You’re researching a new BI platform and you’re weighing Grow against Sisense. Both seem like great options and finding differences between them feels like splitting hairs. So here’s our straightforward, marketing-speak free, side-by-side comparison of Grow v. Sisense. We’ll be upfront: we believe that in most cases, Grow is the better product. Every BI platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, but the key to finding the right platform for you is finding the system that you don’t have to make allowances for or workaround.
Compare Sisense and Grow for yourself to decide which that is.
Grow is ready to go, right out of the box. You don’t have to wait on API connections being custom-built for you. Connecting Grow to the rest of your systems is as simple as clicking “Connect.”
Learning from what our customers ask for most and what serves them best, we've built a library of over 115 data connectors. Right from inside the Grow platform, you can connect to any of these data sources and be up and running within the course of a day.
Grow’s data connectors are built on the APIs developed by the systems you use. This enables Grow to communicate directly with your ERP, CRM, email marketing system, and whatever else is in your tech stack. Instead of a manual, static connection between your systems, Grow can update its data as often as your tools do. This allows you to have an up-to-the-minute view of your business.
Everyone’s tech stack is different. With a large library to choose from, Grow lets you customize your BI platform directly instead of waiting on IT.
We have data connectors built for systems such as:
You can see the full list for yourself in our Data Connectors Library.
There are two ways to connect your data sources to Sisense. One, you connect your systems to Sisense’s quasi-data warehouse called Elasticube. It stores data but is slow to respond to live data updates. Or two, you can connect your data source directly to Sisense. Sisense recommends this method if you want real-time data directly reflected in your dashboards.
Sisense has a limited list of officially supported data sources for their Elasticube and live connections: only 8 live connectors and 45 Elasticube connectors. There are additional connectors created by recognized technology partners, but these lists are short as well.
Sisense has a much smaller list of data connectors and requires more technical expertise to connect to your systems. Sisense recommends that clients look for a connector within the Sisense community if they don’t see a connector for their system in the official list, but finding a trustworthy connector is just another inconvenient step.
Instead of separating out the ETL (Export, Transform, Load) process from the BI system, Grow includes point-and-click ETL tools that your data analyst can use to prep and normalize data. By keeping the BI system and the ETL process together, you have greater control over the data at all points—whether raw or prepped. This means that you:
Rather than having to navigate through levels of communication in order to request new data from your ETL and your data warehouse manager, you can control everything right in Grow.
Grow also provides templates for creating datasets, in addition to hands-on support to help build out datasets for you if you need assistance.
Sisense has robust ETL capabilities that allow users to combine massive quantities of data together, query it, and transform it. However, the layout of Sisense’s transforms can be difficult to navigate, lacking some features that most other BI solutions offer.
Sisense’s ETL capabilities are powerful, but their system isn’t immediately easy for non-technical admin to use. It has a very basic layout that presents a learning curve for new users.
Grow and Sisense are pretty evenly matched when it comes to ETL capabilities, but the clincher is the layout itself. Grow’s transform pipeline is easy to use and immediately accessible, with responsive tools for combining and building out datasets.
Grow offers more than 20 unique data visualizations that you can use to tell your (colorful) data story. Grow’s charts are responsive and easy to create, providing you with the ability to click into them individually for more in-depth data insights.
Everyone’s data is different, and there shouldn’t be any limitations to how you want to visualize data and pursue insights.
Sisense’s data visualization capabilities are somewhat limited when it comes to chart types and layouts, especially in comparison to some of the more beautiful visualization capabilities in other BI solutions. Sisense has 16 different widgets you can use to create charts for visualizing data in your dashboards, with the additional option of creating your own.
Grow offers more of a variety of out-of-the box data visualization tools than Sisense does, and they’re easier for the non-technical user admin to build.
Grow is a SaaS platform, which makes the initial setup process easy. You don’t need to build a data warehouse, attach an ETL layer, or configure your server. You just need to log in and connect your data sources.
Once your data sources have been connected, you'll need to build out your datasets and create dashboards. The transform workflow has been optimized for easy use, featuring click-and-drag features for managing tables and combining data.
If you’re not familiar with managing dashboards and data visualization, we have dashboard templates built out for you that you can use until you feel comfortable creating your own.
Setting up Sisense is a more complex process. The advanced functionality found in Sisense, and its on-premise method of deployment, creates increased complexity and costs more to get up and running. Additionally, connecting Sisense with your data sources can be more complex than point-and-click, depending on whether you’re using Elasticube or a live connection between Sisense and your other systems.
Sisense is powerful enough to scale billions of records and respond to queries in just a few seconds. However, implementing it is going to take more time and will be a more complex process.
As a fully hosted system, Grow doesn’t require much time to set up.
