Looker vs Tableau – Which Is Better?

Looker and Tableau are two tools that are helping businesses in extracting the most helpful information in a world driven by self-service business intelligence.

These two tools have shown to be quite beneficial to users by providing clear, accurate, and relevant visualization. Both are easy to use, have excellent customer service, and attractive, interactive visualizations.

There has been a continual comparison between the two, mainly because both have vital aspects to emphasize. Of course, the decision on which one to use is influenced by various criteria such as present infrastructure, organization size, demands, types of visualization required, type of access desired, etc.

Both have proven invaluable in providing detailed information on the organization’s financial position and long-term objectives. Before we get into a comprehensive comparison of the two, let’s know them better and understand their features individually.

What is Looker?

Looker is a data-discovery tool that offers revolutionary data exploration capabilities to both large and small organizations. It can be used to access a web-based interface that provides real-time insights into their operations via data analytics.

You can also generate reports on the fly and make them available to all parties interested, allowing other team members to contribute to conversations about specific tasks and remain up to date on any developments in their project.

As a result, Looker can assist all businesses in using data to guide their business choices and actions in the proper direction.

With a bit of SQL expertise, you’ll have no trouble making Looker work for you or create your analytic modules. You can create visualizations with a single line of code, and the complexity relies solely on how far you want to go to improve your experience.

Looker’s ML code is available to assist you in creating and optimizing your queries, which is especially useful given that most BI solutions assume you to be an expert in the field.

Looker Features

Looker’s 100% in-database and 100% browser-based technology allows for analyzing data of any size. Its Analytics now integrates with any SQL database or data warehouses, such as Greenplum and Amazon Redshift.

Looker was designed with usability in mind to fulfill the demands of startups, mid-sized organizations, and enterprises, but how can you use Looker to assist your team?

Let’s have a look at some of the most fundamental features that are usually connected with this system:

Ease of use

To begin with, Looker is incredibly easy to use. You don’t need to be an expert data analyst or have SQL understanding to manage workflows from there because a single, self-explanatory code represents most operations.

There is no complex code, and you can dive into the data using interactive and accurate charts and tables.

Handy visualizations

All standard data exploration tasks are organized together in a left-hand side menu, where you can also manage your preferences and create customized workspaces.

There is a specific data scheme for creating visualizations where you may drag and drop the appropriate pieces and give responsibilities such as Administrators, Users, and Developers.

Strong collaboration features

Looker also facilitates and simplifies user collaboration. The software is available through any browser and mobile device, thereby allowing employees to be alerted and contribute even offsite.

Data and reports, for example, may be readily shared through email or URLs or incorporated into other programs such as Google Docs, Excel and even bespoke and third-party applications. Finally, if you want, you can manually export data in text or .csv files.

A flexible LookML language

Looker lets your data analysts develop mini-applications that add efficiency and power to data exploration using a universal, easy-to-learn language called LookML.

The LookML syntax facilitates the creation of sophisticated models for any company while also expanding SQL’s capabilities. This language-based technique speeds up query processing while also optimizing performance.

Reliable support

Along with the system’s comprehensive self-service database, Looker ensures that you always have access to a dependable tech support team, ensuring that no queries go unanswered. You can reach out to specialists via phone, email, or by submitting a ticket straight from the website.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a business intelligence solution that assists businesses in visualizing and understanding data.

The system provides a revolutionary new approach to business intelligence, enables organizations to instantly connect, visualize, and share data with an efficient, seamless experience from the PC to the iPad.

Without knowing how to code, you can build and publish dashboards and share them with partners, teammates, or clients. If you already use a Tableau Service (Tableau Online or Tableau Server), there will be no difficulties transferring data from one platform to another.

Here is a list of Tableau’s products:

Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop is a self-service analytics application that enables you to examine data quickly and answer questions.

