Looker and the Magic Quadrant: a shift in the market

Pedro Arellano, VP of Product Marketing at Looker

Feb 13, 2020

The 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) Platforms latest edition published this week. We believe this report is a veritable who’s who of our industry. Vendors anxiously await its release each year, while companies rely on Gartner’s research to make informed decisions when evaluating analytics and BI solutions

All of us at Looker are thrilled to be recognized as a Challenger in the 2020 edition of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant1. This is a crowded market and simply appearing on the quadrant is an important accomplishment. We thank our customers for their wonderful support and we congratulate all our peers recognized this year.

We believe, the Magic Quadrant can also reveal important shifts in the industry. We believe that the vendor movement observed in this year’s edition mirrors a profound change happening in the market. According to Gartner2, “incorporating data into your already existing cultural process is much easier than trying to change both mindsets and behavior.”

In our interpretation, Gartner’s research points to a shift in the way organizations get value from data. Leading-edge companies are discovering ways to use data that go beyond displaying it on a report or a dashboard. These companies are truly creating a data-driven culture, delivering insights into key operational workflows.

We’re observing this shift within our own customer base. Looker customers are using data to:

  • Fuel digital transformation through data modernization. Data leaders have a responsibility to drive digital transformation and Looker is a fundamental piece of a modern data stack.
  • Create new revenue streams and gain new customers with custom data products and end-to-end data applications. Forward thinking data leaders are challenged to find new ways to contribute to the organization’s growth by monetizing their data.
  • Amplify the impact of their workforce, enabling better decision making or optimizing operational workflows without manual intervention.

It’s become clear that successful data-driven organizations will lead their respective segments not because they use data to create reports, but because they use it to power data experiences tailored to every part of the business, including employees, customers, operational workflows, products and services.

When looking at the use cases our customers are supporting, we observe four clearly distinguishable categories of data experiences:

  1. Modern BI & Analytics: This experience category remains the most common use of data today. It has an analytics focus and consists of serving up real-time, relevant reports that act as a starting point for more in-depth analysis.
  2. Integrated Insights: Contextual in nature, this category of data experience embeds relevant insights into the tools and products organizations already use, providing valuable context to users of those tools and making the business more effective.
  3. Data-driven Workflows: This is an operational data experience identified by its focus on optimizing real-time business workflows through automating the decision-making process, significantly reducing — and sometimes eliminating — manual intervention.
  4. Custom Applications: This category encompasses purpose-built data tools designed to support a specific function and business objective — create new revenue streams, expand product adoption, sharpen differentiation, reduce development costs, minimize churn risk, and more.

Most vendors in the market are focused exclusively on supporting the first data experience category. Looker, on the other hand, has the capability to support the full spectrum of data experiences. This gives our solution a unique advantage, but it also requires a strong technology foundation that gives companies the tools and confidence to deploy any data use case they can think of.

The desire to empower our customers to create any kind of data experiences imaginable has been the impetus behind our product development efforts. Looker 7, announced at the end of 2019, introduced new tools for application developers like a rich development framework, an in-product Marketplace, updated SDKs, new UI components, and new developer resources. All of these capabilities are delivered on top of an unparalleled application platform, a unique in-database design and ability to write back via Looker Actions, architected for near real-time operational use cases.

Our 2020 product roadmap will further this vision. We will continue to invest in delivering a modern BI experience, helping customers build a strong data culture across their organizations. We will deliver the most extensible and powerful platform in the market, facilitating an ecosystem for enabling the development of custom operational data experiences. We will introduce modern tools for data teams with the aim of becoming the standard development environment for organizations of any size. And we will remain committed to our multi-cloud strategy, supporting customer deployments at scale across any cloud.

It’s an honor to be positioned as a Challenger in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant. Making our customers happy and successful, expressed in our core value of “Love Looker Love” motivates us every day. We are excited about the work ahead of us in 2020.

To learn more, download a copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) Platforms.


1 Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms,” by James Richardson, Rita Sallam, Kurt Schlegel, Austin Kronz, and Julian Sun February 13, 2020

2 Gartner CDO Success Factors: Culture Hacks to Create a Data-Driven Enterprise, Debra Logan, Mike Rollings, November 22, 2019


Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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