Grow’s layout is intuitive, for both the data analyst compiling data in the transform area of the system to the business user navigating dashboards and interpreting data visualizations.
You’ll likely need a data expert to prepare your data for you, but they won’t have to spend time wrestling with complicated software or learning code in order to do their job.
Sisense has a steeper learning curve than Grow. Its user interface appeals more to users already familiar with BI solutions. That being said, Sisense can be pushed to go beyond what Grow can do. For example, Sisense has tools for automated insight generation and recently developed a system which proactively creates alerts about any found anomalies.
One of the main reasons that clients choose Sisense is its ability to be embedded in web pages and applications. You can display custom, client-facing analytics boards in a variety of locations.
You can do quite a bit with Sisense. Its ML (Machine Learning) capabilities, speed, and responsiveness make it a fantastic and powerful system. But it does present a steep learning curve to users who are new to BI solutions and requires some technical skill to customize. Grow’s system is a little more limited, but it has a cleaner layout and tools for direct data management that make it a friendlier platform for non-technical users.
The administrative capabilities in Grow will probably feel similar to the ones in your website. You can add user accounts and customize permissions, designating access to data and dashboards. You can also delete and remove accounts from Grow as well. There is no cap to the amount of user accounts you can have in Grow.
You can share data insights and reports by scheduling email sends, creating custom dashboards specific to a certain team or department, posting wallboards (a dashboard specifically made for display on a mounted screen) around your office, or by logging in to the Grow app.
You can share reports in Sisense by exporting them as PDFs, embedding dashboards where they can be accessible, or by exporting widgets.
Additionally, if you do share a dashboard in Sisense, you can specify the editing rights of the recipient.
Both Grow and Sisense allow you to fully manage user accounts and permissions, even down to the level of individual dashboard access. Grow offers a wider variety of methods to share data insights. Sisense offers fewer methods, but it does allow you to customize those methods more than Grow does.
Grow is a fully hosted BI solution, which means that you don’t have to configure additional systems and hardware to support Grow. Grow will store your datasets and metrics, as well as cache your data. It manages your historical data through the systems you’ve connected it to.
Having a SaaS BI solution means that:
There are a few reasons that companies will choose a server-side BI solution:
It’s hard to determine a winner for this category, considering that Sisense and Grow are both good options for their use-case. The convenience you would enjoy with Grow as a SaaS system may be limiting if you’re large enough to need the freedom of Sisense.
And likewise, the customization capability and implementation requirements of Sisense may be needlessly complicated for someone who has very direct BI goals.
One of the most convenient aspects of Grow is that it’s an all-in-one BI platform. Ordinarily, business intelligence solutions are a single tech layer in the BI stack and require you to manage separate ETL and data warehouse layers as well.
Grow has taken the data warehouse out of the equation, leaving the BI and ETL layers wrapped up together in one platform. Grow’s system performs the reporting, data processing, and data visualization tasks of BI. The beginning, middle, and end of your BI strategy are all managed by your team in a single place.
Sisense provides some data warehouse functionality (they cache data instead of storing it permanently) as well as ETL features. Sisense is not dependent on a data warehouse, but it can be paired with one.
Like Grow, Sisense offers users direct access to all the tasks involved in BI. However, the strengths of their platform are polarized. Analytics dashboards can be embedded in a number of locations, but the backend of their system is difficult to navigate.
On the administrator’s end, Sisense doesn’t have visual grouping or menu-driven advanced analytics. There’s also no undo function within its dashboard authoring capabilities (eek). And “business user” accounts can’t use drag-and-drop to build queries or dashboards when accessing embedded content.
This comes down to system balance. Sisense is most often utilized by clients who are looking for analytics as an OEM. They want to use Sisense to embed dashboards for client-facing purposes more than as a reporting tool. What this means is that Sisense has prioritized certain aspects of their system.
Grow, on the other hand, was built with the user in mind—not just the viewer—and we have developed the entire system across the board for performance and usability.
Grow starts at $500 a month and changes based on data and integrations.
It's very difficult to gauge a price estimate for Sisense, mainly because their pricing can vary so much. According to customer responses, Sisense uses multiple vectors to calculate their price which include Elasticubes® and users. The price can escalate quickly. It's not a pricing method unique to Sisense, but users report feeling nickel-and-dimed by the process.
Pricing is one of the benefits of Grow. Not only is Grow one of the least expensive BI solutions, our pricing system is much more straightforward than Sisense's.
In embedded use cases, Sisense is a good tool to work with. Sisense identifies itself as a tool to build analytic apps, with a focus on security, performance, and how easily you can embed their dashboards. Highly sophisticated data visualization and a user-friendly administrative interface—these things fall by the wayside.
As a holistic BI system, Grow is much more balanced.