This solution enables customers to be more data-driven by providing them with an integrated platform that is both simple to use and versatile. It quickly connects to hundreds of data sources, both in the cloud and on-premise, to begin the analysis, allowing you to answer questions, solve issues, and uncover insights.

Tableau Server

Tableau Server lets you publish dashboards created in Tableau Desktop to any web browser or mobile device.

This tool is intended for use in enterprise analytics. Tableau Server is simple to scale and deploy, and it can be used to build processes in the cloud or on-premises on Windows or Linux. It can also work hand in hand with your existing security and authentication methods.

Tableau Online

This product is available to users at any time from any location. This platform, which is fully hosted in the cloud, enables self-service analytics and removes the requirement for installing servers, increasing hardware capacity, and managing software changes.

Tableau Prep

This technology is available for large-scale data preparation in organizations. It is perfect for speeding data processing and merging, structuring, and cleaning data – all without the need to write code.

It contains intelligent features that use direct and visible feedback to ease data preparation and deepen understanding.

Tableau Features

Tableau provides several unique features to its users and according to satisfied businesses, these tools assist to evaluate data in a way that drives decisions in a lucrative perspective.

The following are the most critical Tableau features you should be aware of:

Connection to various data sources

To begin, Tableau’s productivity allows users to connect it to several information resources they already use and import and visualize data fast.

Tableau claims to have created a 10 to 100 times quicker data analysis mechanism than its competitors due to updated technology and speed of operation.

Intuitive and easy interface

Tableau is a remarkably intuitive interface for such a complex system, with data analysis taking only a few drag-and-drop motions. As a result, it is no surprise that anybody can operate the system with ease and without considerable training.

Advanced collaboration

Tableau facilitates collaboration by keeping all team members up to date on what is going on. The majority of Tableau’s features are centralized on a public dashboard, from which users may access and analyze data with a few mouse clicks.

What’s more, the system is mobile-optimized, allowing agents to utilize the same application to share their accomplishments and invite others to participate.

Several methods for data investigation

Tableau examines data in various ways, beginning with massive, standard dashboards and progressing to advanced cloud-based source studies.

Instead of using a single technique to conduct analyses, the user can blend approaches and data perspectives to enrich findings.

Finally, all results are displayed in complete data visualizations designed to be easy enough to communicate with clients and partners from all sectors.

Also Read: Power BI vs Tableau

Flexible pricing & deployment

Tableau allows customers to select whether they want to put it on the cloud or their servers.

It provides yearly subscriptions and single-payment licenses to accommodate the needs of various businesses. Tableau is now available to organizations of all sizes and sectors owing to this adaptable approach.

Reliable support

Tableau also provides users with a dependable tech support staff and automates data refreshes to assist businesses in acquiring new information without wasting so much time.

Factors to Consider If you need to Decide Between Looker and Tableau

Consider the following factors while deciding between Tableau and Looker:

  • Your current infrastructure
  • Size of the business
  • Requirements for data analysis
  • Understand which graphs, charts, or storyboards work best for communicating with your team
  • Determine the sort of access you will require, whether on-site or in the platform’s cloud
  • Examine the visual output from Looker vs Tableau to see which one best communicates your marketing campaign data

Explore: Best Tableau Sales Dashboard Examples

Comparison Between Looker and Tableau

Looker vs Tableau: Data Visualization

With the drop and drag capability, Looker assists in the creation and configuration of visuals. You can add any element of your choice and designate responsibilities to ensure that the data visualization is efficient.

Non-technical people can also create highly sophisticated data visualizations using mapping and pre-made dashboards and templates.

On its part, Tableau allows for rapid and efficient data analysis. Dashboards, graphs, and worksheets can be used to generate data visualizations.

Tableau also provides ready-made templates that allow you to create dashboards using its drag-and-drop features.

Users can create images and graphics without the help of a coder and the data generated by Tableau will still be understood by any professional.

Verdict

Both platforms have really good visualization capabilities, so it’s hard to pick a clear winner.

