Analytics Update: Using Looker to Make Your Data Talk

Posted by Dale Treece, Data & Analytics Practice Lead

Mar 03, 2021


Everyone wants fresh insights. When it comes to making the most of your institutional data, it’s important to have a defined plan for how you are going to manage analytics. After all, that’s what helps you surface your data’s true power.

It all comes down to developing a data strategy that optimizes your operations — and positions you for competitive advantages in the marketplace. With proper analytics, you can set benchmarks and goals that make sense. Having the right analytics platform is the best tool in your arsenal. Using Looker takes care of that for you.

Why Should I Use Looker?

Looker, intelligent business software from Google Cloud, allows you, or anyone in your organization, to quickly mine and analyze your institutional data so you can uncover insights you didn’t even know existed. That way you can make smart decisions with actionable data to back them up. Your data does the talking. Here’s how.

Looker Supports Modern Intelligence Needs

Real-time dashboards provide data visualizations that help you create precise, real-time reporting and easily discover changes and irregularities in your data. The way Looker dashboards present data is up to you and how your organization works. You choose the format - funnels, maps, timelines, combined charts and even customized views. Any of these views allow you to drill down and also give you multiple views depending on the user. All of this empowers teams to make better decisions by allowing your valuable institutional data to speak for itself.

Workflows are Data-Driven

analyzing data at the officeUsing Looker means you can have efficient data delivery and quicker time to value. Governed data means you get predefined metrics that are reliable and reusable from data you’ve collected and combined from any source. Feed it to your advanced analytics models to merge outputs with other datasets for wider insights or to trigger business processes around your findings. Using Looker gives you the right data prepared in a way that drives prescriptive analytics so you can take immediate action with the output.

Embedded Analytics Gives you Wide Functionality

Thanks to embedded analytics, using Looker gives you the ability to integrate data into your products and existing workflows. This can range from creating a "customer scorecard" in Salesforce to building and "white labeling" a custom web portal using the Looker APIs.

Let’s say a restaurant chain provides its franchisees a custom web portal that they can log into and view key performance metrics in near real-time. This custom web portal would be an example of a "Powered By Looker" offering. The extensibility and flexibility of Google's APIs are what sets Looker apart from the competition in the Embedded Analytics space.

An “Action Hub” Drives Actions and Versatility

Looker’s Action Hub is where you go to perform all actions in Looker. It gives you the ability to leverage third-party integrations like Slack or Sagemaker or nearly 30 other services. You also can create and deploy custom actions using the Looker Action API.

How Do I Deploy Looker?

Looker supports multiple data sources and deployment methods, as well as different clouds. Looker is all about choice when it comes to databases and cloud infrastructure. Let’s take a look at how all of that works.

Select your Database

managing data in a warehouseBecause Looker connects to Big Query, Snowflake, Redshift and more than 50 SQL dialects, you can make the most of your data without being locked in. Looker scans your existing database schema and builds a basic data model for you right from the start, basing it on your existing database relationship. It leaves all data securely in your database and even provides pre-built analytical blocks so you can easily move from the database to the dashboard from the start.

Support your Cloud

You also can enjoy technology stack freedom as Looker supports hosting in the public clouds, including AWS and Google Cloud, as well as hybrid and multi-cloud environments. You’re not limited by your infrastructure. This helps you simplify your data pipeline, lifecycle and stack.

What Kind of Analytics Does Looker Provide?

Using Looker means you and your teams will have more productive work days from the moment you deploy this solution. Once you’re up and running, you simply connect those integrated services and custom apps we’ve talked about and you’re ready to analyze and act. Departments can create their customized workflows and analytics tailored to their roles within the organization. Let’s consider how it can help the sales and marketing teams, for example.

Your sales team will enjoy being able to organize sales leads and opportunities and combine this with third-party data integrations for deep insights into the habits and needs of prospects and existing customers.

collaborating team funMarketers will enjoy powerful reporting capabilities that integrate with different digital ad platforms, such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads. A unified cross-channel dashboard provides a holistic view of spend and ad performance across platforms. Web analytics offers a deep dive into such services as Google Analytics to provide insights into sales and marketing activities, providing these aligned teams with a single source of truth.

This is just a small cross-section of what using Looker offers to any organization. It’s a tool that reaches across departments and silos to bring together vital data in an easy-to-understand format for all stakeholders who need it. Your data has something to say, and you need to be able to hear it, quickly, easily and securely. Using Looker unlocks your data’s voice and value, allowing it to speak volumes about your operations and where you can go in the future.


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Dale Treece, Data & Analytics Practice Lead

Dale Treece is the Data & Analytics Practice Lead at Onix. He has been working with organizations of various sizes to organize, structure, and use their data to advance their business goals for over 35 years. Through data & analytics modernization, Dale helps businesses become agile, ready to scale, accelerate their path to innovation while improving overall performance and reducing costs.

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