Straight Talk: Review of DOMO; The Pros and Cons

Straight Talk BI ReviewsThe number of business intelligence vendors offering agile, user-friendly solutions is growing. In addition to well established BI companies developing new products designed to be less technical and more agile than traditional BI software, every few weeks another BI startup claims it is “the” BI solution for business users.

If you’re a business leader trying to keep up with the latest BI software developments (and sort through layers of marketing hype), you’ve got your work cut out for you. That’s one reason why at 5000fish, learning about new BI technologies is a fundamental component of our Customer Success approach to business. After all, if Yurbi isn’t the right solution for your business, we want to be able to talk to you knowledgeably about other solutions that might meet your needs.

One business intelligence tool that’s relatively new in the BI space and creating a lot of buzz is Domo. Most business leaders we’ve spoken with don’t know much about the Utah-based Cloud BI company, so we put together this quick read that highlights its pros and cons.

Overview of Domo

Domo was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Josh James. To date, Domo has received $483 million in funding (update March 2016: $613.7M) that includes investments from big-wigs like T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Investments and Salesforce+. Domo boasts in the range of 1,000 customers, including powerhouses like EBay and National Geographic.

James has a track-record like Midas; everything he touches seems to turn into gold. Prior to launching Domo, he was the co-founder and CEO of Omniture, a highly successful SaaS-based web analytics company. Thirteen years later, he sold Omniture to Adobe for $1.8 billion, and remained at Adobe for about one year.

After his stint at Adobe, James started Shacho, Inc., and bought a London-based company named Corda Technologies. James changed Shacho’s name to Domo (meaning “thank you” in Japanese) and integrated a core Corda technology into Domo. Domo is a SaaS-based platform designed primarily for business executives who want direct access to data.

Pros of Domo

Beautiful Interface

Domo gives decision makers the ability to view real-time data in a single dashboard. And what a view it is. If you’re looking for “wow factor” you’ve found it. Domo’s interfaces, dashboard widgets and displays are incredibly appealing, and the incorporation of creative data displays such as multi-part widgets, sparklines, and trend indicators also make their dashboard widgets very useful.

Integrates On-premise Data and External Data Sources in the Cloud

Domo has a good mechanism for taking on-premise data and moving it into their Cloud. A small piece of software installs on the user’s network, fetches information on a regular basis and moves that data up to the Cloud- which in-turn feeds those amazing dashboard widgets.

Through APIs, Domo can pull both structured and unstructured data (think QuickBooks and social media) from on-premise or Cloud based sources, into one view. Domo offers over 100 connectors right out of the box.

Sales Reps Court Potential Customers

Once you get in the Domo sales funnel, you can expect to be treated right. In fact, from what prospective customers have told us, and from own experience, it’s clear Domo’s sales representatives have the green light to do what it takes to win-over executives.

Solid Business Infrastructure

Domo is here to stay. It’s built on solid technology, its network is dependable, and it has both the leadership and financial resources to continue to evolve. In short, Domo is not a fly by night organization. We think your business data is safe with Domo.

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Cons of Domo

It’s Cloud Based

If the vast majority of your data is already in the Cloud, and you use Cloud based applications extensively, then the fact that Domo is a Cloud BI solution may not be a drawback. But, if most of your data is on-premise, copying it to Domo’s Cloud is a process you probably want to avoid. A non-Cloud BI solution would likely serve your needs better.

Cost Prohibitive for Most Businesses

Domo is notoriously secretive about their pricing, but from what their potential customers have told us, Domo isn’t interested in deals that are less than $50,000. From what we know, Domo is charging $25,000 minimum to start with their software and then $3,000 per user, per year after that. {Update Feb 2016: We’ve been told this has reduced to $1500 per year once you’ve hit their minimums} {Update April 2016: They released a public price page, learn more about it here) Moreover, to get started with Domo, they require customers use their professional services to install the software that migrates on-premise data to Domo’s Cloud. We’re told the cost of professional services starts in the range of $25,000.

Domo may be price aligned with some big name Cloud BI solutions like Salesforce Wave and GoodData, but it’s much more expensive than solutions like Looker, Chartio, and Klipfolio. In fact, there are a handful of robust Cloud BI tools that deliver more features for less cost than Domo currently does.

No Ad-Hoc Reporting

Domo delivers dynamic dashboard presentations, but it doesn’t allow the user to do ad-hoc reporting. There’s no ability for the business user to create new data queries on the stored on-premise or cloud data to do their own data discovery. Your data is copied into the Domo database and preprogrammed or developer programmed widgets deliver appealing, large view metrics, but if you want to dig into the details, you’re out of luck. It’s a case of “what you get, is what you get.” There’s a chance Domo will give users ad-hoc reporting capabilities in the future, but right now it doesn’t.

Difficult to Extract Data

We’ve read a multitude of Domo reviews and discovered a number of Domo users say it’s hard to extract data from Domo. Again, Domo provides beautiful dashboard presentations, but if you want to extract that data from the Cloud, do your own analysis of it, save it as a file, send it as email it, etc., you could have a difficult time doing so.

