Having just announced their seed funding of $8.4 million, it couldn’t have been a better time to be joined by Lightdash Founder & CTO Oliver Laslett last Thursday night as part of our Analytics Engineering meetup!

Lightdash is a product that is able to instantly turn your DBT project into a full stack data platform – when an analyst writes the metric, the Lightdash product enables self-serve analytics for the entire business at a fraction of the cost of their competitors by integrating very tightly with DBT through a semantic layer.

Understanding data at times, is complex for a data professional, let alone us mere recruiters!

So when Oliver decided to use ‘making sandwiches’ as his metaphor for creating self-service analytics, I was thrilled. It made something so complex, simple! 🥪

The metaphor Oliver gave was a perfect example of how beneficial Lightdash is for a company driving insights through data compared to other visualization tools on the market. Oliver talked through the four stages of development given below:

We will compare a chef making sandwiches to an analyst providing data to the same “hungry” stakeholders…

You setup a sandwich stall in a building to serve stakeholders with the advantage that as the chef (analyst) you can cater for different requirements your customers have (e.g. white bread, brown, bread / the fraud department, sales department… etc.). However, very popular sandwich shops generate long ques through demand and in turn exhausts the chef (in this case the analyst). It is not sustainable nor scalable – exactly like an analyst providing data to different departments/stakeholders who have various deadlines and demands.

To counter the demand you set up a stall which allows stakeholders to make their own sandwiches with standardised ingredients, so you are free to manage your workload better.

“Hold on a minute, why don’t I just bring my own food in .. why do I have to spend my valuable time making my own sandwich when I have my own work to do…"

Let’s take this a step further then and curate a pre-cooked buffet where stakeholders can build their own sandwich in a matter of seconds from a selection of pre-prepared ingredients. Still messy, but it allows stakeholders to pick and choose a variety of options pre-set for them.

Eureka! Let’s create a buffet of curated prepared ingredients, categorised into stations with labels where people can take the building blocks of what makes a good sandwich for them.

Let’s take the sandwich buffet metaphor away for a minute and replace it with Lightdash. Lightdash’s solution to self-serve analytics is a curated selection of prepared building blocks that help stakeholders create tangible insights autonomously with common pre-set components built into the semantic layer.

With the building block filters in place this frees up the time of the analyst to work on other projects and improving the complexity of the platform.

Image below is demonstrating the “stations of the sandwich buffet and their relation to the Lightdash’s buffet”.

Lightdash are only growing and growing and they have truly nailed the pain points which a lot of BA’s and Data Analysts face on a daily basis. By providing another layer on top of SQL (the semantic layer) the core components can be curated as a preset allowing various departments to build tangible insights in a matter of minutes without any code needed.

As well as sandwich metaphors and self-serve analytics, they also are pretty passionate about the climate. Whilst Lightdash continues to grow they want to ensure the sustainable growth of the planet in conjunction. For every star they get on Github they will plant a tree!

We would like to personally thank Oliver and Lightdash for delivering such an engaging presentation and contributing to the success of the event and educating us on the different areas within analytics engineering and of course the power of the semantic layer.

📹 You can watch the video recording of Oliver's talk here.

(If anyone is interested and to the annoyance of everyone I work with my perfect sandwich would be a Tesco’s Simply Ham Sandwich – Not sure Lightdash could cater for such a complex set of ingredients)

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