Another Look at DOMO

Update November 8, 2016 – DOMO continues to sabotage themselves with desperate, rude, and bizarre guerrilla marketing tactics. At Tableau Conference 2016, DOMO decided to crash it by sending staff wearing red t-shirts with a message “Escape Tableau Hell” and launching a heinous anti-Tableau website. Needless to say, avid Tableau fans and industry analysts attending this conference were not impressed. Chatting with my peers, it sounds like the pains mentioned on Glassdoor are indeed true. Sigh… 

Based on what I have recently seen, DOMO’s cloud BI solution has vastly improved. DOMO looks quite good now from the outside. Several years ago I wrote a colorful expose. At that time DOMO was over the top secretive but kept annoying me and my peers with far too many LinkedIN advertisements. Thus I was compelled to dig in and reveal what they were doing.

To be fair to DOMO, I wanted to share a positive solution review for the progress that they have made with their cloud BI offering. DOMO did not ask for either one of my solution reviews, nor have they ever contacted me.

What did DOMO say?!?

After DOMO finally came out of hiding, they continued saying silly things like “we lied to everyone”. What?!? No one wants to trust data aka digital gold to a liar. Sigh… Now I did giggle when I saw DOMO’s YouTube channel opener. At least they have a sense of humor about the LinkedIN ad spam.

I suspect DOMO was trying to reposition themselves into a new market category with the message below to get away from being compared side-by-side with bazillions of cloud BI, self-service BI and dashboard solutions.

Business Cloud—the world’s first open, self-service platform for running your entire business

BUT…they have a cloud BI solution, not an ERP. Even if DOMO were a self-service cloud business app, it is not the first. Sigh again… What DOMO does have right now in a cloud BI solution looks like it should fare well in head-to-head, cloud BI competes. If you review Glassdoor, that might not be the case.

The cloud BI market is crowded and extremely competitive. With mega-vendors Microsoft, Google, and Amazon now driving down prices in loss leader plays to take share and force competition out of business, I am guessing that DOMO struggled meeting growth promises. Although DOMO prices have been reduced since I first looked at them, they are not a low cost option. To be realistic, the mega-vendor prices do need to have cloud data source pricing added to compare apples to apples. Regardless, DOMO likely acted out to grab free PR attention with outrageous headlines.

DOMO Today

Fast forward to 2016, DOMO is much more open with detailed online content that showcases what looks like a fabulous cloud BI offering if you dig into it. DOMO also recently briefed industry analysts and gave us live demonstrations. In that session, I saw gorgeous dashboards and creative infographic-like visualizations that I shared in the past.

Sneak Peek

I also noted the following DOMO capabilities in the demo and online review.

  • Global cloud BI searches
  • Easy dashboard design process for non-technical users
  • Built-in favorites and view tracking on dashboard cards
  • One-click pre-built “apps” of dashboards by commonly used data sources like Google Analytics, by industry vertical, and also by department
  • Nice array of visualization types and custom visualizations that can even incorporate Adobe Illustrator vector designs (how those slick infographic-like charts are cooked)
  • Predictive visual analytics – visualizations with forecasting and R plug-ins
  • Attractive filters and calendar controls
  • User defined calculations in “Beast Mode” for power users
  • Unique ability to add online forms for “write-back” scenarios for collecting data
  • Scheduled data source refreshes
  • Proactive alerting with various visual, mobile, and email delivery options
  • Strong collaboration features with Buzz
  • Ability to assign tasks to make dashboards actionable
  • Slideshows for story telling

DOMO alerts

I also was pleasantly surprised by DOMO Magic, a built-in ETL/data preparation offering. DOMO demonstrated drag-and-drop ETL in a web browser with a rich library of connectors. A unique capability was a DOMO’s ETL plug-in for other ETL tools.

DOMO ETL

DOMO’s connector library continues to be impressive touting 400+ data sources. There are connectors in DOMO that I have not seen anywhere else. In my previous 2014 review, I noted that Corda had exceptional SAP Business Objects Universe connectivity that I rarely saw in non-SAP BI tools. Excel 2013 had it but it was later deprecated in 2015.

DOMO Data Sources

Rumors I have heard mention Informatica may be powering the awesome DOMO connectivity and ETL behind the scenes. I do not know if that is true but it makes sense. One of DOMO’s Angel’s is Marc Benioff of Salesforce. When Salesforce Wave was announced, Informatica was a key, initial data movement partner for that cloud BI solution.

For transferring your on-premises data to DOMO cloud, there is a Workbench gateway app and APIs. On the web site DOMO cites capability for special handling of PII, PHI and HIPPA data. There are also advanced features that allow you to either permanently de-identify data or encrypt then decrypt.

I could not decipher if DOMO can handle hybrid “live” connectivity to on-premises data sources. Though in reality that capability may be irrelevant as hybrid “live” connectors fail often due to data gravity challenges.

DOMO data center

A global “Data Center” view that could be interactively, visually explored was pretty neat. I did not see enough of this functionality but I wanted to see more. For cloud BI administrators, I did see granular permissions, policies, and some lineage being tracked. I am assuming data source usage is also being monitored at a user level for governance but I can not confirm it.

For self-service BI users, DOMO’s centralized, searchable data catalog is essential for finding the right data, curating enhanced data, and promoting data reuse. I was unable to tell if users could understand data context, versioning, preparation steps, and so on. Throughout the analytics industry, I see a lot of innovation in data catalog solutions like Alation, Attivio and Waterline Data right now. Data catalogs will be an element within a modern analytics architecture. (More to come on that topic in an upcoming white paper project for one of my favorite industry vendors…stay posted.)

DOMO appstore

Back to DOMO… From an ecosystem perspective, they have grown a solid base of 1000+ apps, vendor and implementer partners. I do know two peers of mine that are DOMO implementation partners. One of them urged me to take another peek now that I can do so without restrictions.

For extending the DOMO cloud BI offering, I also noticed fantastic embedding features, various APIs and SDKs for developing DOMO apps of pre-populated dashboards, data source connectors, an App Dev Studio for custom visualizations and an App Design Studio for building creative custom visualizations using Adobe Illustrator, and a app marketplace for third-party developers to create plug-and-play add-ins such as the predictive alerting one shown below.

DOMO predict

DOMO Predict Result

Additional Resources and Notes

For more information on DOMO, check out the following resources below.

Note: I have not performed a hands-on review of DOMO like I prefer to do to truly explore and experience a solution in a much more meaningful way. I highly recommend reviewing DOMO hands-on yourself since user experience is critical to self-service BI adoption success.

If DOMO does reach out to me and offers a hands-on evaluation, I will gladly supplement this review or write a third one that covers additional features of interest such as how to DOMO ETL and dashboard development, create a cool infographic visual, administration, governance, time intelligence, slowly changing dimension handling, workflows and overall user experience.

Self-Service BI Adoption Trends

Before I forget… regarding self-service BI adoption trends, I am hosting an upcoming webinar with Logi Analytics that will disclose a few fascinating self-service BI adoption market research findings. Please feel free to join me in that fun discussion on November 16, 2016.