Looker unveils new data platform, channel program

Business intelligence vendor Looker is looking to build out a channel to help take its data platform to market, and has launched a formal channel program to this end.

looker-4-ideSanta Cruz, CA-based business intelligence vendor Looker has made a pair of announcements. The company has announced its new SaaS-based data platform, Looker 4.0. It has also formalized its partner program.

Looker was founded in 2012, and brought its first product to market in 2013. They have about 750 customers globally, across every vertical.

“Our customers range from 10 person fast growing startups. to Fortune 100 companies,” said Keenan Rice, Looker’s VP Alliances. “Some of our customers just have a relatively small amount of data in a SQL database. What is important to them is our philosophy.”

That philosophy, Rice said, is based on a recognition that Big Data had fundamentally changed the business intelligence market, and that modern data platforms have to be more than just a visualization tool

“A core architectural difference is that as databases become fast, cheap and easy to scale, we want analytics to happen in the database,” he said. “We don’t store any of the data. We work on it in real time, and their platform is the layer of governance.” This brings the data to the application, and removes the old siloed fragmenting of data in a separate application.

“Looker is 100 per cent browser based, and reimagines the data platform by delivering data everywhere, in the applications.” Rice stated.

The 4.0 platform, which Looker says involves their biggest leap forward ever, has several key improvements.

“APIs are a big aspect of our data everywhere initiative,” Rice said. “We have re-architected our APIs to enhance the ability of application developers to take action on data analyzed within Looker. If you are a customer of the platform, you now have access to every API available.” This makes it easy for application developers to create custom portals, and to push data nearly anywhere a user could want it.

A second improvement is enhancing the data supply chain.

“LookML – our data modelling and developing language – is the heart of Looker,” Rice indicated. “With 4.0. we have refreshed LookML to improve the development environment. The IDE [Integrated Development Environment] is now much simpler, which makes it easier for data analysts to make logical models quicker and more effectively.”

Content discovery has also been upgraded through what Rice described as a big upgrade in Lookers UX [User Experience]. The new Looker Blocks Directory has over 50 Looker Blocks and 12 data applications built by data experts from Looker as well as other companies like Google, Adobe, IBM, Segment, Stitch, and Datastician. These Looker Blocks are powerful analytic templates that make it easy for data developers to quickly build full data applications for their business.

The new Looker partner program is a formalization of Looker’s management of its ecosystem that grew up over the last year.

“From a sales perspective, we started by selling direct, but we embraced the partner ecosystem very early,” Rice said. “Last year we started to introduce indirect selling as well, which has become a larger part of our go-to-market.”

The Looker Partner Ecosystem encompasses over 100 global integrators, technology partners and consulting firms, including companies like Google Cloud, IBM Cloud Services, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Vertica, Fivetran, Das42, Oracle, Teradata, Cloudera, Segment, and Snowflake.

“In addition to large companies, it allows us to find the boutiques and regional firms that are the next generation of data companies,” Rice said.

The multi-tiered Partner Program provides support for reseller, technology and consulting partners worldwide.

“It incentivizes our partners to invest in Looker and expands their expertise,” Rice said. It also addresses certification.” Looker has launched the Looker Data Developer Certification program, which objectively verifies that a data developer has the knowledge to effectively develop in LookML.

“The program is looking to build a broader channel, but is also trying to incentivize those who want to invest significantly in Looker,” Rice indicated.