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Top 5 Free or Affordable SQL Reporting and Dashboard Tools

by Anthony Thong Do

Top 5 Free or Affordable SQL Reporting and Dashboard Tools

Your startup needs analytics! From Product and Marketing to Finance and Sales... analytics helps you build your startups on data-driven decisions.

For early-stage startups, choosing a cost-effective BI solution is challenging, as a lot of powerful BI tools out there are not startup-friendly because most starts at $1000/month. This will break your bank.

To help you determine which SQL reporting tools are suitable for you, we didn’t just look at the price, but also the ease of maintenance and scalability. Here is a list of top free or affordable SQL reporting and dashboards tools for your startups.


Top 5 Free or Affordable SQL Reporting Tools


Holistics

Pricing: Paid plans, range from $100-$500/month

Holistics is a self-service BI platform that empowers business users to create their own charts without writing SQL or going to the technical team. With Holistics, data teams define business metrics, datasets and reports for business users. Business users can consume the predefined reports, or build their own reports with simple, visual report builders.

Holistics, self-service BI platform
Holistics, self-service BI platform

Pros

  • 100% cloud, can access from anywhere in the world
  • Drag-and-Drop interface for Non-Technical Users
  • Great support team
  • Powerful delivery capabilities: Email/Slack/Google Sheets Schedule and Alerts, Shareable Links, Embedded Analytics
  • Advanced SQL Editor: Version History, Autocomplete, SQL Snippet, Highlighting, Auto-formatting, Query History, Custom Advanced Logic...
  • Unique data modelling for scalable organizations
  • Flexible and scalable pricing for both startups and enterprises
  • Analytics As-code: applying software engineering best practices to analytics workflow, with dbt integration and Git version control

Cons

  • Young product, sometimes has bugs
  • There are some features still in progress (PDF Dashboard,...)
  • Strong permission control but complicated for small companies

Check out how Holistics work or sign up for a free 14-day trial! No credit card is required.


Metabase

Pricing: Free (on-premise), $85/month or $749/month (cloud)

Metabase is the easy, open-source BI tool for everyone in your company to ask questions and learn from data. Available in both cloud and on-premise versions.

Metabase dashboards
Metabase dashboards

Pros

  • Open Source
  • Simple, Neat UI
  • Free
  • Lightweight
  • Allow non-tech users to query from data

Cons

  • Don’t allow multiple data sources
  • Limited integrations
  • Limited variety of charts and settings
  • Weak permission control

Mode Analytics

Pricing: Free plan available (but with limited features), paid plans starts at $800/month.

Mode is a web-based SQL data analysis platform that brings SQL, Python and R together to help your team analyze, visualize and share data.

Mode’s interface
Mode’s interface

Pros

  • Advanced SQL Editor: Autocomplete, Highlighting, Query History...
  • Python, R Integrations
  • Customizable HTML Notebooks
  • Shareable Links
  • Online SQL Course

Cons

  • Limited in visualizations and sources
  • Limited in access control
  • Business users can't get insight by themselves
  • No data modelling layer

Redash

Pricing: Free (self-hosted)

Redash helps provides companies tools to democratize data access. Connect to any data source, easily visualize and share your data. Redash got acquired by Databricks in 2020, and they’re shutting down the hosted Redash service, effective November 30, 2021.

Redash‘s interface
Redash‘s interface

Pros

  • Simple
  • Good query editor: Highlighting and SQL Snippets
  • Has open source version
  • Zapier integration
  • Supports 30+ data sources

Cons

  • No cloud version, need to self-host.
  • UI doesn't allow non-tech users to explore, everything needs to be written in SQL
  • The dashboard and visualization features are not advanced
  • No way to email daily / weekly reports to clients or team members
  • No data modeling layer

Cluvio

Pricing: Free version available, and paid plans are starting at $279/month

Cluvio is a data analytics platform that lets you run SQL queries against your database, process data in R, visualize the results and create beautiful, interactive dashboards.

Cluvio’s dashboards
Cluvio’s dashboards

Pros

  • Support R
  • Good SQL editor: Highlighting, autocomplete, SQL snippets...
  • Support Embedded Analytics
  • SQL Alerts

Cons

  • Limited in visualizations
  • No data modeling layer
  • UI doesn't allow non-tech users to explore

Conclusion

For early-stage companies, cost is an important factor when considering the tools. Cost is not just in terms of the price of the BI tool, you’ve to consider the cost of setting up and the cost of using engineering resources to maintain the charts and dashboards too.

Holistics is a good starting point for your analytics stack, as it won’t break your bank. It also gives you the flexibility to mold it to your workflows and scale your  reporting, no matter which stage of data maturity your company is at. Most importantly, Holistics is stakeholder-friendly. Unlike Mode, Redash and Cluvio, where users have to learn SQL to generate charts. With Holistics, you can set things up very quickly and save time. Check out how Holistics work or sign up for a free 14-day trial! No credit card is required.

If you want a self-hosted tool, Metabase or Redash is for you.

If your users are technical enough to write code and generate charts, tools like Mode, Redash and Cluvio are good options.

Anthony Thong Do

Anthony Thong Do

Entrepreneurship, Product, Data, Design | holistics.io, dbidagram.io | anthonytd.com | 200% on Products

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