Looker vs Tableau – A Detailed Evaluation Of Two BI Tools

“BI is about providing the right data at the right time to the right people so that they can take the right decisions.” – Nic Smith

In a world driven by self-service business intelligence, there are two technologies that are assisting organizations in extracting the best of valuable information – Looker and Tableau. These two tools have come in very handy to users in offering clear, accurate, and useful visualization. Both are simple to use, have high standards of client service, and alluring, interactive visualizations.

There has been a constant comparison between the two, especially because both have good points to showcase. Of course, the decision on choosing the right one depends upon many factors like current infrastructure, organization size, and needs, types of visualization needed, type of access wanted, etc. Both have been instrumental in offering in-depth information about the organization’s business position and futuristic goals.

Before we look into a detailed comparison between the two, let us, individually go through the characteristics of each, to know them better.

Looker BI Tool – An Overview

The Looker BI tool is a big data analytics program and BI software solution that looks at communicating, discovering, and scrutinizing real-time business analytics easily for business users. It has been helping organizations of all sizes and segments, as a strong data analytics platform. Looker is browser-based and gives a distinct modeling language. It offers various ways of interactive visualizations, making it simple for users to grab their data in their desired output format.

Key Features:

  • Browser-based offers singular modeling language
  • Highly customizable and intuitive
  • A vast library of visualization charts and diagrams
  • Easy integration with databases and big data platforms
  • Good customer support and technical documentation
  • Simple to use, device friendly
  • Easy sharing of links and collaboration with teams

Companies Using Looker:

  • Boston Limited
  • Kaseya Limited
  • Stanley Black & Decker Inc.
  • Whole Foods Market Inc
  • Square
  • Deliveroo
  • CircleCl
  • Typeform
  • PLAID,
  • Cisco
  • Databricks
  • Kohler
  • Mitsubishi

Looker Competitors:

  • Sisense
  • Mode
  • InsightSquared
  • Domo
  • Qlik Sense
  • Zoho Analytics
  • MicroStrategy
  • IBM Cognos Analytics

What Is Tableau?

Tableau is the world’s leading analytics platform. It helps people see and understand data. Its visual analytics platform is transforming the way people use data to solve problems. It is a powerful BI tool that is augmenting data visualization by analyzing huge volumes of data and easy, effective report creation. It has salient features that help in creating innovative dashboards and reports, with the provision to embed dashboards into a certain business application like Salesforce, Jive, etc.

Features Of Tableau:

  • Fully customizable, interactive visualizations
  • Storyboarding and Spatial file connector
  • Easy integration with a number of data sources
  • File access with cloud and data warehouses
  • User friendly, intuitive, and single sign-on
  • Point and click user interface with online analytics
  • Drag and drop feature

Who Uses Tableau?

  • Accenture
  • Coca-cola
  • Skype
  • The New York Times
  • Citigroup
  • Nike
  • The World Bank
  • Amazon
  • Cisco
  • Intel
  • Lenovo
  • Merkle,
  • Nokia
  • Pepsico

Alternatives To Tableau:

  • Looker
  • Sisense
  • InsightSquared
  • Domo
  • MicroStrategy
  • Qlik Sense
  • IBM Cognos Analytics
  • Microsoft Power BI Desktop


Looker vs Tableau: Comparing Two BI Stalwarts

Looker and Tableau have different positive points and negative points, some of which are even similar in both. Both have carved a niche for themselves in the world of business intelligence solutions. They have been serving a wide range of clientele with an assorted variety of business reports, dashboards, and other reporting styles, in a self-service manner. No wonders, users are impressed with them both, since there is the least dependency of users on their IT staff, to avail their desired reports.

Here are some of the key parameters against which Looker and Tableau are compared, citing their individual characteristics:

Customer Service and SupportEmail support, training platform, extensive online supportResponsive customer support, category-wise subscription
PricingOffers customer-friendly pricing modelsOffers tailored subscription models
Ease of usageSimple, straightforward, smooth, efficientSimple, more tailored to help professional analysts
ImplementationFaster to deploy since it is browser-based and packaged in a .jar fileWide variety of implementation plans including phase-wise processes
Key characteristicsA data discovery platform, real-time data access, browser-basedA robust tool, with a drag and drop feature, promotes sharing of insights
IntegrationEasily integrable with any data warehouse or SQL database, has good extension features to facilitate work with other productsOffers alternatives to embed dashboards in existing applications through CSV, spreadsheets, Google Analytics, etc.
Embedded AnalyticsWith developer tools like APIs, SDKs, and an integration libraryWith a fully customizable interface through JavaScript API
Data VisualizationIdeal for creating charts and graphs with drag and drop feature, mapping feature encourages self-service BIVisualization can be created with dashboards, worksheets. Readymade templates help in self-service
Data ModelingPowerful and flexible LookML data model offers sophisticated tools for high-end analyticsSnowflake and dimensional data model, used in a data warehouse, helps in enhancing performance
ReportingStandard reporting templates, ad-hoc reporting for customized reportsCustomizable reports with extensive connectors, in multiple output formats
SpeedA bit slow in data processing and creating reports. It takes a lot of time to share reports with users.Process of creating reports and faster and simpler since it will share reports in online and offline mode
Data SecuritySecurity features like two-factor authentication, HDAP, etc.Security at all levels, user-specific permissions for accessing reports
Operating SystemsSupports Windows, Linux, and Mac OSSupports Windows and Mac OS
Mobile-based SupportIt can be availed on any browser through web-connected mobile devicesIt has a mobile web application supporting Android and iOS devices
Big Data IntegrationAccess to Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Google BigQuery, etc.Access to Cloudera, Hadoop, Oracle, AWS Redshift, Teradata, etc.
Document managementConversion of reports into HTML, JSON, TXT, CSV, PNG etc.Conversion of reports into PDFs, images, crosstabs, spreadsheet files, etc.
Customer categorySmall business/large enterprise/medium enterpriseLarge enterprise/medium enterprise
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)Replaces traditional OLAP with in-depth data examination.Data is organized in cute format with layered data. Includes data drilling, filtering, exploration.
Data AnalyticsHas customizable blocks with SQL patterns, visualizationsUses cross-database technology with extraction from multiple datasets
A Final Say

Looker and Tableau have their own strengths to portray, both being one of the most sought-after BI tools across the globe. Tableau is more sophisticated; Looker is easier to use. To each its own! Based on user requirements and a detailed study, organizations can decide on which one to choose from. Whichever they finalize, it is a deal to be happy about!


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