Looker Review
Business users can create graphs, reports, and so on using Explore. Each analysis can be added to a dashboard to provide KPI reports.

Valuable Features

Looker is very flexible for BI. Business users can create graphs, reports, etc. using Looker's Explore functionality.

Looker offers incredible business visualization and analytical tools: graphs, charts, tables, and single numbers. Each analysis can be saved in a ‘Look’ and added to a dashboard for reporting purposes. We use these dashboards for KPI reports which are emailed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. These are essential for users to monitor their performance, indicate progress, and catch issues.

For instance, if I had data on users who ran a marathon, their times for each mile, and final time, I could create a table that organizes the runner by completion time. I could also visualize in a time series chart how each runner progressed through the race. I could have reports emailed whenever the most recent race occurred so that I could see the updated metrics that mattered to me.

Improvements to My Organization

Looker Transforms SQL with it’s LookML syntax. Looker provides end-users with visualization tools, Saved as individual “Looks” or grouped into a dashboard, so that it is easy to gain insights about their data. The UI is designed so that these users can easily choose what parameters are relevant to their queries, without knowing SQL to perform analysis. Admin’s can spend more time with advanced queries or thoughtful data visualization because Looker simplifies SQL logic for most queries.

Room for Improvement

Features related to visualization should continue to be improved. While these are strong as they are now, there's always a unique way to visualize data to improve your understanding about an organization.

For our use case (business intelligence, data visualization), Looker is fantastic. I suppose that being the best within a focused, valuable segment of the market is the most important thing, but for those who demand being the best at all sorts of data analysis, Looker could continue to expand its capabilities. For instance, they could offer 3D charts for even deeper insights. However, this might be outside the scope of expectations for this product.

I think that their features are impressive as is, and their product team continues to excel at creating features for users to extract interesting and actionable information from their data.

Use of Solution

I have been using Looker one year and 9 months.

Stability Issues

We did not encounter any issues with stability.

Scalability Issues

So far we did not encounter any issues with scalability. I'd imagine that issues with company data architecture and unthoughtful organization of Looker could hamper its effectiveness.

Customer Service and Technical Support

They're on top of their game. They are knowledgeable about their product and proactive in resolving issues.

Previous Solutions

This was our first BI product.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was fairly straightforward. Granting Looker write privileges to a replica database improves the ability to utilize advanced queries with reduced wait time via 'persisted derived tables'.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Review how you intend to use Looker. Is it purely internal? Will you have external clients viewing Looker reports? For both questions, how many people will need to have Looker access, and which reports are relevant to which people in the organization?

Other Solutions Considered

We did not evaluate other options before choosing this product.

Other Advice

You should know what it's good for. It's great for enabling business insights via its data visualization tools. Scheduled reports are fantastic for keeping teams updated on progress towards accomplishing goals or identifying issues before they become critical. Having someone who is experienced with SQL and intuition in UX write the LookML, so that it is easy for the familiar business user to explore the data to answer their questions. Looker's discourse offers deeper analysis opportunities that can guide analysts in better utilizing LookML as well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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