Looker and Tableau let you choose from their pre-made visualization dashboards and templates to present your data, so It’s only fair to call this round a tie.

Looker vs Tableau: Integration

Looker can interact with SQL databases and outside apps. It offers fantastic extension options that let you interact with countless other processes.

Tableau interfaces with various data sources, including CSV, spreadsheets, SQL databases, Google Analytics, etc. It also communicates with R to operate the analytical tools.

Verdict

Looker has the upper hand here because of its ability to work with more systems than Tableau which is made possible because its pre-built code can easily be embedded into outside systems.

Check Out: Best Tableau Retail Dashboard Examples

Looker vs Tableau: Data Modeling

Looker includes a robust LookML model, which is also reusable and adaptable. SQL is being replaced with LookML since it is neither reusable nor versatile. As a result, LookML provides advanced tools for analysts to create high-end analyses.

To analyze vast amounts of data, Tableau includes snowflake and dimensional data models. In a data warehouse, these models combine data from many sources and enhance the efficiency of analytical queries.

Not only has Tableau set governance and security measures, but it can also integrate with other security tools such as Active Directory and OAuth.

Verdict

Tableau holds the advantage in this round because of the security control features it has incorporated into the system.

Looker vs Tableau: Reporting

Looker offers users standard reporting templates which means that users can produce reports quickly and effectively by using standard templates. Looker also supports reports that can be used just once, which allows users to create bespoke reports based on their needs.

Tableau is the best reporting tool. You can create customized reports based on the needs of the user. Tableau makes and publishes dashboards and reports in various output formats using many connections and a quick writing environment.

Verdict

Tableau has the advantage here because it gives you more flexibility with the ability to customize your reports.

Looker vs Tableau: Speed

When compared to Tableau, Looker’s data and report process is slower in processing. Users may wait for hours to get the report.

Tableau users can generate dynamic and powerful visualization reports in a matter of minutes. Because it allows you to exchange reports online and offline, you can make the entire process faster and easier.

Verdict

When it comes to speed, Tableau is the clear winner because you can achieve more within a shorter time than with Looker.

Looker vs Tableau: Security

Looker’s admin panel lets you change security settings. Examples of security settings you can modify include two-factor authentication and HTML sanitization.

Tableau ensures the protection of your data at all levels. You can protect your reports, dashboards, and spreadsheets whenever you wish. You can provide rights to particular people who will have access to the reports.

Verdict

Both platforms are very secure; hence users can feel very safe using either of them.

Interesting Comparison: SAS vs Tableau

Looker vs Tableau: Operating System

Looker is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems while Tableau is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Verdict

Both platforms work seamlessly across all OS, so this round is also a tie.

Looker vs Tableau: Customization

Tableau offers capabilities for professionals to design reports and dashboards. It also provides an Extensions API for its dashboards.

Looker, on the other hand, uses Looker ML to break SQL down into bite-sized bits that are easy to analyze, absorb, and recombine. This method may then be used to expand those SQL chunks directly into business logic.

Verdict

When we considered customization, Looker gives us the best option because of its powerful SQL process that makes it easy to run.

Looker vs Tableau: Features & Add-ons

In terms of data visualization capabilities, both systems provide a wide range of choices:

Tableau gives you access to a broader range of visuals and related “storytelling” capabilities. Tableau is also beta testing an Extension Gallery, which will make it easier to find third-party add-on products.

It has attracted a wider pool of third-party developers to its platform because of its more excellent installed base.

On the other hand, Looker has recently begun introducing full-fledged apps geared at specific roles inside an organization, such as offers directed especially at digital marketers and website administrators and a beta release of an application focused on sales teams.

Verdict

Tableau blows the competition out of the water when it comes to the number of features at your disposal, and although Looker offers a shorter learning curve, especially for first-time users, I’ll still take my chances with Tableau.

Also Read: Sisense vs Tableau

Looker vs Tableau: Pricing

Tableau’s SaaS solution begins at $12 per user per month yearly for a single user seeing data.

