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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The models, explores and looks are very easy to navigate once all set up. The SQL runner is a great feature that helps with querying the datasets that are available before diving in and creating explores. Dashboarding and sharing reports are also very easy with Looker. It makes increasing data visibility in the organisation very easy.
The visualisation features have come a long way over the years but sometimes it is still hard to customise visualisations.
The looker team has great customer service. They are flexible and easy to reach. The chat feature in the product is awesome, as it quickly connects you to a Customer Success rep who can help you with pretty much anything!
The cost for this product is quite high compared to other BI tools. Also, this product requires a full time data engineer to keep the backend of the product to build new data models.
Even non technical people, get excited to use this product once they know how!
Incredible data visualizations
Allows me to automate and optimize processes
The friendliest and most helpful customer service
Loading dashboards can be very slow
Validating code can sometimes take forever
Occasional bugs make it temporarily go down for the entire company
Being able to distribute limited customized data reports to over 2,000 people!
They are always improving the product and taking my requests seriously. I have been using it for 2 years, and all of my requests have been met.
Sometimes the requests take time, and with all the software updates, sometimes the documentation is a little lacking, but support is always there to help.
Looker has allowed my company to organized and dig deeper into data that we collect in our CRM. You can really get down to the specific details of things. I like that you can easily create a look whenever needed and have the option to not save it if it's not needed again. I also like LookerBot for Slack.
It definitely has a bit of a learning curve. I still struggle with creating some reports but as someone who is not data-centric I've learned how to use it pretty well
- It's pretty easy to work with once you have a working sample
- Creating a chart is simple and creating a dashboard is very intuitive - you can just explore and save a few looks to your dashboard in a single run.
- Warns about errors right on the spot when editing a view
It's just not very mature yet. I don't see why I should hit the "clear cache & refresh" multiple times before it actually gives me a result from now and not from 4 days ago.
Also, it's missing some features like a custom sort of the results order. It's important when you're putting things on a dashboard.
It's also letting you validate and commit and only when running it returns SQL errors if there are any. I think it should look for syntax errors at an earlier stage.
customizing the column names is done the wrong way - you can't edit the current name, you need to retype it (why? such a silly feature)
Lastly, customizing the colors is really not intuitive. I figured it out but I'd do it differently.
I like that the software is web based so it can be accessed everywhere. I am also really happy that analytics is now completely centralized in my company. This makes helping people get the data that they need so much easier, and I do not have to spend much time on ad hoc queries anymore.
I do run into query performance issues when there are multiple users querying at once. There is also a pretty large initial investment when setting up the implementation.
I use Looker for two reasons. 1) to see my sales statistics and 2) to pull lists of subscriber data. Looker truly helps you to understand your data better than other tools.
I've had a steep learning curve with this tool. There's not a lot of formal training opportunities or help documentation.
Looker is great but you need to have power users who are able to set everything up in the background.
Once set up, Looker makes it super simple for business users to manipulate and analyze data. It creates all the joins int he background and allows a drag and drop interface.
Visualizations are not very dynamic. It is difficult to change the order in which chart series appear, for example. It's also difficult to always get the chart to look exactly how you want it.
Able to rapidly organise very large data sets and share dashboards and views. Fairly straightforward to build queries even for non-technical
Some limitations in reporting data views (e.g. Histograms) and doesn't have wide range of options for exporting to other reporting packages
After using looker for a coupe years now, I can definitely say its an awesome tool. It is super easy to learn and use but the best part about this tool is the customer service; support and the account managers go above and beyond to solve problems and actually listen to you when doing product planning. Keep it up!
Customer Service, Ease of Use
Support! Smart people that give quick and accurate answers. Ease of use and simple flow makes it easy to learn and teach
Visualizations seem a little immature for the product but hopefully with the newer version, we can download js visualizations on our cloud instance
I love how power Looker is and their customer service is above and beyond. They've been super helpful with everything.
There's not much I don't like about Looker. There is a little bit of learning curve when starting off but other than there's nothing to not like.
The ability to create easily digestible visualizations in a matter of seconds. Looker has brought together all of our different data sources in one hub to read and analyze and present data.
It requires an admin to make it usable for a wider audience. It is not out of the box accessible for someone who isn't familiar with the data setup
- Support team
- Philosophy of data driving to action in one platform
- Simplified frontend and technical backend to allow range of users access to the same model
- Limited visualisation options in Looker 4, but this should be improving soon
- Cost is hard to justify for Asia-based clients where the salary arbitrage is less of a factor
Easily accessible data, ability to share in various formats and upon demand. It's easy to create custom queries on the fly.
Looker helps me put actionable data in front of various teams within my company, regardless of how tech savvy they are. I love being able to schedule reports and alerts so I can spend more time working on higher value items. Looker's support is exceptional, from the top down to the chat team, they are responsive and helpful, and just nice people to boot.