As long-time users of dbt ourselves, we at Hex have benefited first-hand from the way it empowers teams to build and manage data assets. Now, building Hex, we're seeing the way dbt transforms workflows for hundreds of shared customers, which unlocks value up and down the stack.
Today, we're excited to announce a formal partnership between dbt Labs and Hex, explain how we're integrating our products, and share stories about the value customers are realizing as a result.
By putting data transformation in the hands of SQL users, dbt changed the game. Similarly, the Hex analytics workspace democratizes analytics through its “low floor, high ceiling” philosophy: It’s accessible and easy for novice users with no-code and SQL capabilities, yet sophisticated and flexible to support advanced users with Python and R. In Hex, all of these things – and users – can work together in one place.
dbt and Hex are empowering users to tackle more of their end-to-end workflows. This ultimately allows them to move faster. But there’s always a fine line when it comes to balancing the pressure to move fast against the responsibility to ensure governance and trust in the data stack. It is this tension that Hex and dbt are working together to resolve.
You can have all of the data in the world, and an amazing team that’s equipped to do transformation, exploration, and analysis (using tools like dbt and Hex of course) – but it’s all for naught if you aren’t sure whether the data can be trusted or that people are interpreting it in the same way.
Data teams: Breathe a sigh of relief! Together, dbt + Hex simplify the end-to-end analytics process while ensuring trust in the data sets and their outputs. Here’s what we’ve actually done and why.
First, we built a straightforward connection between dbt Cloud and Hex, allowing Hex to pull metadata from transformation to the analytics layer. dbt metrics on freshness, tests, and column descriptions flow right into Hex’s database schema browser where analysts, data scientists and data engineers write queries.
Exposing this metadata right in the analytics frontend improves trust in data sources, and means analysts don't have to take it on faith that invisible processes are keeping things up to date. It reduces mental load and allows data practitioners to stay in the creative flow, where they do their best work.
Next, we were launch partners integrating with dbt’s Semantic Layer, which is a new way for analytics engineers to define consistent, governed metrics as part of their transformation pipelines. At the heart of this integration is a new Metrics Cell in Hex: an easy-to-use UI that lets anyone access trusted, governed metrics, without writing any code. Users can specify metrics, dimensions, and time grains, and get back a data frame that they can use to analyze, visualize, and share. Hex’s integration makes metrics usable for everyone to ask and answer questions, with high trust that they’re looking at the data the right way.
And the Semantic Layer integration unlocked one more magical thing: the ability to write dbt-flavored SQL right in Hex. People can use refs, macros, and sources directly in their queries in Hex.
Many shared customers are reaping the benefits of our integration, including Bluecore, personalization platform for the world's largest retailers, and live shopping platform Whatnot.
Whatnot replatformed their data stack to focus on SQL-first offerings that would increase analyst output, drive collaboration, and make it easier to scale their data team. By standardizing on a stack that delivers trusted and governed data, Whatnot’s data team is moving from idea to production 4-8x faster, end-to-end workflows are simplified and widely accessible, and new analytics engineering hires are pushing code to production within a week of onboarding.
“dbt and Hex make the data development environment so much easier to work with than any other combination of tools,” said Emmanuel Fuentes, head of Machine Learning and Data Platforms at Whatnot. “Since it’s all native, we don’t need to wait for or build a custom adapter. I can instead focus on scaling my team, and building the best live shopping platform.”
When Bluecore built their data stack on BigQuery, dbt, and Hex, their goal was to create a central source for quality data, analytics tooling, and process.
A big win from Bluecore’s data stack has been a revenue forecasting model that’s used by their Existing Business team to manage renewals, and it has earned the trust of the Customer Success org as well.
“A lot of people in Sales don't want to use tools like this,” said Adam Whitaker, their GTM Analytics Lead. “We've been challenged a number of times from these folks… People who were total doubters have said, ‘You know, this saves me a ton of time.’ That’s where the benefit of focused documentation and enablement really shows through.”
The first-class integration between Hex and dbt brings trust and relief to the analytics process, which ultimately allows analytics engineers, data scientists and business analysts to work faster and deliver an outsized impact to the business.