Exploring The Total Economic Impact™ Study of Looker

Carly Gladstone, Looker Value & Insights Team, Google Cloud

Jun 28, 2021

Business Intelligence (BI) leaders often find themselves in a unique and difficult position when it comes to making strategic buying decisions for their organizations.

On the one hand, making the right buying decision is crucial. BI is consistently cited as one of the top most critical initiatives for organizations to invest in to harness the value of their data as they evolve and digitally transform. On the other hand, the market is inundated with free and low cost options that, on the surface, all appear to deliver the same capabilities, and therefore the same value, to the organizations that choose them. This perception of a commoditized market puts BI buyers in a difficult position where purchasing a tool for one of the organization’s most strategic initiatives becomes oversimplified and is based overwhelmingly on license cost alone.

The license cost of BI software is certainly an important consideration. However, with such a critical decision, it pays to gain a fuller understanding of the value that each solution brings — because as much as it may appear this way at first, they aren’t all the same.

Looker commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct the “Total Economic Impact of Looker” study to help buyers better understand the return on investment (ROI) that the Looker platform can deliver to their organization. This Total Economic Impact study derived its findings through conversations with a group of six global Looker customers across different vertical industries who use the platform in a broad range of use cases, including internal and embedded deployments. The experiences of the interviewees were then combined to create a composite organization that could represent the average participant's experience using Looker. This organization is the basis for the financial model that was used to calculate the costs and benefits referenced throughout the study.

Looker’s ROI highlights from the study

The composite organization, a global B2B company with 4,000 employees and $1B in annual revenue, realized a three-year 486% ROI with a payback period of less than 6 months. What is especially noteworthy about these statistics is that this return was based on a large deployment of 750 internal users and 20,000 external users for the composite organization. Forrester found several key value drivers that the six customers were able to convey during the interview process which contribute to the overall $10.7M in benefits over three years:

Let’s explore the benefit drivers in more detail and look at some of the specific benefits and ROI that our customer references discussed with Forrester.

The use of Looker improved efficiency of Data Teams by 99%

Customers transitioning from other BI tools or homegrown solutions typically mention a frustration with a heavy reliance on their data teams. From rewriting queries to getting the appropriate datasets to restructuring and manipulating data for dashboards, analytics experts must be involved throughout almost every step of the workflow, resulting in a tremendous time cost to the business. The Total Economic Impact study revealed that after investing in Looker, the heavy reliance on data teams for insights work diminished, allowing business users to leverage data sooner for faster decision making. For example, the VP of business intelligence shared that the “20-hour workflow for engineering to develop or update a report now only required 20 minutes of the business user to complete the same work with Looker.”

This benefit translates to external use cases as well, enabling data teams to spend less time responding to ad hoc requests from customers. The VP of product from the B2B SaaS firm reported their team spending one hour each on at least 10 support requests weekly from customers utilizing their external analytics. With Looker, this has gone away completely. This reduces reliance on data teams by 99%, enabling them to spend their time on other high value priorities and company initiatives.

Improved efficiency and time to value of other teams by 25%

Heavy reliance on engineering not only resulted in excess time costs for data teams, but also resulted in delays to broader employee productivity. Employees were stuck waiting days and even weeks for their requests to be completed, delaying insights that would lead to impactful business decisions. For example, the VP of marketing insights and strategy from the retail and CPG industry shared that their merchandising team needed a new metric for an important analysis. The analysis took a full month for the engineering team to complete. With their prior tool, the delay would have meant that the data was already stale. With Looker, the data is updated nearer to real time and the team is now able to make decisions much more quickly and efficiently. Looker empowers self service and complete data democratization — boosting overall productivity by 25%.

Increased average sale value by 26% and reduced churn by 7%

In addition to time savings and productivity improvements, customers reported that their investment in Looker led to a broad variety of additional positive business benefits. Ranging from optimizing media investments by 25% to decreasing refund orders by 30% to improving revenue by 30%, customers are seeing Looker impact many areas across the business. Looker also enables organizations to turn data analytics into an additional business offering by providing data analytics back to their customers, resulting in increasing the average contract value by over 25% and reducing churn by 7%.

Customers shared that the improved business results they experienced thanks to Looker were achieved much faster than if they were to build their own solutions. Building the same product in house or with another solution would have taken between 8 and 12 months, but only took 3 months with Looker. Additionally, building new functionality into that product is faster and easier as well, and can be accomplished in a matter of months — as opposed to the years it would have taken with an alternate solution.

Reduced cost of data infrastructure

The majority of customers decommissioned at least one BI tool after investing in Looker, with some customers decommissioning as many as three tools. These companies also reduced the amount of internal IT costs related to maintaining the previous solutions. One customer who completed the Total Economic Impact survey shared that they reduced the number of data marts and warehouses by 93%, with associated savings of $10 million annually.

Unquantified benefits

How would you put a price on something like data-driven innovation, trusting the business logic is consistent and the data is always fresh, or backend flexibility that allows you to design your data stack exactly the way you need it? Not all benefits are easy to quantify — but they can still be felt. Some of the harder-to-measure benefits our customers spoke to included:

  • Better decision-making through shared language and trust
  • Improved innovation
  • Reduced security risk
  • Accurate and functional Looker support
  • Backend flexibility and multi-cloud capabilities
  • Resilience during challenging times

Get the study today

We hope this summary has illuminated some of the value considerations that come into play when choosing a BI tool, and of course, the value offered by Looker in particular. To learn more, download the study for yourself and sign up for our upcoming webinar with Forrester.