Looker Offers Embedded BI Capabilities For Partners, Customers

Looker, developer of a Software-as-a-Service business intelligence platform, is looking to expand with a new offering that allows businesses to embed its analytics capabilities within any application, website or portal.

Looker sees the new Powered By Looker service as a way for the vendor's partners and customers to quickly deploy data analytics tools to their own customers.

"Our customers can now create an external-facing data discovery environment with the same flexibility, power and rapid deployment that business users have come to expect from a solution like Looker," CEO Frank Bien said in an interview.

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Providing users with access to data today is much more complicated than in the past. Businesses have to wrestle with data residing in multiple systems and in multiple formats. Bien said Looker's Web-based business intelligence platform provides users with "broad and deep access to data," even when it's in "big, messy data stores."

Looker's technology is integrated with Amazon Redshift, Teradata Aster, Hewlett-Packard Vertica, Pivotal Greenplum, Cloudera Impala, Google BigQuery, Apache Spark, SQL databases and other data sources.

Looker, founded in 2011 and based in Santa Cruz, Calif., focused on direct sales in its early days. But that's been changing. "We now drive about 20 percent of our business through the channel, and that's growing very quickly," said Bien, adding that he'd like to see channel sales increase to between 30 percent and 40 percent of overall sales. "We're growing very quickly, and the channel needs to be a part of that," he said.

The Powered By Looker service enables partners to build solutions that incorporate the Looker BI capabilities. That includes systems integrators, ISVs who build cloud applications, and service companies that want to add business analytics to their service offerings.

Unlike traditional business intelligence software, Looker was designed as a lightweight Web application server that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. That makes it easy to deploy and manage, according to the company, and its metadata layer simplifies building custom analytic applications.

D&S Global, an Austin-based provider of accounts receivable management services, has been using an early version of Powered By Looker for nearly a year to develop interactive dashboards clients use to view and manage their accounts receivable portfolios. Before using Looker, the company sent static reports to its clients.

"Looker is a really important part of our business," said Aaron Bostick, D&S Global chief technology officer, in an interview. "It gives a single version of the truth that the client is going to see."