Looking at the Bright Side of Looker

Looking at Looker, Part 2

By Renee Miller and Victoria Davis

Why should we talk about Looker?

With Looker JOIN19 a week away, we thought we’d dive deeper into the Looker platform (See Part 1 here). Earlier this year, Google Cloud announced a plan to buy Looker for $2.6 billion, making it even more of a quintessential data juggernaut. Despite the pretentious language, it is kind of a big deal. For anyone new to the data platform, it may not seem evident why it’s such an analytics powerhouse. To answer that question, we’re going to give Looker’s capabilities a quick overview, examine the Looker Partner Program, and explore what we do with Looker at Red Pill Analytics.

What’s Different about Looker?

Looker’s a little different because everything (end user, power user, analyzation, sharing) is wrapped up nicely into a self-contained platform. You’re able to combine data from a variety of sources and access it all in one place. Looker makes everything easy.

It’s (Extremely) Easy to Use — Looker’s usability is outstanding. You don’t have to be experienced with writing code or know advanced SQL (Looker’s native language). Instead, LookML Blocks, pre-built pieces of code, are self-intuitive. There’s also an abundance of LookML Blocks of code that have been shared to help get you started.

If you’re having a specific issue, Looker’s customer service is award-winning. The Looker tool has a built-in chatbox that connects to a real live data analyst. Don’t hesitate to contact them. They’ll help no matter how small the problem.

It’s Easy to Access — Looker is accessible on any web-based platform or mobile device. You don’t need to be tied down to a desktop to work with Looker. You’ll be alerted to any new changes and can work right from your phone.

It’s Easy to Share — Looker’s data sharing capabilities are equally as foolproof. Data can be shared by email or public URL (scheduled or unscheduled) and can also be exported to Google Docs, Excel, or other data destinations. You can also download the data as a CSV or TXT file.

It’s Better than Thinking Alone

Looker provides easily accessible and shareable data on a streamlined, web-based platform.

Sharing internally is essential, but don’t forget that Looker also collaborates with outside forces, which we’ll see as we explore the Looker Partner Ecosystem.

Prospecting The Looker Partner Program

Information sharing and collaboration are a key component of Looker’s success. Looker collaborates with a trusted network of expert consultants (including Red Pill Analytics). They also partner with ETL/ELT and Data Warehousing companies like Snowflake, Microsoft Azure, Fivetran, dbt, StreamSets, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

What does it mean to be a Looker Services Partner?

Luckily, Victoria Davis, one of our Red Pill crew, is engaged as a Looker Services Partner and answered a few questions to provide us with some insight into the title.

How do you become a Looker Services Partner?

In order to become a Looker services partner, you have to complete a few rounds of certification tests. These assessments test your skill with the Looker tool, but equally importantly, they test how well you deliver this knowledge to customers. Some customers may be seeing data “differently” for the first time.

What do you do as a Partner?

Generally, I work with businesses to help data model and create LookML in their Looker instance. I also create impactful reports and dashboards, which helps businesses make informed and intelligent decisions based on their data. Much of my work with Looker is spent leading co-developing sessions, where I teach the LookML code and development to the BI development team.

Can you tell us about another Looker project?

I am working with a company that handles payments and donation solutions to people who are working to develop and enrich the community. Before implementing Looker, their clients were only able to see their data in CSV files. After the implementation of Looker and data modeling, they were able to see their transaction and donation performance in a user-friendly and visual format. For instance, a certain client can now see their average donations from the past 91 days by days of the week. This helps them determine what days of the week they are receiving lower donations, and then they can make business decisions for those days to spruce up their funding.

In addition to supporting data-driven decisions, Looker has allowed clients to see where their average days of the week donations stand, compared to the overall benchmark of all of their clients that fall in the same category. This also gives them the ability to see how their donations and fundings are performing compared to the prior year.

What do we do with Looker at Red Pill?

At Red Pill, we use Looker in The Glimpse Initiative, a program developed to deliver analytics much quicker than traditional analytics. Looker allows us to focus on a core problem, whatever it may be, and tackle a few key metrics which we then deliver them using a cloud-native data warehouse. We use cloud-enabled tools like BigQuery, Snowflake, or Redshift/Athena, while Looker delivers the analytics.

Looking for More?

If you’re already adept at Looker and looking for a bit more technological oomph, we’ve got a lineup of Looker-related blogs just for you:


Or, if you’re aching to have a real discussion about Looker or analytics strategy, find us at Looker JOIN ’19 in San Francisco from Nov 5–7th. Learn more here.

Red Pill Analytics is a Looker Partner experienced not only in working with Looker but also advising organizations on overall data strategy. Our knowledge spans a variety of offerings across all of the major public cloud providers. From proof-of-concept to implementation to training your users, we can help. If you are interested in guidance while working with any of your data projects, feel free to reach out to us on our website or find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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