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What Is Looker and Why Might You Need It?

By March 23, 2021 No Comments
What is Looker? - Blog Post

Maybe you’re venturing into data visualization for the first time, or maybe you’re interested in how a different tool could better serve your business. Either way, you’re likely wondering, “What is Looker?” and, “Could it be right for us?”

In this blog post, we’ll go over the benefits of Looker, how it compares to Power BI and Tableau, when you may want to use Looker, and how to get started if you decide it’s the right tool for your organization.

Ready to jump into data visualization? Check out our data visualization starter pack.

What is Looker?

Looker is a powerful business intelligence (BI) tool that can help a business develop insightful visualizations. It offers a user-friendly workflow, is completely browser-based (eliminating the need for desktop software), and facilitates dashboard collaboration. Among other benefits, users can create interactive and dynamic dashboards, schedule and automate the distribution of reports, set custom parameters to receive alerts, and utilize embedded analytics.

How is Looker different?

We can’t fully answer “What is Looker?” without seeing how it stacks up against competitors. For even more about Looker, Power BI, and Tableau and to find out why we aren’t discussing other analytics and BI platforms, read this blog post.

Looker, Power BI, Tableau Comparison Chart

Does Looker fit into my analytics ecosystem?

When to Use Looker

If you’re looking for customized visuals, collaborative dashboards, and a single source of truth, plus top-of-the-line customer support, Looker might be the best BI platform for you. Being fully browser-based cuts down on potential confusion as your team gets up and running, and pricing customized to your company means you get exactly what you need to meet your company’s analytics goals.

When Not to Use Looker

If you’ve already bought into the Microsoft ecosystem, Power BI is your best bet. Introducing another tool will likely only create confusion and increase costs.

When someone says “Tableau,” the first thing that comes to mind is how impressive the visuals are. If you want the most elegant visuals and a platform that’s intuitive for analysts and business users alike, you may want to go with Tableau.

If none of these tools seem right for your organization, we would love to discuss other data visualization solutions.

How do I get started using Looker?

You can get started using Looker in four basic steps:

1. Determine if your data is analytics-ready.

Conduct an audit of where your data is stored, what formats are used, etc. You may want to consider a data strategy project before moving forward with a BI platform implementation.

2. Understand your company’s BI needs and use cases.

Partner with key stakeholders across the business to learn how they currently use analytics and how they hope to use more advanced analytics in the future. What features do they or their staff need in a BI tool?

3. Review compliance and data governance concerns.

When in conversation with those key stakeholders, discuss their compliance and data governance concerns as well. Bring your technology leaders into the discussion to get their valuable perspectives. You should have an enterprise-wide stance on these topics that informs any additions to your tech stack.

4. Partner with a trusted resource to ensure a smooth implementation.

Our consultants’ hands-on experience with Looker can contribute to a faster, simpler transition. Plus, Aptitive can transfer the necessary knowledge to make sure your team is equipped to make the most of your new BI tool. We can even help with the three previous steps, guiding the process from start to finish.

If you still have questions about if Looker is worth considering for your organization, or if you’re ready to get started with Looker, contact us here.

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