Semantic layer

Why Semantic Layer is the next paradigm for BI

Unlike the modern data stack, BI hasn't evolved much in the last ten years. Here's why the Semantic Layer is the new paradigm we need to serve the data-driven companies of the future.

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarFebruary 2024

For the past ten years, we've had an analyst-centric workflow in BI, where analysts answer questions from the business and build content for others. This model absolutely works (I myself have trained some 40 analysts over the years), but it has some clear downsides. Give someone a dashboard and they immediately come back with more questions. As the demand to use data keeps increasing, playing the old game (essentially throwing more humans at the problem) is getting less and less appealing. That's why we got really excited about doing BI on the semantic layer, as it opens up a new way to think about BI.

Semantic BI

With a semantic layer, you can build a catalog of metrics and ship that to the organization. Using BI tools that are built natively for metrics, you can provide an experience that is so intuitive and flexible that your end users can now do their own BI. That means they can explore and analyze but also create content all on their own.

That's a change with some big implications - it means that we in the data team can take a step back and focus on the data model and the semantic layer and that all our end users can now do much more BI work themselves. You're essentially giving your end users a very flexible sandbox that has built-in consistency and - with the right tooling - is really easy to work with. We're seeing many of our stakeholders quickly fall in love with the flexibility and user experience we can now give them.

The semantic stack - dbt, Cube & Steep

Now is an exciting time to get into the semantic movement. dbt labs launched its new semantic layer at Coalesce in October, the standalone alternative Cube has developed into a mature platform, and there are now tools like Steep that are built natively for the semantic layer. The technologies in this new stack work well together, and skills in one translate well over to alternatives. As of last year, you can realistically go all-in and serve even a large, data-hungry organization using this new paradigm.

Join the semantic movement

  • Are you onboard the analytics engineering train?
  • Do you need to serve a lot of data-hungry users in an efficient way?
  • Are you curious about the semantic way of doing BI?

All good reasons to get started with your semantic layer and rethink your BI for the next era.


Get a demo

Get in touch with us for a demo of Steep.

Contact us →

Start using Steep now

Download one of our apps or launch Steep in your browser to get started.

App Store Google Play

More posts

Semantic layer

Targets & BI - How hard can it be?

TL;DR: Adding targets to your BI visualizations remains unreasonably hard. It frustrates your business controller peers while draining your team's time. Current approaches are essentially hacks and the time has come for a proper solution.Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarFebruary 2024
Product update

New in Steep: dbt integration

We’ve teamed up with dbt Labs to bring you a complete semantic stack! With the new integration, you can now connect Steep to the dbt Semantic Layer via dbt Cloud. This lets you build your semantic layer with code in dbt Cloud and publish your metrics to all your end users in Steep.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundJanuary 2024
Product update

New in Steep: Cube integration

We have partnered up with the good folks at Cube to bring you a powerful semantic combo. With the new Steep + Cube integration you can now connect Steep to an external semantic layer powered by Cube. Build your semantic layer with code in Cube, and publish your metrics to all your end users in Steep.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundJanuary 2024
Product update

New in Steep: Filters in reports

This month, we're rolling out filters in reports, a powerful feature designed to add a layer of flexibility to your reporting experience.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundDecember 2023
Data culture

Analytics for startups

If you're running a startup and thinking about your data setup - good news! Getting started is not that hard anymore, and you don't need a data specialist. This is how we did it at Steep.Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarNovember 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Tables

This month, we’re introducing powerful and intuitive tables that work like you expect in 2023.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundNovember 2023
Data culture

When building a data culture - start with getting teams focused on impact

One of the big frustrations I’ve had as a data leader is working with teams that are too busy shipping to care about impact and analysis. Here’s my approach.Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarNovember 2023
Data culture

Why data leaders have the hardest job in tech

I’ve been an analytics leader three times over, and my friends - we sure didn't choose this job because it’s easy!Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarOctober 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Search, caching and more

Wondering what we’ve been working on lately? Check out the latest updates below. Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundOctober 2023
Semantic layer

dbt MetricFlow - semantic layer 2.0

dbt is doubling down on the semantic layer and this time it’s serious.Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarOctober 2023
Inside Steep

How we ended up building a Notion for data

The other day Janne, one of the developers on the team, turned around and said - oh I just got totally mixed up, I thought I was in Notion but I was actually in Steep!Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarSeptember 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Next-level analysis

This month we’re introducing more ways to analyze, combine and visualize your metrics, all in one place.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundSeptember 2023
Company update

The new Steep

The product has come a long way in two years, the mission remains the same.Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarSeptember 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Reports reimagined

This month we are bringing you a whole new way to create, collaborate and communicate with data - introducing the new Reports.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundJune 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Metrics catalog and joins

This month we are introducing new ways of bringing order to your metrics and more flexibility defining metrics with joins. Read on for more. Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundMay 2023
Product update

New in Steep: dbt integration and more

Steep has partnered up with dbt to provide a best-in-class metrics integration. But that’s not all. Read on for more exciting updates.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundApril 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Team spaces, Help center

This month we are making it easier to grow with Steep using Team spaces, launching a completely new Help center, as well as adding a few nice visualization improvements.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundMarch 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Demo mode, Mac app and much more

Trying out Steep is now easier than ever with the introduction of demo data. There are plenty of new features this month, so make sure you read to the end for a special treat 🍰Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundFebruary 2023
Product update

New in Steep: Rank, compare, custom templates

The year is coming to an end and we are wrapping up with a whole bunch of new features and improvements. Our focus has been on enabling even more teams to be able to use Steep as well as new ways of gaining insights from your data. A big thanks to all of you for this year! Let's get to the news.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundDecember 2022
Product update

New in Steep: New edit mode, permissions

Early last month marked the public release of Steep. Thanks to everyone who signed up and got started so far. Please keep the feedback coming! We have not been idle in the meanwhile and there is a a whole bunch of news to share - so let's get right to it.Read more...

Nino Höglund
Nino HöglundNovember 2022
Announcement

Announcing Steep

Im very glad to share the next step in our journey with Steep - announcing that we raised €1M pre-seed round co-led by Alliance and Inventure, and that today we are launching Steep to general access!Read more...

Johan Baltzar
Johan BaltzarOctober 2022
© Steep Analytics
Stockholm, Sweden
We don't use cookies