Looker is an ideal data exploration tool with room to improve as an enterprise-level BI solution
August 20, 2015

Looker is an ideal data exploration tool with room to improve as an enterprise-level BI solution

Adam Rhuberg | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Overall Satisfaction with Looker

Looker is being used by dozens of people throughout our organization to quickly and easily access data from our data warehouse without needing to know or understand SQL or have direct access to the database itself. More than 100 dashboards have been built by our internal Looker developers to meet the needs of every functional unit's weekly, monthly, and quarterly reporting requirements. All of our end-users have quick and immediate access to the data underlying any of the dashboards and can self-serve ad hoc data requests without needing support from the analytics team.
  • Enables simple sharing of reports and data views throughout the ogranization.
  • Allows for immediate on-demand querying of the data warehouse without direct access to the data warehouse of knowledge of SQL.
  • Provides the ability to embed data modeling rules into the platform to make sure that "Revenue" (as an example) means the same thing to every person and is calculated with consistent logic every time.
  • New user on-boarding requires some dedicated training. It's not an easy tool to pick up and use immediately.
  • Visualization customizations are still a bit cryptic. Most end users can't figure out how to change a data series' color, for example. It's not intuitive.
  • The ease of development actually makes for a potential nightmare down the road if too many people have developer privileges. There are a lot of potential issues over the longer term if you don't introduce adequate safeguards right at initial implementation.
Because Looker actually functions as a database querying tool, there's no need for building extensive ETL processes that require you to pre-configure every aggregation and dimensional cut you would ever want to do in your BI front-end, it avoids the long and expensive implementation process many of these other tools require. Another great benefit of this architecture is that the tool makes for rapid and flexible data exploration that doesn't require additional developer time - just because no one else has created a specific report before doesn't mean it can't be done quickly and easily by a business user with no knowledge of the underlying data structures. Looker is also a great value compared to some of these other tools.
If your organization relies on a team of analysts to write SQL every time a new data request is submitted with output expected in the form of Excel spreadsheets and charts, this tool can help avoid that process altogether and free up analysts to do more value-added work instead of just being a glorified back-end data pulling team. I don't think it would be very useful if a company is already using an enterprise-wide BI tool, especially one that might encompass both an ETL-like modeling layer and flexible visualization tools.

Looker Feature Ratings

Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Not Rated
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to Web
Publish to PDF
Report Versioning
Not Rated
Report Delivery Scheduling
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Responsive Design for Web Access
Not Rated
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Not Rated