- At the JOIN 2019 conference, Looker unveiled the Looker 7 enterprise-grade data platform. These are the details.
Earlier this week at the JOIN 2019 conference, Looker unveiled the Looker 7 enterprise-grade data platform. Looker 7 goes beyond traditional business intelligence tools by combining customizable data experiences into day-to-day tools and workflows for further closing the gap between discovering insights and taking action.
“Companies are expanding how they use data by no longer thinking of it solely as something that is analyzed and then displayed on a dashboard, but by making its use operational across a myriad of job functions, from revenue optimization to product development,” said Frank Bien, CEO of Looker. “This shift in thinking is resulting in companies choosing solutions that support a variety of ways to harness data — data experiences — to fuel everyday business processes. BI doesn’t just let us know what happened yesterday, but becomes how we work today.”
Looker VP of Product Marketing Pedro Arellano pointed out that the explosion of data generated by SaaS applications has been fundamentally changing the data and analytics industry. For example, IDC predicts that the collective sum of the world’s data will grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025.
“To put this in perspective, if each gigabyte in a zettabyte were a brick, we could build the Great Wall of China (made of 3,873,000,000 bricks)… 258 times!” wrote Arellano in a blog post. “This data volume and complexity is something we would not have envisioned just a few years ago, and it has been a driving force behind advancements in data and analytics technologies in recent years. Data is no longer isolated in a single monolithic software suite. It is spread out across multiple applications in the cloud. Modern databases are more powerful, faster and cheaper. The traditional ETL paradigm is giving way to data transformation on demand.”
Looker 7 features enhancements in 3 major areas: 1.) a new development framework for building powerful data experiences inside and outside of Looker 2.) reimagined BI experiences out-of-the-box that improve collaboration and data flow across common business tools 3.) and enterprise-class security, hosting, and management features for supporting very demanding workloads.
And Looker 7 also features a development framework that enables developers to customize data experiences within Looker, and embed those experiences anywhere.
Plus developers can use pre-built components that ensure the custom data experiences fit naturally in Looker.
Looker 7 also includes an in-product Marketplace — which contains a collection of applications, integrations, plug-ins, templates, data sources and custom visualizations built by developers to quickly find and deploy add-ons.
There is also a suite of developer tools that makes it easier to build with Looker. The new developer tools include new SDKs and a developer portal with a centralized location for development tools and documentation.
“A lot of our work centers around building custom data experiences which the new extension framework enables us to do incredibly fast — we built an application in less than two weeks!” added Nick Fogler, CEO and founder of 4Mile Analytics. “The launch of Marketplace is also a really important business opportunity for partners like us because we get to distribute our solutions to all of Looker’s customers. Overall, the revamped developer experience coming out of Looker 7 demonstrates Looker’s deep commitment to ensuring the success of its partners.”
Looker 7 also features a new dashboard by introducing enhanced user interfaces for better self-service and interactivity. And Looker customers can now create and share content in more intuitive ways such as configurable filtering options like cross-filtering, custom range finders, etc.
With Looker 7, you can make better data-driven decisions within real-time Slack conversations using new closed-loop Slack integration. And it delivers data insights from Looker directly into Slack conversations and projects, including automatic alerts and instant sharing. There are also third-party integrations with Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Auger.ai, mParticle, Matik, and Spiff.com.
Plus Looker 7 has new SQL runner visualizations for data analysts who want to understand raw data on-the-fly that allow raw SQL queries to be quickly displayed in charts and graphs.
Organizations that rely on data and analytics to power their business can utilize Looker 7 for multi-cloud hosting, managing, and seamlessly connecting to data. Looker 7 features connections to over 45 data sources to the raw data sources in Looker. And there is a range of choices for multi-cloud hosting using application management powered by kubernetes, including managed hosting in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or Azure clouds.
Administrators can also gain new insights into their users and how Looker is performing through system activity analytics. Using Looker system activity analytics, administrators can quickly analyze user behavior, adoption of data products, or performance issues. And in Looker 7, activity data can be joined with other types of data to control cloud infrastructure costs and data adoption.
“Looker’s new alert feature enables RPM to communicate operational KPI’s to our management team in real-time,” explained Andrew Farage, co-founder and COO of RPM (national hospitality and entertainment brand focused on high-speed go-karting). “We manage hundreds of high-performance go-karts, running millions of races per year. Real-time alerts trigger variance data to our mechanics and operational leads, ensuring that each kart in our fleet is cycled equally. In our large-format hospitality environment, some of our most valuable data is invisible. Looker alerts serve up key operational insights that would otherwise go unnoticed.”
There are two new programs in Looker 7. There is the Premier Success program, which is now available to provide additional assistance when there may be staffing constraints, a need for technical skills, and when consultation is needed for a new feature and to reduce deployment and adoption risk. And there is an expanded Technical Success Manager (TSM) offering that is available to provide customers with a technical partner and consultant on-site that is a dedicated skilled resource for delivering analytical value.
Looker 7 is considered the first major update ever since the companies announced Google Cloud will be buying Looker for $2.6 billion back in June. The deal has not officially closed yet. And this is the largest Google Cloud acquisition ever since Thomas Kurian was named CEO of the cloud computing division of Google. Looker will drive the business intelligence analytics products for Google Cloud once the acquisition closes. And Looker will be able to utilize Google’s AI and machine learning capabilities to advance its products.
Looker 7 will be officially rolling out in January 2020. And Looker chief product officer Nick Caldwell is hosting a webinar about Looker 7 on November 20 for those of you who are interested.