The era of the cloud and the intelligent business

Jamie Davidson, VP of Platform

Jul 11, 2017

We are honored to be included, along with many customers and partners, in the Forbes Cloud 100. It's impressive to see how the adoption of the cloud and use of data unite so many industry leaders!

Operational data and the cloud

Attending the recent Google Cloud Next or AWS re:Invent, the cloud narrative has certainly changed in the last year. It is no longer a question of if enterprises will move to the cloud but when.

At Looker, we’ve seen a common story precipitating this adoption across a wide spectrum of our customers. These companies recognize the value of incorporating data into daily workflows. They recognize that data-driven decision-making can only become the norm if data is accessible in the applications their users already rely on for their jobs. They are truly operationalizing their data.

Access to operational data in a powerful data platform has become the driving force for enterprise cloud adoption. The end product skips IT and now targets business users and delivers a solution as opposed to infrastructure. Just as developers once forgot about floppy disks and later CDs, physical infrastructure is no longer necessary. On premise is now the exception, not the rule.

The platform approach

Looker started as a platform first and foremost. At inception, our analytics system was architected to sit on top of the data infrastructure ecosystem, taking advantage of modern, cloud enterprise data warehouses like Amazon’s Redshift (and further developments like Athena and Spectrum), Google’s BigQuery, and Snowflake among Hadoop-focused Presto and Spark and many others. Our analytics system tightly partners with managed ETL providers like Google’s BigQuery Transfer Service, Amazon’s Glue, Stitch and Fivetran. As a result of this approach, our customers benefit from the incredible advancements taking place in this rich data ecosystem.

This evolution in the data stack caused a revolution in business intelligence.

Retrospective focused, heavy ETL workloads are no longer agile enough to adapt with a modern organization. Cloud data warehouses enable ELT and transformations done on the fly. These performance and cost improvements finally allow organizations to drive real value from their big data.

The modern organization is now forced to be data-driven to compete. Enterprises need to leverage their large, disparate operational data to make even day-to-day decisions. The marketer who doesn’t have all of their live campaign data alongside transactional data is at a disadvantage and can’t drive the highest ROI. The customer success manager not looking at CRM, support and event data can’t offer competitive service. A modern knowledge worker has been forced to become a digital worker - living in their data.

Backwards looking executive dashboards, with high-level, delayed views of business metrics are no longer enough and only answer “what happened?”. Data is only as useful as the insight perceived and action taken. Digital workers must answer the most important question “what do I do now?” and then be able to quickly act on that insight.

At Looker, our goal is to remove the friction between insight and action with our deep platform integrations.

Data Actions are our first step at enabling data-driven operations. Because Looker sits directly in the database, operational, row level information comes with Looker out of the box, allowing our integrations to let you take direct action on that information. Want to find an analysis leading to prioritized sales prospects based on custom logic? Send an email directly from Looker.

We’ve seen customers use the platform in creative and unexpected ways: whether it’s pulling data into a conversation in Slack, creating novel segments of users to reach out to via email providers like SendGrid and MailChimp, managing product development, or tagging and creating issues from Looker in Github.

By sitting on top of this rapidly evolving cloud data ecosystem, Looker continues to get more and more powerful; you can bet we’re working to remove the friction between your data, insights and running an intelligent business.

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