Compare Tableau to Looker

See how Tableau's platform empowers users of all skill levels to get value from data

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With Tableau, the end goal of your analysis is not a dashboard – it’s a better understanding of your data.

Tableau is known as the analytics platform that helps everyone see and understand data. While many analytics providers claim to offer ‘self-service’ analytics capabilities, Tableau’s patented VizQL™ technology offers unique data exploration and analysis abilities to help organisations get more out of their data investments and lower the barrier of entry to analytics.

Tableau is more than just visualisations and dashboards: from integrated AI/ML to data prep and data cataloguing, Tableau offers a governed end-to-end analytics platform that enables customers to achieve analytics at scale. And whether a customer chooses to deploy on-premises or in the cloud, data needs to be in real-time or in-memory, customers can count on Tableau’s flexibility to fit to their ever-evolving data strategy.

How Tableau provides more value

See why customers choose Tableau to improve data-driven decision making across their organisation.

Superior analytics

Increase analytical proficiency

Tableau’s proprietary VizQL™ technology enables unparalleled data exploration capabilities, which lead to new data discoveries and deeper insights. In Looker, similar nuanced analysis requires writing code or making changes to the underlying data model.

Impact: Tableau provides the ability for more users within an organisation to achieve analytical proficiency, while simultaneously reducing the burden placed on a handful of technical experts. This leads to greater organisational efficiencies and better decision-making.

Tableau Looker

Tableau is easy to use, providing powerful, intuitive analytics capabilities that empower more people to analyse data without relying on technical experts to write code.

Looker’s product philosophy is rooted in the ability to write SQL. In many cases, what is no-code functionality in Tableau requires coding expertise to achieve similar results.

Tableau’s robust data visualisation capabilities unlock limitless creativity and flexibility for exploring, visualising, and communicating with data.

Looker allows users to visualise data with a finite list of native visualisation choices, which often necessitates integration with third-party tools for custom visuals.

Tableau provides deep analysis capabilities for end users, allowing for ad-hoc analysis on IT-curated data sources without requiring IT to continually make changes to the underlying data model.

In Looker, end users are limited in their ad-hoc analytics capabilities. This leads to dependencies on a handful of technical specialists to conduct analysis at the data model layer or to code in functionality to meet user requirements.

Tableau has made heavy investments to incorporate AI-driven insights and natural language querying in the platform. Our augmented analytics improve speed to insight and lower the barrier to entry to more advanced analysis.

Looker hasn’t invested in native augmented analytics capabilities and therefore is reliant on third party integrations.

Platform flexibility

Leverage existing and future technology investments

Tableau’s agnostic approach to data connectivity is flexible to align to any organisational data strategy, enabling analytics at scale and minimising the risks of evolving data investments.

Impact: Tableau enables organisations to connect to data wherever it resides, including the flexibility to choose connectivity type. This reduces the dependency on complex ETL processes and enterprise data store maintenance while decreasing time to analysis.

Tableau Looker

Tableau’s agnostic approach to data allows users to connect to a wide variety of data sources, wherever they reside.

Looker’s in-database architecture necessitates everything being loaded into an analytical database prior to conducting analysis.

Tableau gives customers the option to connect live to data or to leverage Hyper’s in-memory database to offload query volume, improve poor query performance and reduce database costs.

Looker’s architecture requires establishing a direct connection to data. This can mean substantial database investments, reliance on a robust enterprise ETL process and limited data source connectivity choices.

Tableau’s flexible architecture allows organisations to leverage their existing data technology investments, lifecycle management and governance policies.

Looker’s data model requires organisational business logic and data governance to be managed within their proprietary metadata layer, increasing the risk of vendor lock-in and limiting flexibility.

Self-service data prep

Reduce data preparation bottlenecks

One of the biggest obstacles to scaling analytics is the ability to transform raw data into a structure suitable for analysis. Tableau provides a variety of visual, intuitive data preparation tools to help more users use data for informed decision-making. With Looker, data preparation is limited to only those who can write SQL.

Impact: By extending data preparation capabilities to more people within an organisation, users spend less time waiting for data and more time dedicated to analysis.

Tableau Looker

Tableau Prep offers a smart, visual, drag-and-drop data preparation experience. This helps users of all skill levels to model, modify and prepare data for analysis.

Looker’s data model requires SQL expertise to prepare and model data. This can create a development bottleneck, with a majority of users depending on a handful of technical specialists to prepare data for analysis.

Tableau allows users to connect directly to data wherever it resides to prepare and model data for analysis. This alleviates IT’s burden of handling simple data manipulation requests, affording them more time dedicated to strategic data initiatives.

Looker requires data to be loaded into a limited choice of analytical databases prior to preparing data for analysis.

Tableau supports query federation to allow users to combine data from multiple sources for analysis.

Looker has limitations in its ability to handle multi-source query federation. As a result, data must first be merged at the database level.


Community & support

Unrivalled user community

The Tableau community is unparalleled in the BI market, with more than 1 million diverse and engaged members globally. From analysts to IT, teachers to data leaders, these people connect and support one another to achieve personal and professional goals with data. Customers often say, "the Tableau community will not let you fail".

Impact: A passionate community helps organisations maximise the value of their analytics investment by accelerating adoption and learning while providing a valuable network for support and inspiration. The Tableau community sets the industry standard for user enablement with its participation in 620+ worldwide user groups, events and online forums.

Tableau Looker

Tableau doesn’t just talk about creating a data culture: we provide tangible assets to help customers along their digital transformation journey – like Tableau Blueprint, which provides proven, prescriptive guidance to achieve analytics at scale.

Looker messages the concept of a data culture but doesn’t provide a tangible methodology to help customers achieve success.

Tableau’s robust community provides extensive knowledge-sharing to empower users of all skill levels to grow their data capabilities.

Looker has a small developer-centric community that provides limited ways for users to find answers to their questions or collaborate with other users.

Tableau is consistently cited as one of the fastest-growing tech skills. This allows companies to identify, attract and retain top talent.

Looker is a niche product with heavy coding requirements, which places an emphasis on hiring users with a developer skillset. This makes it more difficult to find talent with the requisite abilities to get more value from the technology.


Making informed decisions starts with your analytics platform

Understand the true value of Tableau

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Tableau empowers limitless exploration

With Tableau, explore all of your data in a powerful, easy-to-use interface, designed to empower everyone to discover new insights. Tableau’s wide range of built-in analytical capabilities means you spend less time worrying about manually creating calculations, designing visualiations and formatting dashboards, and more time asking questions of your data. Tableau doesn’t limit the number of data points in a visualisation or enforce row or size limitations, so you have a complete view of your data.  

Flexible deployment with the Tableau platform

With Tableau, you can easily scale your analytics programme to meet your needs as they grow and change. We are constantly innovating and adding new connections, integrations and deployment options to give customers greater elasticity and access to all their data.

Deployment options: Deploy Tableau on-premises, on the public cloud on Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform, or on Tableau Cloud, our fully-managed cloud platform, on Windows or on Linux.

Data connections: From databases and files and to cloud applications, Tableau supports more than 75 native connections, including live connections for real-time insights or data extracts powered by Hyper.

Public cloud
Tableau Cloud
Data source
Big data
Live query