Google Data Studio vs Domo: A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis

on BI Tool • July 23rd, 2020 • Write for Hevo

Introduction

Business Intelligence tools enable organizations to mine hidden insights from their customer data by letting them explore and visualize. They are an important part of the executive decision-making process. In the olden days, most business intelligence tools used to be desktop-based ones connecting to on-premise data sources. Cloud-based software-as-a-service offerings redefined the game and it was natural for business intelligence tools to also follow this paradigm. Even the traditional business intelligence tools like Power BI and Tableau now have cloud support.

Business intelligence tools are generally evaluated on the basis of their connector support, transformation abilities, data freshness configuration, etc. This post is a comparison between two popular cloud-based business intelligence tools based on such factors – Google Data Studio vs Domo.

What we will cover in this blog:

Understanding Google Data Studio

Data Studio is offered by Google along with the Google Cloud Platform. It provides an intuitive user interface that enables even the less experienced analysts to quickly create dashboards and reports. Reports and data extracts can be scheduled to automate them. Since it is built on top of the Google ecosystem, it provides tight integration with Google based data sources like Google Analytics and Google BigQuery. It also provides granular sharing and access control settings that are part of all the Google software products.

Data studio works on the basis of connectors. Connectors can be built-in, partner-based, or community-based. Combining all three Data Studio boasts a very healthy list of connectors including on-premise as well as cloud-based data sources. 

Understanding Domo

Domo is a completely managed cloud-based business intelligence tool. It comes with unlimited cloud storage and pricing is based on the number of users. Domo excels in its ability to create deeper visualizations when compared to traditional tools like Tableau and Power BI. Domo comes built-in with support for complex transformations and can act as a unified data store. It also bundles in a collaboration tool called buzz that allows you to have discussions about particular reports and cards. Domo offers an R plugin that takes its ability to transform and analyze data to a higher level compared to other cloud-based business intelligence tools. 

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Google Data Studio vs Domo

Now that we have a basic understanding of what each tool is capable of, let us analyze the tools from the perspective of choosing one for your organization. 

1. Ease of Use/Learning curve

Business intelligence tools are supposed to be used by expert analysts who know how to get the best out of their data using the options provided. Usually, there is a learning curve to understand the abilities of the tool and get the best out of them and Domo is no different.

Data Studio on the other hand is intuitive enough for even the most basic users to create their first dashboards in a few clicks. This is also due to the fact that Data Studio has fewer complex features and hence lesser to learn. If we consider this factor alone Google Data Studio has an advantage over Domo.

2. Data Exploration and Interactivity

Good business intelligence tools should have a comprehensive suite of built-in functions to analyze the data and arrive at insights. Domo has a larger number of functions available in this case. Data Studio even misses some of the basic functions like taking a sum considering both rows and columns. When compared to traditional business intelligence tools like Power BI and Tableau, Data Studio is severely limited. Domo provides better support but is still not equal to Tableau. Nevertheless, Domo allows you to create deeper visualizations when compared to Data Studio. 

3. Pricing

Data Studio is currently offered free of cost along with the Google Cloud Platform. You will need to pay for the storage and for any third-party connectors that you will be using. On the other hand, Domo is charged based on the number of users and the kind of support you need. They offer free trial periods, at the end of which you will need to pay for if you want to continue using it. They don’t disclose absolute terms of pricing and a sales call is needed for the same.

4. Connector Support

Since Data Studio is built on top of the Google app ecosystem, it integrates very well with Google based data sources like Google Analytics, Google Sheets, BigQuery, etc. But it does not do too well in case of other data sources. For example, Data Studio does not yet support excel data format and prefers Google Sheets instead. Preferring Google’s own implementations against standard data formats has always been a major drawback of a typical Google strategy.

Domo has comprehensive connector support for most data sources – Both on-premise and cloud-based. It also supports Google-based data sources like Google Analytics and Sheets. So in terms of connector support, Domo has an advantage over Data Studio. 

5. Data Freshness

Data Studio supports two types of connections – Live connections and data extracts. Live connections reload data every time a report is accessed. It is to be noted that Data Studio is primarily based on live connections. A problem with this approach is that, when there are complex functions or a large amount of data, reports take ages to load. The solution is to use data extracts, that are supported by some of the Google connectors.

Domo is primarily based on extracts and it provides support for scheduled extracts. Domo also supports adding watch files and then updating the data as and when a trigger happens. So there is nothing much to choose between these two offerings in case of data freshness.

6. Support for Real-time Dashboards

A typical use case of business intelligence dashboards is to project them on to common team boards and have the team notice the changes caused by their actions in real-time. Most analysts also have several other use cases where they want the most up to date data in the dashboard. Domo cards auto-update as and when there is new data changes without manual reloads. This is missing in Data Studio but can be worked around with browser extensions that refresh the page at set intervals. Needless to say, this is not exactly a great user experience. So in case of support for auto-updated real-time dashboards, Domo has an advantage. 

7. Collaboration Features

Data Studio inherits the granular sharing and access control mechanisms of Google apps. It is easy to share a report or dashboard with colleagues. Domo also offers collaboration features like sharing. It also offers a unique feature called buzz, that allows people to have discussions in the context of a particular card. This is essentially a chat feature that can be initiated based on specific cards. If you have a particular liking for Google’s sharing features, you can prefer Data Studio, otherwise, this parameter should not really affect the choice among the two.

8. Data Transformations

Data Studio supports a limited feature set in case of transformations and it is better to do it outside Data Studio if your data needs complex ones before building reports. Support for transformations in Domo is a lot better and it allows you to define ETL flows within the applications. Domo even has support for plugins using programming languages like R, which can be very useful for analysts.

That concludes the discussion on Google Data Studio vs Domo. To summarize, let us try to represent the scenarios where you will choose one among these.

When to Use Data Studio

You should prefer Google Data Studio if most of the below factors hold true in your case.

  • You are just starting out with business intelligence and quickly want to set up some reports.
  • You do not have a dedicated analysts team and don’t want to take up something with a steep learning curve.
  • You do not need complex functions support or transformations.
  • Your data sources are primarily based on Google ecosystem

When to Use Domo

You should use Domo if most of the below conditions are true for your use case.

  • You have expert analysts skilled enough to exploit all the features of Domo
  • You do not mind spending on a dedicated BI tool.
  • Your data comes from a variety of sources and you will prefer to have something with comprehensive connector support.
  • You need the depth of visualizations and interactivity provided by Domo. 
  • You will need complex transformations on your data before creating the reports and dashboards. 

Conclusion  

As is evident from the comparison above, there is no straight answer to the question of which one to choose. Both come with their advantages and drawbacks. The drawbacks in most cases can be worked around by using a good cloud-based ETL tool like Hevo.

Hevo supports both Data Studio and Domo. It can ingest data to both these systems from a number of sources and can augment the connector support if you find it lacking. It can also transform data on the move within a matter of few clicks. 

You can try Hevo for free here!

Share your thoughts on Google Data Studio vs Domo in the comments below!

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