sisu redesigned its platform to make data exploration and analysis more efficient.

With many organizations overwhelmed by the amount of data they're now collecting, Sisu redesigned its analytics platform to make the most pertinent data easier to find and streamline the process of getting from exploration to insight.

Sisu, founded in 2018 and based in San Francisco, emerged from stealth in November 2019 with an analytics platform that uses machine learning and statistical analysis to automatically monitor changes in data sets and then explain why those changes occurred.

In July 2020, it expanded its initial offering to include new ways of explaining those changes, adding the ability to diagnose the results of A/B and other group comparison tests and do faster text analysis.

Key to the newly redesigned Sisu analytics platform -- unveiled on Feb. 23 -- is a central repository where data teams are able to define their key performance indicators so that metric has the same designation across the entire organization. With KPIs defined, the risk of different departments or different users giving the same metric a different name and making them difficult to find and analyze is eliminated, according to the vendor.

With metrics uniformly named across an organization, Sisu is subsequently able to automatically explore the data underlying the metrics and proactively alert customers to changes and trends.

The redesign was motivated by months of research done with both existing customers and potential customers exploring the Sisu analytics platform as potential users.

A sample dashboard from Sisu.
A sample dashboard from Sisu displays an organization's loyalty program data.

"One broad theme that came out again and again was, as data has proliferated, driven by having so many sources, help me know where to look in my data," said Berit Hoffmann, vice president of product at Sisu. "There are so many ways to slice and dice data, and we heard people ask for help prioritizing where they should be looking in the first place."

The capability was already there, she continued, but it wasn't simple. The redesign makes that prioritization simple, she said.

"The engine was there to do that -- we had the technical capability -- but the biggest blocker was making that really approachable and easy to do that exploration," Hoffmann said.

Beyond the repository, the redesigned Sisu analytics platform includes a new user interface that resembles an Excel workbook. Its tabs enable users to examine metrics from multiple angles and quickly drill down into the data to speed up the delivery of insights that drive decision-making processes.

In addition, the redesign enables business users to ask follow-up questions of their organization's data without having to write code. While the initial deep data analysis requires certain data science skills, subsequent analysis, such as adjusting time parameters and defining groups, can be done without knowledge of SQL, thus enabling a degree of self-service analytics and freeing data teams from time-consuming secondary analysis.

While Sisu has redesigned its analytics platform little more than a year after emerging from stealth, the step doesn't indicate a previous problem or cause for concern, according to Mike Leone, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

Sisu has always been focused on enabling organizations to get to the insight that matters most through KPI definitions and automation capabilities. This is the next iteration of that.
Mike LeoneSenior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

Instead, it represents improvement of what was already a valuable tool for data exploration and analysis.

"I don't believe the redesign should be interpreted as a concern in any way, shape or form," Leone said. "I view this as a refinement. Sisu has always been focused on enabling organizations to get to the insight that matters most through KPI definitions and automation capabilities. This is the next iteration of that."

Particularly valuable, he continued, is how Sisu is enabling data teams to more easily drill down into their data.

"Several platforms can help with answering high-level questions from relevant data, but Sisu takes that a significant step farther by being able to surface insights from a more comprehensive view of dimensional data," Leone said. "What Sisu offers is more than valuable. It's transformational, especially when in the hands of the right data rock stars."

While Sisu redesigned its analytics platform to address challenges data consumers are currently facing, the redesign also points to the vendor's future plans.

While the platform initially focused narrowly on explaining changes to KPIs, the redesign expands into self-service analytics, expanding Sisu's breadth of potential users.

"We still see analytics leaders -- the data analyst, business analyst -- as our primary users, but the ability to self-service those follow-up questions is a first step in widening that aperture of who we're serving," Hoffmann said. "It gives a nod to where we think we can go. We see that as a foundation we can build from to service other user needs."

In addition, Hoffmann said Sisu plans to add capabilities that will enable collaboration and communication between data analysts and end users, and that the redesign will enable Sisu to build out its functionality more quickly than it previously could.

"What you can start to expect is a higher velocity of changes that we're now able to build on top of this foundation," she said.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget.

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