Top 6 ways Google Cloud’s Looker powers data experiences

By Chris Lehman | Head of Engineering | Google Cloud

Data analytics certainly has a lot to offer businesses – but, far too often, inaccessible data gets in the way of progress. Now, with Google Cloud’s Looker, your entire team can leverage powerful data experiences that shape decisions. Looker allows teams to collaborate and investigate their data using custom applications and a drag-and-drop visual interface. This unlocks transformative possibilities for how companies can maximize their data for business intelligence and strategic decision-making.

1. Do more with data

Bringing together your data from multi-cloud environments, Looker gives you different ways to organize, visualize, understand, and draw conclusions. Compatible with more than 50 supported SQL dialects as well as BigQuery, Snowflake, and RedShift, you can use your data across different locations and languages. Looker’s presence on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) allows for seamless operations with GCP’s dozens of other cloud-based programs. This enables you to customize how you use your data to fit the unique needs of your business and gives you plenty of options.

2. Make the most of your data—even without a data analytics background

Instead of having to learn SQL or ask for help, people without a data background can investigate their own questions. Looker offers a great degree of customization for users and allows anyone to benefit. Even if you’re not sure yet what you need to do with your data and just want to explore without messing up any prior work, Looker’s sandbox provides a safe location to ‘learn by doing’ while also keeping your developers and engineers happy. By creating your own data dashboards with Looker, you can add blocks of text labels, real-time charts, and other information feeds – all with attractive, colorful graphics that make data easier to digest.

3. Power a variety of data possibilities

Since Looker allows anyone to start investigating data, there are plenty of different possible use cases that can make work easier.

  • Customized data apps: Build your own tools and create great user experiences. Create your own dashboards and include tiles to add charts, data tables, and other visualizations.
  • Workflow integrations: With real-time data importing directly into your workflows, you can monitor operational metrics and get a live view of your business.
  • Business intelligence: Instead of relying on the same reporting and dashboard views, you can develop your own.
  • Automated data delivery: Have the data come to you—with Looker, you can have updates sent to your team automatically on a schedule, and anytime there’s a change needing attention.

4. Enjoy Looker Explore: a visual interface allowing drag-and-drop use of SQL queries

Instead of having to write your own SQL queries, Looker’s visual interface allows you to select the variables that you care about and Looker works from there. Populate your dashboard with Looker blocks to visualize the data you need upfront. With premade SQL templates that can be applied to what your company depends on, all you need to bring is your business savvy.

Take things a step further with the ability to easily create visualizations. From those database queries, simply select the dimensions and measures that you want plotted. Then, click the icon of the chart style that’s best for your data and adjust colors and graph labels. Drag and drop dimensions into different axes, change scaling in one step, and alter any other graph attributes all with no programming required—point, click, and Looker does the rest.

5. Experience LookML: Simplified language using SQL

If you’re the type who still wants to get their hands into the mechanics of your own data, have no fear. Looker thought of you, too. As an analytics and modeling language, Looker’s LookML essentially works like a streamlined SQL wrapper that enriches query results with more metadata than is typically used and is the secret sauce to getting deeper business insights. Looker’s integrated SQL Runner gives users with a knack for programming a chance to build their own SQL queries to intermesh with analytics done with LookML. Or, with Looker’s thorough documentation, take a crack at learning LookML yourself and build queries from scratch.

6. Be empowered with scalable, real-time data that’s user-friendly

Whether you’re in charge of data from three projects or three thousand, Looker’s user access controls can be easily scaled for enterprises large and small. Admins can collect users into groups with specific content, data, and feature access, which saves the time and hassle otherwise spent on defining individual access of every user. Keep your clients informed about their own metrics while information that they don’t need to see is kept secure and safe from accidental edits.

You also get a chance to unlearn that habit of constantly hitting refresh on a page to get new information. Through its integration with Google Cloud, Looker dashboards are designed to grab, process, and report updated metrics on the fly. Take a break from watching your dashboard altogether, and put your mind at ease with alerts that are sent out anytime the data changes.

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