Alternative To Looker: Holistics, An As-Code Self-Service BI

LookML is hard to use and Looker's upfront cost is eye-watering. We're here to change that, with better value for money, better dbt integration, and 10x easier-to-use modeling language.

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Usage-based pricing mechanism. All plans start with a 14-day trial with unlimited functionalities. No credit card details required. Change your plan at any time.


For PoC or Analytics Beginners

$100/mo $120/mo
200 Objects (Up to 50 Reports) 10 Users
  • Core Self-service Analytics
  • Build reports without knowing SQL
  • Dataset Exploration
  • Date Drill / Drill-through
  • All Data Delivery destinations


Full functional features

$250/mo $300/mo
600 Objects (Up to 150 Reports) 20 Users
  • PDF Reports Delivery
  • Map Visualizations
  • Metrics Sheets
  • Password Protected Links/Emails
  • API integrations


Governance features

$500/mo $600/mo
800 Objects (w/ Unlimited Reports)
At this level, reports and charts are free!
20 Users
  • Unlimited Reports
  • Records-Based Access Control
  • SSO/SAML Integrations
  • User Activity Monitoring
  • IP Access Whitelisting


Non-Standard Purchasing Requirements

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Customized Pricing
  • Non-Credit Card Payments
  • Custom Supplier/Infosecurity Paperwork
  • Custom Legal & Payment Terms

*Pricing in USD for reference purpose only. Final transaction charge will be in Singapore Dollars (based on 1 USD = 1.4 SGD)

Holistics vs Looker High-Level Comparison

Aspect Looker Holistics
High-level Approach Take similar approach:
1. Analysts define analytics logic centrally
2. Business users perform self-service data exploration
Evaluation Process Sales-led; Compulsory to speak to Sales Self-service trial; Speak to sales for further questions.
Deployment Cloud hosted or self-hosted Cloud hosted
Complicance GDPR; SOC2; HIPAA GDPR; SOC2 (incoming);
Pricing Opaque (need to speak to sales); Require high upfront commitments; Annual payment Transparent; Can start small ($100/mo), scale up as usage grows; Pay monthly & annually
Support Dedicated Customer Love team Highly praised
Learning Curve Steep. Require analysts to learn LookML, and work with code interface. Gentler. Provide both visual interface (GUI) and code interface (AML)
Modeling Layer
Central Modeling Layer to define Business Logic Yes, with LookML. Yes. With AML.
GUI to model data No. Only code-based interface. Yes. Dual interface (both code-based and GUI-based).
Prebuilt Data Models Yes, with Looker Blocks No.
Integration with data transformation tool No Yes. Native integration with dbt.
Work with CSV / Google Sheets source No. Yes. Native support.
Developer Experience
Code-based approach Yes (LookML) Yes (AML)
Version Control with Git Yes Yes
API Yes Yes
Reporting & Visualization
Self-service Exploration Yes Yes
Visualizations Rich visualization Rich visualization
Custom Visualizations Yes, through Looker Marketplace No
Pivot Table Yes More advanced, with subgroup calculation
Date Comparison No native support (Workaround) Native support with Period-over-Period Comparison
Embedding Yes Yes

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Trial Experience and Pricing

While both tools are directionally similar, the go-to-market approaches are different, thus what the end customers experience throghout the evaluation process is different.

Looker’s target market are mainly enterprise customers, thus their entry price may not be affordable for some companies. They also do not provide a self-service trial experience, you need to contact a salesperson to even start to try out Looker.

On the other hand, Holistics provides an affordable alternative to Looker for SMBs and mid-markets. It provides a fully self-service trial process. Pricing is also transparent and starts at $100, making it easier to try out.

Data Modeling Layer

Looker and Holistics are similar in that both provide a data modeling layer that translates between business users’ drag-and-drop inputs to a database query.

The data modeling layer not only provides self-service analytics for business users but also provide a centralized management interface for data analysts to ensure that the data exposed is accurate, maintainable and reusable.

Both tools invented their own modeling language. Looker with LookML (Looker Modeling Language) and Holistics with AML (Analytics Modeling Language).

Terminologies: While the approaches are similar, both tools use slightly different terminologies

Looker Holistics Purpose
Looker View Holistics Data Model A data entity, usually a logical mapping of a database table
Looker Explore Holistics Dataset A collection of Looker views / Holistics models. Shared with end users for data exploration purpose.
Looker Persisted Derived Table (PDT) Holistics Transform Model Persist results of a SQL query back into data warehouse
Looker Join Holistics Relationship Define the join/relationship between 2 views/models

Initial Learning Curve

A key requirement for Looker users is the need to invest time to learn & setup the data modeling step. For Looker, this means learning and preparing the modeling work in LookML first, as an abstraction on top of a SQL database.

Learning LookML is not rocket science but still takes significant effort, thus creating a fairly high barrier of entry. As a result, only analysts who are willing to invest in Looker’s approach would go through the process of learning it.

Holistics’ data modeling, while also code-based, provide a simple, easy to use user interface to perform GUI-based data modeling. This removes the need to learn a new language for initial users. The only requirement is some minimal SQL knowledge to model some advanced use cases.

LookML vs AML

With both Looker and Holistics offering code-based, you can perform data modeling with tons of flexibility. Holistics AML tries to optimize for a better developer experience through auto-complete and instant feedback of errors. Their developer-first approach makes AML much easier to pick up and start developing than LookML. This similarity of the languages between the tool makes it easier for the developer to switch and adopt.

And Remember, We'll Never Leave You On Hold

Sign up for a Holistics trial and try it out yourself.

Free Trial