Introduction to Beast Mode in Domo

Rod Jacka - Monday, December, 11, 2017

This will probably be a familiar scenario: you need to create some charts based on a dataset which almost has what you need, but not quite.

The fundamental data is there but you need extra columns for profit and margin but really don’t want to wait for a new extract. This is where you would use Domo’s Beast Mode.

Beast Mode in Domo is the same as a calculated field – it’s a way to create a new column of data based on the existing data.

As a simple example say we have this dataset:

A new Beast Mode for profit would look like this:

Which produces the new virtual column for Profit:

A Beast Mode for margin looks like this:

And produces the new Margin column:


The Beast Modes can then be used in a chart:

Why use a Beast Mode over an ETL Transform?

The above example is a simple one where adding the calculated columns in an ETL transform (such as MagicETL) would be trivial, but there are a number of advantages to working with Beast Modes:

  1. Beast Modes dynamically calculate the values. You will come across situations where the values need to be calculated on the fly based on time range or dynamic filters. Baking these calculated values into the dataset would be troublesome or simply impossible.
  2. Beast Modes don’t mess with your dataset. Change control of a transform needs to be managed carefully to ensure accuracy of the resulting dataset. Once a transform has been ‘signed off’ and accepted as correct it should not be touched again without testing and QAing the changes. This is an important but laborious process.
  3. Beast Modes are only visible in the card they’re required for. Even though you can save Beast Modes to a dataset we recommend you don’t, unless it will be used consistently across multiple cards. Saving the Beast Modes in the cards reduces the clutter of dimensions and metrics when creating new cards.

Can Beast Modes be used instead of ETLs?

No. There are many things that a Beast Mode can’t do which must be completed in an ETL. For example:

  1. Combining metrics from multiple datasets into a single output dataset. Cards can only show the columns from a single dataset.
  2. Changing column types (eg from text to date).
  3. Ranking functions (eg ranking values as position 1, 2, 3).
  4. Many, many other functions.

What Beast Mode functions are available?

If you are familiar with SQL then Beast Mode won’t be much of a leap. If not, don’t worry as it’s quite simple, however the simplicity can sometimes be a challenge when you are trying to achieve a complex outcome.

The full list of functions can be found here:

Top tip: Take some time to skim read each one to be aware of what’s available even if you don’t know how to use them all.

This is your toolbox. If you’re building a house and need to cut some wood then you’ll have a very difficult time if you don’t know that such a thing as a saw exists. Know your tools.


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