Alternative to Metabase: Holistics, a self-service BI tool

Holistics is a good alternative to Metabase due to its similar SQL-native architecture, better self-service capability and ability to do Git version control of data logic.

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Self-service BI platform
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If you’re currently using Metabase as your BI tool, you might face the following problems:

  • Inflexible for business users: Business users might find the Metabase interface too inflexible. Oftentimes, they won’t be able to explore anything outside of prepared SQL queries. They might end up relying on the Data Team to write custom SQL for what should be routine questions.
  • No version control: As your organization grows, trying to figure out who changed what becomes a real problem. As a result, your entire team slowly starts to question the accuracy behind the numbers.
  • Difficult to reuse queries: As you add more and more queries, you end up with repeated SQL queries all over the place, making it difficult to know where the correct version is.

If you face the problems above, then Holistics might be a suitable alternative for your organization. The core technology of Holistics is a central semantic layer. This allows data teams to create and govern a central definition of business metrics and data logic which is then exposed to business users in a clean simple-to-use interface, enabling them to get accurate analytics without repeatedly involving an analyst.

Your dashboards and data logic are also serialized into code and checked in to your Git version control repository.

Designed for self-service analytics

Designed for self-service analytics

Non-technical users can build their own dashboards with a simple drag-and-drop UI, governed by centralized data logic.

Version Control with Git

Version Control with Git

Holistics allows you to define data models as code, and check them in to Git version control.

Building reusable SQL queries

Building reusable SQL queries

Define custom measures and formulas in Holistics for exploration.

We did set it up and build our first dashboard on Metabase. It's a solid BI tool, especially given it's FOSS, but it posed two main issues for us -- (1) limited customisability of visualisations (limiting the complexity of the information you can show) and (2) not enough features for query maintainability, as you add more and more queries that you want to share and re-use across a growing org. Holistics beat it out on both fronts.

Soroush Pour, Head of Engineering, VowFood

Holistics vs Metabase: Feature Comparison

Feature Metabase Holistics
Self-service BI for non-technical users Easy to use interface, but simplistic and limited to few operations. Comprehensive. Designed to help non-technical users ask data questions.
Visualizations Good Good
Version Control No version control. Yes. Version control supported through As-code.
Reusing common SQL queries Not supported. Supported using Transform Model functionality.
Integration with data transformation tool No. Yes. Integrate with dbt.
Embedding Yes. Available in Enterprise offering. Yes. Available as addon offering.
Report Sharing Push dashboards to Slack, Email. Push dashboards to Slack, Email, Google Sheets, SFTP and web hooks.
User Access Control Row-level Access Control available in Enteprise Plan. Column-level Permission not supported. Supported both Row-level Permission and Column-level Permission.
Working with CSV/Google Sheets No. Yes. Support pulling data from Google Sheets, and loading report data into Google Sheets.
Pricing Free with self-hosted open-source option. Paid with Cloud option. Cloud option starts from $100/month (usage-based).

How does Holistics work?

A self-service BI platform that enables non-technical users to get access to analytics without bothering data teams.

Once raw data is stored in a data warehouse, data teams use Holistics to transform, model the data, and prepare well-defined explorable datasets and reports for key data consumers.

Non-technical users can build their own reports with a simple visual report builder that is governed by the data team’s modeling.

Every report execution in Holistics will be translated into SQL queries that are sent to your data warehouse. Holistics will visualize the returned results.

Self-service BI platform

Because Data Team Is Not IT Help Desk

Less ad-hoc data questions. Happier data teams. All start with Holistics .