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How Sigma Is Empowering Devs, Engineers, and Architects With Cloud-Native Analytics

Sigma CEO Mike Palmer reveals how the company's cloud-native platform transforms data analytics for developers, engineers, and architects.

Turning raw data into actionable insights has long been a complex and time-consuming challenge for developers, engineers, and architects. Sigma Computing is on a mission to change that with its innovative cloud-native data analytics platform built on Snowflake.

"Snowflake is the first time many enterprises can see all the data in one place," says Mike Palmer, Sigma's CEO. "Sigma's role is to make that data consumable to all the people who might be interested in it." 

Bringing Data to the Masses

A key part of Sigma's value proposition is meeting users where they are in terms of skills. While SQL remains the standard for database querying, Palmer notes that "the vast majority of people actually, if you had to pick a single skill, work in spreadsheets."

To bridge this gap, Sigma allows users to interact with large datasets using familiar spreadsheet-style interfaces while supporting SQL, Python, and natural language queries. "The goal here is, we've deployed Snowflake, how do we take the goodness of all that data to a maximum possible audience," Palmer explains.

But Sigma goes beyond just access, enabling true collaboration. "When everybody can work in a single platform, you can do collaborative things you couldn't do beforehand," says Palmer. "So in Sigma, a developer who writes in Python and builds some form of data science work can share that with somebody that interacts in a spreadsheet, without ever knowing each other." This seamless sharing of data assets helps break down silos and gets more value from data initiatives.

Empowering Devs To Drive Business Value

For many devs and engineers, a major frustration is seeing their hard work go to waste. "The thing that developers want the most in the end is that someone uses their work," asserts Palmer. "If they work on something for six months, and it never sees the light of day, that's demoralizing." 

Sigma solves this by making it simple for anyone in an organization to find and leverage the data products developers create. "Because everyone has an interface to this product, they can now share, promote, and encourage the work they're creating to be adopted across the enterprise," Palmer explains. This reduces the burden of routine requests and helps devs see the impact of their efforts.

"Sigma's ability to deliver enhancements within your platform has driven tremendous operational and efficiency gains for us," says Erik Mitchell, CEO and Founder of Seek Data, a Sigma customer and partner. "When our customers ask for new BI and visualization capabilities, Sigma delivers and, in many cases, is ahead of the curve. This improves our ability to support our customers meaningfully, making it a great partnership."

Powering the Next Generation of Data Products

As data becomes an increasingly important business asset, Palmer sees a major shift underway. "Folks are creating data products externally — how do we take all this data we have and give information to many people who want it." He cites the example of a bank monetizing anonymized credit card transaction data to share with investors and retailers interested in spending trends. 

"These are now web applications where data is the primary value proposition," Palmer elaborates. "Sigma allows that developer to create an experience around that data product, where we take care of all the Core Data Manipulation features, and the developer creates a wider customer experience." This demonstrates how Sigma empowers not just internal analytics but also the creation of new data-driven apps and services.

Simplicity Without Sacrificing Governance

Strong data governance is necessary as data privacy regulations tighten and security threats grow. Some platforms achieve simplicity by sacrificing control, but Palmer emphasizes that this isn't the case with Sigma. "One key differentiator is that we never move data out of the database. Everything customers create to understand who gets access and what they're able to see is seamlessly inherited." 

This means devs can set governance policies once in Snowflake and trust they will be consistently enforced across all data access and analytics through Sigma. "You check the box once, and it's on all the systems," Palmer notes. "That's one less thing for developers to worry about."

R.J. Laabs, a Business Intelligence Analyst at customer Talroo, attests to the importance of these controls. "Before Sigma, people wrote SQL code directly into production databases. That's a scary scenario, and things can go wrong. No one wants to be responsible for databases grinding to a halt or running queries at the wrong time."

A Vision for the Future of Analytics

Palmer sees Sigma playing a vital role as enterprises embrace AI and build new data-driven experiences. "Cortex lives in a complicated world, deep inside Snowflake, but the people who want to consume prediction need access to that," he says. "We create the integration point, so a marketer can make predictions around SQL generation based on the Cortex algorithm. They can consume that in a table and leverage it in something they know how to build."

And as data ecosystems grow more interconnected, Sigma aims to be the collaboration layer. "What's coming is seamless intercompany interactions," Palmer predicts. "Like in retail, how do I understand inventory across my supply chain? We are now making available data across these partners in the same datasets."

For developers, engineers, and architects, Sigma is opening up new possibilities to drive value from data. "Our partnership with Sigma has accelerated our platform journey to more than 12 months while also impacting the day-to-day capabilities and execution of every one of our clients," says Seek Data's Mitchell. With a powerful platform and a bold vision, Sigma is poised to help define the future of analytics.


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