What is Business Intelligence Looker Platform: A Comprehensive Guide

Nicholas Samuel • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Business Intelligence Looker

An organization that makes data-driven decisions has a competitive advantage over its competitors. That’s why data is an important component of every organization. Every organization should collect data from every department and store it well. Others that don’t generate enough data to help them in decision-making make use of external sources.

However, collecting and storing data is not enough for data-driven decision-making. Organizations must go ahead to analyze the data so as to draw patterns and trends that can help them make meaningful decisions. 

The processes of collecting, storing, and analyzing data cannot be successful if done manually. The reason is that a huge volume of complex data is involved. Companies need special software to help them perform business intelligence tasks. Looker is a good example of such a tool. 

In this article, you will be learning in detail the facilities offered by Looker, the procedure to implement the Business Intelligence Looker Platform, and the limitations of the platform. 

Table of Contents

What is Looker?

Looker Logo - Business Intelligence Looker
Image Source: Brands Logos

Looker is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool designed for Data Exploration and Analytics. It helps businesses to collect data from multiple sources for data-driven decision-making. With Looker, businesses can analyze Supply Chains, Quantify Customer Value, market Digitally, evaluate Distribution Processes, and interpret Customer Behavior. 

It allows its users to “View Source” to know how the data they are viewing is being modified. You can use its dashboard to present data and insights using Customizable Graphs, Charts, and Reports. 

You can drill into all dashboards and queries, and discover information in multiple layers. Looker users can use its Data Modeling language to define Data Metrics and discover relationships between different data sets. Its storytelling feature allows users to present data analysis results using feature-rich visualizations. 

Documentation regarding Looker’s environment can be found here,

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This is what you need for this article:

  • A Looker Account. 

Procedure for Using Looker Business Intelligence Platform

Following are the steps that a user may carry out to set up the Looker Business Intelligence Platform:

Business Intelligence Looker Step 1: Accessing Admin Settings

After logging into your Looker account, you can access all the settings that you want to configure from the Admin tab. 

Top Navigation Bar  - Business Intelligence Looker
Image Source: Exasol Documentation

You can change general settings from the Admin tab and enable Looker experiments on the Labs features. 

Business Intelligence Looker Step 2: Enabling / Disabling Experimental Features

After clicking the “Labs” option in the General settings section, you will be taken to a page with Beta and Experimental features provided by the tool. You can enable or disable any of these features by turning the toggle button next to each option either on or off. 

Business Intelligence Looker Step 3: Monitoring User Activity

You can view the user activity and other information about the local instance from the vertical navigation bar shown on the left side of the screen. You just have to click the “User Activity” option located under “System Activity”. 

System Activity Drop Down Menu  - Business Intelligence Looker
Image Source: Infinite Lambda

This should take you to a web page that shows the various metrics for the users. Most of the metrics are represented using charts to help you grasp concepts with ease. 

The “Users” section helps you to manage users. It is the section from which you can view the available users and create new users.

Business Intelligence Looker Step 4: Creation of New Users 

If you need to create a new user, just click the “Users” option located below the “Users” section. You will be taken to a web page that shows the list of available users.

For each user, there will be details about the user id, name, credentials, groups, roles, and actions. You can disable a user from using Looker by clicking the “Disable” button located on the right of the user details. 

To create a new user, click the “Add Users” button located at the top of the web page. You will then be taken through a number of on-screen instructions for the user to be created. 

Business Intelligence Looker Step 5: Creation of New Groups

The “Groups” option located below the “Users” section shows the details of various groups. For each group, there are details about the group ID, Name, Roles, Members, and Actions. For the actions, you can either Edit, Rename, or Delete a group. 

To create a new group, click the “Add Group” button located at the top. 

Business Intelligence Looker Step 6: Defining the Roles for Users

You can establish roles in the “Roles” section located below the Users section. If you click this option, you will be taken to a web page that shows the details of various roles.

For each role, there is the Name, Permission Set, Model Set, User Count, and Actions. For the actions, you are allowed to either Edit or Delete the roles. 

Business Intelligence Looker Step 7: Calibrating Developer Settings

You can manage your database connections and developer settings from the “Database” section. After clicking the “Connections” option, you will be taken to a web page that shows the list of available connections in your Looker account.

For each connection, you will get details about the Name, Host:Port, Username, Database, SSL, Type, and Actions. For the actions, you are allowed to Test or Edit the connection details. 

Business Intelligence Looker Step 8: Testing Connections

You can also test all connections by clicking the “Test All Connections” button located at the top. If you need to connect your Looker account to another data source, click the “New Connection” button. You will be taken through on-screen instructions to help you establish a connection to your new data source. 

New Connection: Business Intelligence Looker
Image Source: Exasol Documentation

Limitations of Using Looker

The following are the limitations associated with the Looker Business Intelligence Tool:

  1. It has a high price. This makes it only a good choice for large enterprises. 
  2. Technical expertise may be needed for one to use Looker. This may force a company to recruit new members to its technical team. 


In this article, you have learned in detail about the facilities offered by Looker, the procedure to implement the Business Intelligence Looker Platform, and the limitations of the platform. 

If you are looking to connect your Redshift Datawarehouse to Looker you can find the guide here- Connecting Redshift to Looker, or if you want to integrate Salesforce with Looker you can find the steps here- Connecting Salesforce to Looker.

Automated integration with your Data Warehouses/multiple Data sources and the Analytics Database can make your choice much simpler as a lot of necessary features can be integrated readily.

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