Looker vs. Tableau

It’s no secret that the last decade has been major for digital advancements. Billions and billions of dollars have been poured into bringing digital transformation across industries. The gathering of customer data has allowed companies to reach new heights in innovation and sustainable efficiency. This digital transformation is catalyzed by increased usage of smartphones and the demand for app-based services in many industrial sectors. 

As customers, we are only able to get the high-end results in the form of services, we do not think about the data-driven business decisions that drive those outcomes. There are many professionals working to gather a massive amount of data, process, analyze, and finally visualize it to help stakeholders make informed decisions and provide better services to customers. Data Engineers, Data Scientists, Data Analysts, and Data Visualization Engineers are some of the roles associated in this process. 

So, it is evident that data visualization is an important aspect of making data-driven decisions. It is basically the representation of analyzed data in the form of charts, bar graphs, or maps so as to identify trends and patterns easily and gain crucial business insights. Traditionally, the amount of data was quite less and needed simple tools for visualization. However, companies today deal with big data and hence need powerful advanced tools to visualize it. There are many popular data visualization tools available in the market, including two important ones namely Tableau and Looker. This article lets you know about both the tools, which tool is better, and why taking Tableau training or Looker training should be your next step.  

What is Tableau?

Tableau, as described on its website, is a visual analytics platform that transforms the way companies use data to solve various business problems. With an aim to make the organization more data-driven, Tableau allows users to explore and manage data so as to discover and share insights seamlessly. The tool was developed in 2003 and was acquired by the world’s leading CRM (Customer Relationship Management) company Salesforce in 2019. The company has come a long way to become a trusted leader in modern business intelligence and analytics. 

The products offered by Tableau mainly include Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, Tableau Prep, and Tableau CRM. It is built on the work of scientific research that makes analysis quicker, easier, and more intuitive. Moreover, it offers enterprise-grade security and governance models to ensure that the data is kept in the right hands at all times. Many companies are using Tableau to advance their data-driven culture like Charles Schwab, Pepsi Co., Verizon, Honeywell, and St. Mary’s Bank. 

What is Looker?

Looker is a business intelligence platform that helps you explore, share, and visualize business data and drive better business outcomes. Acquired by the Google Cloud Platform recently, this tool offers products like business intelligence, embedded analytics, applications, visualizations, and security. With Looker’s data visualization software, you can turn data into insights that tell better, brighter stories. Looker’s dashboards are quite interactive and dynamic and can be set up to filter for different users like sales representatives, customer success professionals, or external viewers. 

There are many ways of representing data in Looker. You can use various interesting visualizations like a funnel, maps, gauge multiple visualization, timeline, donut multiples, Sankey, treemap, and sunbursts. If you know which representation is the most suitable for any specific data set, then the tool lets you easily detect changes and irregularities within the data. Over 2000 companies have harnessed the power of Looker including The Economist, King, Twilio, and Avant. 

Looker vs. Tableau

The growing competition has driven companies to add more specific features to their tools, and thus it is often difficult to make a choice regarding which business intelligence tool to prefer. Both Looker and Tableau have their own set of pros and cons, and it depends upon what features are you looking for and the budget you can afford. On the pricing terms, Tableau takes one-time payment while Looker’s pricing is quote-based. As such, startups will find it convenient to choose Looker, and mid-size to large companies can invest in Tableau.  

When it comes to ease of use, both Looker and Tableau stand equal. However, the ease of setting up of Tableau is rated better than that of Looker. Unlike Looker, Tableau gives companies the option to deploy its platform in an on-premise environment or a dedicated cloud environment. Looker focuses more on easy access to any kind of user using a browser while Tableau appears to be more dedicated to professional analysts who have to create complex visualizations and share it with the stakeholders.

Looker’s integration with products of cloud service providers like Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes it quite powerful. Its architecture takes the advantage of modern cloud database native scalability and performance and thus it ranks high on Cloud BI. Conversely, Tableau ranks high on capabilities like mobile exploration and authoring, interactive visual exploration, analytics dashboards, predictive analytics, and data preparation. 

Overall, the decision between Tableau and Looker depends on the type of end-user, their future vision, business needs, and the degree to which they want to use analytics for their business processes. Whatever you choose, it will be a great opportunity to explore the different features of the tool and enhance your data visualization skills. Knowledge of any of these tools will increase your chances of fitting into a data-related role. So, why not take up a training course to learn either of these tools! Getting certified will showcase your seriousness towards creating advanced visualizations.

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