Looker’s intuitive approach to data exploration makes the spread of a curiosity-driven culture both efficient and effective. An intuitive, web-based interface enables business users to tap into the genius of your data analytics team. They can build and share reports on the fly, so other functional groups can benefit from the questions they’re asking and the knowledge they’ve created. And since the whole Looker experience delivers such satisfying results, they start looking to the data to drive their business decisions and activities.
At the heart of Looker data discovery is a new way to create these web-based experiences. Using a flexible easy-to-learn language called LookML, your data analysts can create mini-applications that add power and efficiencies to data exploration. The LookML syntax simplifies the development of robust models for any organization, while enhancing the capabilities of SQL. There’s no need to expend time and resources coding queries on an ad hoc basis or setting up complex business intelligence (BI) software platforms. This language-based approach results in faster query execution, optimizing performance along the way.
When I first saw Looker (during a long BI evaluation process where we demo'd perhaps 5-10 tools) I knew it was what I had been hoping for in a BI vendor. The ease of dragging dimensions and metrics onto a canvas, the fluid way that you could generate reports, and the simplicity of drilling down into the source data all suggested this was a tool that had been built well from the ground up.
Other vendors seemed to trap you into a narrow view of your metrics, but with Looker the only restrictions were the ones built into your data model. It could easily flex to accommodate whatever data you wanted to look at.
The LookML language and the way Looker is designed to interact with your data is pretty brilliant. Even a non-data scientist and non-SQL user like me could get the hang of the basics ;)
The range of options, the configurability, the flexibility...all aces. Really you only get stuck by your imagination, the tool is powerful enough that you can solve most problems if you have the know-how.
The team is also great. Awesome culture, friendly support.
They have a continual flow of new features and improvements.
You do need a good BI person or ETL developer to really get the most out of this tool.
Setting up your data model really well and going to the outer limits to solve some particularly difficult queries are all things I would have had a hard time doing without technical resources on the team.
Of course it's possible Looker helps with a lot of this during implementation; we pretty much controlled our own because we had the folks in house to do it.
We get to force-multiply our impact by making it easy for users in all departments to make data-driven decisions and help allow that to drive their day-to-day.
I love the customization of Looker, and that you can put large amounts of data into the hands of anyone -- in a way that makes sense [to them]!
While their product is great, it speaks volumes to the team. It's an amazing group of people that continue to receive feedback from their customers and iterate time and time again on their product. They truly care about data and their customers, and they want to empower them the best they can.
When modeling views, I wish you could define better filters for measures but it's limited. There are workarounds, meaning modeling out several additional dimensions to arrive at the measure you need to pull regularly, but it'd be much more efficient to allow for measures to be more nuanced.
Large dashboards (with 25+ tiles) can take awhile to load, which is understandable. Once their "merge results" feature is fully rolled out and we're able to save them as new tiles or looks, it should help resolve the need for so many tiles.
Neither of these two things are a big deal, and I wouldn't let this deter you from considering this software.
It's a great product for giving people in all departments of your company access to data and allow them to explore what your data can provide. Rather than having to always go to the Business Intelligence or Analytics team, people of any level can query data without any SQL knowledge or understanding and yield results that are either directly actionable or ask more questions that can be answered using Looker. We ran an initial 30 days trial with a view that only our analysts and BI team members would use it. By the end of the 30 days, everyone from the COO down to the account teams were using it. It's amazing.
Furthermore, the vendor is smart, responsive and constantly improving the product, delivering a new version approximately every month. Their customer service is second-to-none and they are always happy to hear about new features that you need in the product. Very pleased overall with their service, strategy and plan to expand our use of them to our clients over the next few months.
Looker are still very heavily US based. They have just started an EU office, but support is still largely limited to US West Coast hours (although they seem to wake up at stupid o'clock to deal with some of our issues and plan to have support in the EU soon).
Looker is quickly becoming our go-to for reporting and dashboarding for anything requiring more than one data source (and some that are based on just one). Paired with a kick-ass centralized data warehouse (we use Snowflake), Looker lets us roll things out very quickly (provided our data infrastructure is in good shape). It did take a while to get going with Looker because it lays on top of the existing data infrastructure. Now that we have quite a bit of strong infrastructure in place in our centralized data warehouse, we are able to produce data products in Looker quite quickly.
Provisioning security allows us to control the user experience (and only show users things they would actually care about). This makes a dashboard or data product rollout far smoother. Additionally, the customer support (especially through the chat interface) is absolutely fantastic. Because Looker creates a custom URL for each explore you're working on, you can share with Customer Support your exact problem and work together to find a solution.
Looker Sales told us beforehand that it "writes the most performant SQL possible." I have not found this to be the case, as it often casts and does a few other things (I suspect to make it runnable no matter how you've set up your data). There are some limitations on the visualizations, etc., but Looker Customer Service has been super responsive when those come up.
Our business users love the self-serv options that this provides. It drastically cut down the effort our analysts have to spend answering routine questions and allow them to focus more on the value added activities.
Things I like about this product:
1. Ease of use by our users - very intutive
2. Integration with our big data platform and databases. We use ours with Redshift and Aurora and they take most advantage of both systems.
3. Their super awesome customer support - always available chat who are really good at what they are doing.
4. Custom install options along with their hosted solutions.
5. Their whole team is involved with the product and customers top down. Really appreciate their responsiveness and customer-centric approach.
We really don't care about visualizations, but that can use some improvement to those who care.
The LDAP integration setup is a pain. It works well once it's all setup.
There is no roll-back once a version is installed. Work around is to restore from a backup. Would love to be able to do that as sometimes things don't always work the way we are used to and might require a rollback.
Contact Looker for pricing information.
With Looker, it's not necessary to ETL or cube data. Because we operate 100% in-database, data is transformed at query time, so drill-paths are unlimited and infinite, leading to true data discovery.
Below are some frequently asked questions for Looker.
Looker offers the following pricing plans:
Pricing model: Subscription
Free Trial: Not Available
Contact Looker for pricing information.
Looker offers the following features:
Looker has the following typical customers:
Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business, Non Profit, Small Business
Looker supports the following languages:
Looker has the following pricing plans:
We do not have any information about what devices Looker supports
Looker integrates with the following applications:
Alooma, Dropbox, Empulse, HipChat, Improvado, Kustomer, LoginRadius, Panoply, Workable, Xplenty
Looker offers the following support options:
FAQs, Forum, Knowledge Base, Online Support, Video Tutorials