High-Pressure Sales

As we mentioned, one of Domo’s pros is that they’re willing to spend a pretty penny to court prospective clients; but in return, they push hard for a signed contract. Once you’re in Domo’s crosshairs, you can count on hearing from them often. As a $613.7 million venture capitalist funded company, Domo’s investors expect the company to pull in high dollar contracts- so its sales reps are aggressive and also known to be rigid with regard to contract negotiation.

Our Bottom Line: The Pros and Cons of Domo

There’s a lot of hype about Domo; some of it is well deserved, some of it isn’t. For instance, Domo does an outstanding job of delivering appealing executive dashboards, and it’s landed a number of major clients. However, Domo’s current features and price point don’t deliver the value we think most businesses deserve.

If you’re considering Domo, it’s imperative that you do your due diligence and learn what other Cloud based, and non-Cloud based business intelligence solutions are on the market. We think you’ll find there are several BI tools that offer more features, for less expense.

We hope our review of Domo was helpful. If you’d like to learn about the pros and cons of other popular BI solutions, we encourage you to explore more straight talk reviews. Have you used Domo? If so, we’d enjoy hearing your thoughts about Domo’s pros and cons.

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  • m1lt

    Very helpful breakdown of the service.

    • davferg

      Thanks

  • RedLeader

    This has been very helpful, thanks! I was wondering what the costs were compared to other BI dashboards, so this is very informative and helpful in answering that question. The lack of ad-hoc reporting is a bi of a bummer too, but not unexpected, given what I’ve seen from competitors; it was more of a wishlist item.

    • davferg

      Thanks, I just updated the post with a recent confirmation of the pricing model. Appears you can get the services cost lower by doing some of the data prep yourself.

      • Volt Lover

        You might also want to know that Domo uses Java and doesn’t properly support 256 bit methods of encryption when pulling from an https source.

  • Doug

    There are much cheaper methods that you can do yourself, Microsoft’s cloud for example is a service you only pay for what you use (and it winds up being much cheaper than on-prem server purchases), and if you don’t want to learn their cloud there are companies like Xerva that will help you get set up. It’s a much less expensive path to the cloud.

    • davferg

      I think it comes down to how much technical expertise and resources you have to apply to it. I spoke to a recent customer who adopted the Domo platform and they are very happy with it. They love the ease after implementation and they basically paid Domo via services for the implementation (so that was easy for them too). It comes down with your budget and how much you can afford, but if you don’t have the kind of money needed you are correct there are other more affordable options.

      • Oz

        And this is one area where I think Domo is sleazy.
        Their social media campaign bashes Excel, as if Domo at $30K is a viable option.

        There are so many small businesses and nonprofits that already struggle with their data and are looking for something magical for handling their data. They’ve already got Excel and need to just deal with it. But when an entity like Domo comes along, seemingly confirming that spreadsheets are terrible, it’s false hope and a distraction.

        Domo also is secretive about their pricing. So, a person has to jump through hoops to find out, “oh, Domo ISN’T viable alternative for us.”

  • Gill Jennifer

    Regarding this from your article: “Domo (meaning “thank you” in Japanese)”- No, it does not mean “thank you” in Japanese. Please consult with a Japanese speaker before writing articles including things like this.

    “Domo” is a helper verb as in “very”. In English, we could say “Thank you, very much.” In Japanese, that would be like “Domo Arigato.” Or, “I’m very sorry” (in Japanese, using “domo” again). But “domo,” by itself, does NOT mean “thank you” in Japanese.

    • davferg

      Thanks for the feedback, looks like a correction or comment is needed on the Domo Wikipedia article that references that translation. Just goes to show the power of Josh James, if he says it means Thank You then the media thinks it does! like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domo_(company)

    • Neuro_nut

      Hi Gill, maybe you should do your homework before you critique, Domo is used all the time as basically the english equivalent of “thanks” – https://kojisensei.wordpress.com/8/

  • Great article and good summary of Domo.

    The irony is that most people who want to use BI tools such as Domo are frustrated business users who are tired of waiting on IT to create reports and dashboards for them. Having Domo do all the data preparation and dashboard creation for you creates the same problem people are trying to get away from; you just moved the bottleneck away from IT into the Domo cloud. Domo data prep and dashboard creation requires custom programming and scripting, just like IT demanded so users are again left on relying on others.

    I work for a BI consulting firm (unilytics.com) and we partner with various data visualization companies, but mostly Tableau. It lets you start at only $1600 for a single license along with an annual maintenance fee of $400. Yes, Domo costs about $50,000 minimum charge to get started and about $1500 per user after that. The 90/10 rule generally applies. There are products that do 90% of what Domo does at 10% the cost.

    As stated in this article cloud-based BI tools create challenges with non-web data. On premise tools such as Tableau, Qlik and others can easily deal with both web data and in-house data such as Excel SQL and many more.

    • davferg

      Good points Peder, agree completely. Yurbi is an on-premise tool that starts at $499 per user per year (and $2495 per concurrent user per year) and fits into that category of 90% of what Domo does at 10% of the cost. Nice way to put it.

    • Giridhar Rao

      Tableau online costs only $500/year/user (however you need to buy a perpetual Desktop license for about $2000 – needed to author dashboards & publish to tableau online). For a small business (my current & previous company) we were up & running within 3 months for as little as $5000 ($2000 for one desktop license & 6 Tableau online licenses)

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