Looker:JOIN 2019 on Tour

Last May 7th I joined Looker:JOIN 2019 on Tour in Amsterdam. This is Looker’s annual Roadshow, where you have the chance to meet with Lookers, chat with partners and connect with local data peers. According to Looker, the only requirement: “Come curious and ready to have some fun while learning about all things data.”

“To empower people through the smarter use of data”

Important to take into account that the BI Market is changing in various ways.

Everybody needs Data

The amount of data used is incomprehensible. According to an IDC Whitepaper (Data Age 2025: The Digitization of the World From Edge to Core) it should be 175 zettabytes by 2025. I have no clue what a zettabyte is, but it sounds like a lot. What I do know and experience myself is that Data is everywhere, even for me personally (e.g. when I shop online, on my mobile phone or when I watch Netflix). Another interesting thing to consider is that there arises a whole new workforce like Growth Hackers and Customer Succes Managers. This workforce relies completely on the availability of relevant data.

“Decision making should not be constrained by data silos”

The growing use of SaaS Applications

Business are using more and more SaaS-applications. It’s easy to just spin up these apps in the Cloud. Different apps for different departments (Sales – SalesForce, Marketing – Hubspot, HR – Workday, etc.). Problem with this setup is that it creates potential data silos. Traditionally these challenges would be solved by dedicated point solutions or extensive lines of code.

Infrastructure improvements

Times are changing and so is the infrastructure.

  • Databases have become bigger and cheaper (Google BigQuerySnowflake)

  • Cloud database will become the new normal
    • Scale
    • Power
    • Elasticity
    • Easy of use
  • E-LT versus ETL has become easier and more iterative
  • SQL (powerful, Flexible, Proven) is still the standard

Looker’s answer

What is Looker’s answer to all of this? Looker is a Data Platform with the following key differentiators.

“Great software is a act of empathy” – LLoyd Tabb – Founder & CTO at Looker

  1.  Single Source of Data
    • All Business definitions in one central location
  2. 100% in-database
  3. Extensible Web Architecture
    • API extensibility more than BI
    • Data-Driven Apps


Looker provides an Agile Modeling Layer where you can add custom logic and an easy to use BI Front-end which is easy to use for everybody. This enables you to select and deliver all your relevant data.

LookML reduces complexity and supports Data Governance to become everybody’s  responsibility.

The Future of BI

The Business Intelligence Systems of the future will go beyond just BI. In practice this means that BI Systems will turn into Data Platforms. Future BI Systems will be able to return a complete view of all business data. Their architecture has the capability and flexibility to scale when necessary. Looker supports all of that and goes beyond just Explores and Dashboards. With Looker you bring actions to your BI System.

It was an interesting and insightful event. I look forward to evaluate Looker further. Hopefully I find the time to share my experiences here.

Thanks for reading.


Daan Bakboord



Hi, ik ben Daan Bakboord. Ik ben een ondernemende Data & Analytics consultant. Mijn passie is het verzamelen, verwerken, opslaan en presenteren van data. Ik help organisaties deze interne en externe data zodanig in te zetten, dat ze in actie kunnen komen. Door het inzetten van betrouwbare data kunnen ondernemers hun ‘gut-feeling’ onderbouwen met feiten.

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