However, there are numerous extra modules to handle, for example, mobile computing requirements or data preparation, that most corporate companies would need to license for some users.

Customers may use Tableau’s Creator, Explorer, and Viewer. Prices are provided per user, per month, and yearly. The Creator plan offers complete Tableau capability and costs $70 per user per month, whether the platform is implemented on-premises or in the cloud.

The Explorer package is designed for consumers who want self-service analytics without the hassle of data preparation and cleaning. On-premises implementation costs $35 per user per month, whereas cloud deployment costs $42 per month. You’ll find the price list on their website.

Looker, on the other hand, is far cagier about price. Instead, it would negotiate each client interaction based not just on the number of users each month but also on the complexity of the semantic layer that must be developed for each unique customer. You request a quote on its pricing page.

Verdict

When it comes to pricing, Tableau is more flexible than Looker, hence, a new user would find it more convenient to choose a plan from them.

What are the Similarities & Differences between Looker and Tableau?

When it comes to Tableau vs Looker, both attempt to make it easier for businesses to achieve better fact-based decisions more quickly.

On one hand, Tableau believes that the folks generating the visuals are sufficiently knowledgeable about data science principles.

Looker doesn’t share the same view. It not only believes that the average end-user isn’t clear on how to represent the data being examined effectively, but it also assumes that the average end-user doesn’t know how to build and run a basic SQL query.

There is little doubt that Tableau, with its drag-and-drop graphical user interface, can produce a considerably more extensive range of sophisticated representations across different data sources (GUI).

Both systems, however, are more than capable of satisfying the demands of the majority of business clients.

Unlike most other alternatives, Tableau offers a broad range of pre-packaged visuals, which lowers analysts’ work when determining which graphic style is most suited to a specific data collection.

Tableau also allows you to quickly drag and drop graphics into other programs, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) software.

On the other hand, Looker is not only focused on making it easier for the average end-user to create visualizations. But it also offers a comprehensive set of software development kits and application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow analytics to be embedded deeper into workflows and business processes in near real-time.

Looker also provides Looker Actions, a set of integration features that will enable you to change data in third-party apps.

As a cloud service built on a conventional database, Looker will grow higher than Tableau and reliably ensure that governance rules are enforced across a shared pool of data.

Looker also uses a lightweight virtual data structure, which allows analytics to be conducted on a local database before aggregating findings to the end-user, rather than needing all data imported into Looker.

In many respects, Looker is attempting to address a more complicated set of analytics-infused data management challenges.

Looker vs Tableau: Pros and Cons

Pros of Looker

  • Excellent personalization
  • Provides a visualization package that includes spider web charts, chord diagrams, heatmaps, bubble charts, and word clouds
  • Simple to understand
  • Connects to large data platforms and databases
  • Excellent customer service, with technical assistance available in seconds through chat
  • Custom installation options, as well as hosted solutions, are available
  • It is compatible with Windows and Mac OS
  • You can easily share links from a single tool which simplifies team collaboration
  • Easy for beginners

Cons of Looker

  • As a result of the tool’s simplicity, there is a lack of flexibility inside the system
  • Long loading times for big marketing dashboards

Pros of Tableau

  • Beautiful, dynamic, and simple-to-understand visualizations
  • Storyboarding and the Spatial File Connector are two more visualization capabilities
  • Dashboards that are entirely customized
  • It is easily embedded
  • Intuitive and straightforward to use
  • Tableau can be integrated with a wide range of data sources
  • It is compatible with multiple devices

Cons of Tableau

  • It might take several minutes to load large files
  • Lagging dashboards

The Final Decision

The final choice boils down to your specific requirements. Which of the two BI solutions would you select after considering your marketing and data demands, company size, data analysis, and taste for visualization?

That being said, I consider Tableau the better BI tool among the two because of its superiority in features, data modeling, and speed.

Author: Scott MacarthurScott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.
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