I am happy to offer some insights on Looker drawn from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic representation of our assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Business Intelligence 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We utilized a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect the breadth of the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for analytics and business intelligence. We evaluated Looker and 14 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and data derived from our benchmark research on analytics and business intelligence.
Looker distinguishes itself based on its modeling language, LookML. While the language is flexible and makes the product very extensible, this Value Index’s evaluation criteria favor products that rely more on graphical interfaces to deliver data modeling and analytic functionality as it makes these critical capabilities easier to use. The Looker product is available as a public cloud service but can also be installed and configured on-premises. Its architecture is based on a model of accessing data in-place in a variety of relational databases. The presentation components of the product offer a modern and clean user interface. The product also includes an integrated development environment for creating LookML and analytic applications.
Looker’s strengths are in Manageability, Validation and Reliability. It ranks sixth in Manageability, offering strong support for administration by both business and IT personnel. It also offers a flexible architecture and configuration, ranking seventh in Reliability. The company also offers good case study material and references to validate the value of its products.
Broader functionality would help improve the Looker product’s Capability score, where it ranks last. The criteria in this category include evaluations of various types of advanced analytics – predictive analytics, planning and optimization as well as collaborative decision-making – that Looker either lacks or where it relies heavily on third party integrations. As Looker adds more of these capabilities its Value Index showing can improve. Less reliance on LookML or providing a graphical alternative to LookML would also improve its last-place score in Usability.
This assessment was based on Looker Version 5.8. Since our analysis was completed Looker has released Versions 6.0 and 6.2. The new versions provide enhanced visualizations, support for time intervals in dimensions and connectivity to MongoDB among other enhancements.
This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of analytics and business intelligence software in the industry. You can learn more about Looker and others using our Value Index as an effective vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool; read the report here.
SVP & Research Director