The perfect solution for our stage business
I could not be happier with Looker. My one hesitation in recommending it is that other tools seemed to be able to provide 80% of the value at 20% of the cost, but I've only demoed those tools and not actually used them so I'm not sure if they could actually deliver.
Looker is incredibly easy to use for a casual user, which most of our users are. As soon as your email is activated, you have access to the product and new users need very little direction to start getting value out of it.
Relative to other BI tools, the advanced charting functionality is somewhat limited, but frankly that's not the main reason we bought Looker. Data scientists can use another tool of their choice, we have Looker for people who aren't data scientists.
Does the Job
Overall, my experience was positive. It houses all are our data and works much like a pivot table in creating reports and visuals.
I like that I can create reports and program the system to sent them out on s recurring basis to myself, colleagues and even people outside the organization.
I found that initially learning to use the system was a little more challenging. The design of it did not feel as intuitive as I would have expected.
Controlled Analytics Exploration
Like I said, it's a great tool for analysts that don't need a lot of flexibility or maybe just aren't used to working with a lot of data. To get the full value out of this software, you'll need a core group of experienced Data Analysts that can learn fast (to learn Lookers Table Calculation code which is similar to SQL) who can build a bunch of dashboards and views. You really don't want people who aren't savvy with data doing a lot of the creating because measures are always aggregated based on the dimensions you pull into each table...if a user forgets to add a specific dimension then measures could show the wrong value. This could be offset by having really good developers who architect the data in a way that doesn't allow this to happen.
It's a great data exploration tool for users who normally would get anxious when given a large dataset in something like Excel. It's generally simple to use and there can be unlimited Viewers (users at the lowest permissions level) through the enterprise product. Data Visualization is essentially done for you and Exploers (users at the second level of permissions) can build new visualizations & turn them into interactive dashboards.
On the Looker platform, Explorers can locate a view (called an Explore) and then are given a list of dimensions and measures they can pull into a table. Users can create new dimensions using calculated fields and then save their views so any users with Viewer permissions (and up) can see what was put together.
With simplicity comes lack of flexibility. More skilled data analysts will want more flexibility than Looker can provide but at the same time you need to have highly skilled Data Analysts to be the Developers (high level of permissions) to set up the data so that less skilled analysts (the users who benefit from Looker most) who are Explorers don't build views that grossly misrepresent the data.
My biggest pet peeve with this software as an Explorer is that you cannot make calculations on the base data...only the data that you pull into your table (called table calculations). That is a major feature that Tableau has that Looker does not have at the Explorer permission level. Of course developers can use LookML (Lookers data language) to create a new column...but a Developer license is more expensive and creating the fields take time and it's something you constantly will need.
Looker provides great insight
Looker has been a great and useful tool for out business. Where we've found challenges is in the specific data dictionary and set-up, which internally was not well prepared prior to implementation.
The ability to compare data from different sources in one place is great - this allows us to better understand our user base, their performance on our platform - everything from health to revenues and the nuances we use to grade and measure our users.
Looker provides lots of flexibility in its set-up, but that could create confusion in the user experience. You need to really know what you're doing, understand data and its presentation to set Looker up to be most optimal. If would be great if Looker could visualize better, and also allow for over time analysis.
Looker allows everyone in your company, even the less tech-savvy, to make data-driven decisions.
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.
Data Models, Security, and Amazing Customer Support
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.
I work as the lead BI developer and Administrator of Looker at my company.
For your developers, the customer service is superior. They also do a great job reaching out to your primary users. With respect to frontend users, those using it for simpler data retrieval/review, their interface is rather easy to use and logical to work through. They do a lot to make the system as simple as possible. Only your BI developers and/or data engineering team can clutter the space.
If you decide to purchase the non-customized version, the color palette Looker uses is rather bland (More noticeable to executives and heavy users-most users will be fine with it though). The company's integrations are rather limited, but supposed to improve with Looker 5 (via the Action Hub). However, it seems that most integrations will require purchasing from third parties, instead of being a Looker hosted and "controlled" solution you purchase through them. That complicates the process.
A great tool for exploring data
I user Looker every day to create dashboards that I share within the company. At the same time I use Looker to analyze data on ad hoc requests
It's really easy to create dashboards and reports. Even though we need to code some things it allows to be really flexible in the way you create and display data.
I had to learn more technical information, the code, and how to work with development and live versions of the models.
