Looker is a web-based analytic solution that provides real-time operational insights. It can connect with any SQL databases and data warehouses. Dashboards can be created with minimal knowledge in SQL as looker uses LookML which in turn generates SQL queries to fetch data. It provides various types of visualizations and allows them to create custom extensions. The dashboards created in Looker are device responsive as the components will get auto aligned based on the device. The data and reports can be shared using URLs and scheduling can also be done based on time or date change. Looker was developed with usability in mind, Looker meets the needs of startups, mid-sized businesses, and enterprises.

 

Features

LookML:

LookML is the Looker’s proprietary modeling language. It is used to describe the fields, relationships, and calculations. Looker executes a query based on the model created using LookML. Any SQL databases can be accessed using LookML as It is independent of database dialects. It does not require deep knowledge in SQL, and it is easy to learn.

 

Ad-Hoc Analysis:

Looker is extremely easy to operate; Business users can easily do their analysis with SQL or LookML.

Basically, anything that can be done with SQL can be done with LookML too.

 

Version Control:

LookML projects use git repository to manage and store the model and its changes. So multiple users can work on the same project at the same time without affecting the deployed production models.  Once the final changes are done the updated version can be deployed to production.

 

Operates on DB:

It runs entirely on data in a database and there is no own analytic engine for the Looker. So, the SQL query created by LookML will hit the database directly and gives the result. By this, the speed of the data retrieval is completely depending on the power of the underlying database.

 

Scheduling Dashboards:

Dashboards can be scheduled to the mails on various time intervals like by the minute, hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. We can also configure the scheduling based on our time zone.  The format for scheduling can be as PDF or visualizations (as Image) or as CSV files.

 

Custom Extensions:

Looker provides various visualization capabilities like tables, charts, and Maps and allows us to create custom extensions. It uses D3 charts, so with the knowledge in java scripts, we can create custom extensions to leverage our reporting capabilities.

 

Data Alerts:

Looker supports conditional alerts on data which will be very helpful for the users to quickly notice and act regarding it if the numbers become not as desired. Once an alert is set to a tile aka look, it’ll check for the condition periodically and send alerts if it matches the criteria. There are several customizations provided with this feature like Alert conditions, recipients, frequency and visibility.

 

Looker Blocks:

Looker Blocks are pre-built pieces of code that can be leveraged to quickly build reports based on the frequently used sources by many companies, rather than starting the development from scratch, looker blocks can be used to fast forward the development and our customizations can be made on top of it.

 

Webhooks:

Webhooks are very useful in delivering the data to 3rd Party applications. The data can be sent in various formats like CSV, JSON, PDF, etc. These webhook deliveries can again be scheduled at different time intervals or associated with a specific data group.

 

Pricing

Looker has not publicly announced its pricing structure. The looker pricing team will connect with you to give better information on this because of its customized quote. In their website, they have mentioned that the pricing would change based on users’ count and the size of your business. They have plans that will be suitable for small, medium and large-sized companies.

 

Security

Unlike other platforms that encourage users to pull the data to their platform for analysis, looker generates SQL that directly queries your database. By enabling a secure connection to the data warehouse for querying, Looker puts the major part of the security handling to your data warehouse.

 

Support

Looker provides access to their help center where users can raise a ticket and it also has lots of documentation for every feature & functionality. Looker also has an award-winning Support Chat where users can connect with looker analysts within minutes and get the issues sorted.

 

Conclusion

Looker has taken a modern approach by providing complete semantic modeling inside looker through LookML. However, if your organization has OLAP in a place like Analysis Services. Looker does not provide any connectivity to those systems. If the above-mentioned features add great value to your business, Looker will be a good option to fulfil your reporting needs.

 

Read more about similar Self Service BI topic here and learn more about Visual BI Solutions Microsoft Power BI offerings here. 

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