Good for reporting the team stats
Overall my experience with Looker is very good, just a few things could be tweaked for it be perfect. E.g easier to follow filtering and layout.
We use Looker to gather data for team productivity and statistics. Easy to view and the dash boards show all the information we need for our partner venues too at a glance.
When filtering data on looker it can be quite long winded and the layout I feel good be improved to make it clearer.
Powerful for the Data Scientist, Friendly for the Business User
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.
Looker transforms companies
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).
We've been using Looker since about an year. Our leadership loves it!
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.
Provides valuable insights for all users (Technical and End Users)
This software has truly put our leadership team above the benchmark with data efficiencies and making informed data driven decisions.
Looker is incredibly easy to use, and it easily scales with your technical abilities. As an Analyst, I can create very easy to use self serve reports for stakeholders. This saves time and effort for both parties. Looker also has a very intuitive way of organizing data and letting you quickly visualize data in your warehouse. It is reliable and the data visualization options are abundant. Our leadership team is miles ahead of others I've seen because of how quickly they were able to learn how to use Looker.
I don't necessarily see this as a con, however I think there is a big opportunity to help guide some new users through some of the more technical setup of Looker. I relied on a mentor to help take me through LookML and Models/Explores, but I would have loved to have some in product help with this.
A game changing data tool
Looker is a game changing tool insofar as it provides a 21st century approach to data tooling that massively amplifies how organisations can get access to, explore and power applications through data without making sacrifices from an accuracy perspective. Looker's company culture is fantastic and the focus on customer support really helps to extent the impact of the product itself.
* LookML because it enables a scalable semantic layer wherein business rules can be defined in a single place and logic is code based thereby enabling version control, testing and auditing.
* Extendability because the data platform focus enables businesses to serve data to applications and people through a single component
* Customer experience focus
* It can be hard to navigate the huge volumes of content that users build on Looker and find the canonical/VIP products that are the foundation for any company
Looker has allowed us to make clean, consistent data for all of our campaigns available across our agency and externally to clients. This has significantly sped up the reporting process and increased the amount of time that we've been able to put into actual analysis. Also appreciate that Looker is constantly adding new functionality, and looking forward to see more chart types and integrations with other sources in the future.
Looker has been a game changer for us. It connects easily to our database and allows internal users to dig into our data and optimize media campaigns without having to write SQL code. The dashboards are easy to create and customize, and the fact that it can be embedded into a website allows us to share with clients without having to mess around with permissions.
Not exactly a con, but we tend to join most of our tables and clean our data in snowflake rather than Looker, so I can't speak to the advanced develop/derived table features.
When analytics becomes part of your operations -
Looker made it sexy for BI developers, and intuitive easy to use for business user.
Their support is extremely knowledgeable and always available if you need any help.
Their engineers are brilliant and their hard work is allowing frequent releases that are going in the right directions.
Looker is customer driven and will deliver what makes sense for every user.
We love the creativity and flexibility this tool is offering us, as we are able to manipulate LookML to create anything, from data extract to Process automation.
Their growth is EXPONENTIAL.
Their Doc is well maintained so you are never lost.
Their community became part of their offering, you cannot find this elsewhere.
We have been satisfied since day 1!
I dislike the fact that our internal users are not curious enough (or don't get it) to explore data on their own. Maybe a different UI would help people discover on their own.
Looker has helped us provide higher quality information to our users in a more attractive and efficient manner. Our users are able to customize and share content in ways they couldn't before. Looker has eliminated manual report runs in many cases and definitely has created efficiencies that save time and money.
Looker allows you to work with virtually any data warehouse, and setup is not difficult. LookML is easy to work with, and allows non-developers to create content for their teams. Embedding Looker in our web app was relatively painless, and is a big improvement over our prior reporting system. Sharing content is super easy with scheduled reporting, and the variety of formats gives us solutions for different types of users.
I would like to see more visualization options, and enhanced capabilities with scheduling.
Finally a flexible reporting tool that is not a nightmare to maintain
So many things are done right:
- The simplicity of creating a meta schema using lookml, the learning curve is lightning fast
- The flexibility of the system, making data available to intern customer has never been so easy
- The support team is really knowledgeable and fast to answer
- The roadmap is clear and moving forward as a great speed. Most missing features that we have in mind are usually in development when we ask
- A really fun team, every meeting with looker is always a pleasure
Even if the team is moving fast and offering more and more features, they still lack on some of them. Mainly on dashboards.
It went a long way since the early days and now I'd say that 95% of our needs are covered.
On the other hand, their releases are so fast it's hard to keep track with all that was already implemented, the documentation is always a bit behind and searching for something precise on the discourse page can be a nightmare.
All your data, visualized
Great data visualization platform that opens up so many options and possibilities.
Looker's customizable dashboards are the heart and soul of the platform, and the most valuable part in my opinion. I can (and do) create dashboards for almost everything, from customer engagement, to content performance, and even technical metrics of a web application. This freedom to track and visualize almost any data source within a business is just incredible, and well worth the steep learning curve.
Looker can aid in team productivity as well. We use quarterly dashboards to track key metrics, so that everyone can see (in real-time!) how our organization is doing. It's very encouraging for the team to actually see progress over time in a chart, rather than just hearing/reading numbers.
Looker can feel clunky. This is not just because you need to know SQL to really use it well, but because the UI is slow, on occasion. Granted, if your data warehouse is slow/enormous, Looker can only do so much. But even for regular data analytics tasks, it can be sluggish.
Also, I do not like some of the predefined formatting for graphs/charts/visuals. The size-to-information ratio seems way off at times, but perhaps this is customizable and I have not discovered the settings yet.
Best in class and exactly as advertised
We've had a great experience with Looker, both the product itself and the company supporting it, and I'm very happy with our decision. It's easy to use for both admins and end users, and when we do have an issue there's usually been a
Looker is extremely intuitive and accessible for end users. This has made training and driving adoption across the company a breeze. It has really opened up our data to a huge number of non-technical users. Their customer support is also excellent.
As part of our evaluation we trialed several other providers that I think would have provided about 80% of the value at a dramatically lower cost. For our organization it made sense to go with the best in class, but for a more cost-constrained organization there might be better options out there.
Great self-service reporting tool
I started using Looker in Feb 2018 and have found it to be a very useful tool. We use this as our main analytical reporting tool at the moment and I only expect things to improve with the upcoming acquisition by Google.
YAML like LookML
Ability to have comprehensive data models
Ease of training users to self-serve user defined Dashboards and Looks
Great usage statistics via the System and User Activity explores
The visualizations need to catch up quite a bit so they look more professional grade a-la nytimes style story telling viz. Can accomplish more sophisticated things using API for sankey or other visualizations but these need additional work. Ability to run cross DB queries in case of multiple warehouses / data marts.
Looker makes BI & analytics easy
Looker allows you to get up and running quickly with it's prototyping capability and LookML functionality. It makes it easy for our enterprise data team to get data in front of the customer quickly while then going behind the scenes and adding it to our data warehouse. It's ease of use and value for the money allows it to meet our needs as our corporate BI/analytics tool!
Ease of use, monetary value and ability to prototype and show data quickly. Their CS team (our account exec and technical support rep are amazing) and support are the best vendors I've ever worked with.
Performance issues, it's a new product so some standard features it's missing - around mapping separate projects together, some access/security features, and lack of self-service model layer.
Using Looker at a growing running shoe company
We are solving the problem of inadequate information around all sales-related procedures and processes - from selling at market doors, supply chain and inventory, to online digital acquisition and sales, to internal finance and accounting of corporate business.
We have benefitted greatly from Looker by making information quickly accessible to people making decisions and allowing the possibility for them to explore information.
- Flexibility - With effective use of Looker's Permission and User Attribute features I can be sure that when a certain user (lets say, a sales agent) logs in and views a dashboard they will automatically see information relating to sales accounts that they directly manage or not any irrelevant information.
- Getting users to go beyond simply making tables with many observations and instead visualising summary information creatively with charts and graphs.
Easy, Flexible, Effective Data Analysis
Looker is an excellent tool. I highly recommend it! While it requires some setup at the start, it ultimately saves time by empowering non-technically skilled coworkers to analyze data on their own!
Looker allows data to be accessible by team members who do not have technical skills like SQL or Python. It's user interface is easy to use; quickly and easily one can have impressive visualizations encompassing complex data sets. Looker is a powerful tool, useful for adding data visualizations to reports, making data-driven business decisions, and any other task requiring you to analyze data. Looker has also put out a great series of instructional videos which are helpful in learning how to use the program optimally.
The initial setup and development of Looker requires time, attention, and work. The software is a great user interface to access data, but configuring the program to access your data requires a lot of programming, troubleshooting, and general work from the data science team. The utility of the program is definitely worth the work, but you should not expect to begin using the program as soon as you get it--it requires some setup.