With Looker's Lego-style analytics, companies 'snap' together the components they need

Different teams can use different combinations of Looker Blocks to answer their data questions

Making analytics simpler has been an ongoing trend in the world of enterprise software, and on Tuesday data platform provider Looker unveiled a new, modular approach that could go a long way toward that goal.

The company's new Looker Blocks are essentially reusable and customizable apps that each represent a different component of business logic that a user might be interested in: churn prediction or lifetime value metrics, for example. Those "blocks," in turn, can be put together and customized as needed to help answer the user's analytics questions.

For example, "snapped" together in the right combinations, Looker Blocks can be used to analyze the sales funnel, monitor customer behavior, conduct sophisticated Web analytics or gauge the effectiveness of an online storefront, Looker says.

Looker Blocks are an addition to Looker's namesake analytics and business intelligence platform, which was released roughly two and a half years ago with a focus on eliminating data silos and giving organizations a uniform window on large quantities of data. While data is controlled centrally, users can still access it for analytics.

Now, with the addition of this modular approach, data analysts can more quickly and easily give business users the ability to answer their analytics questions while still retaining governance and a unified view, said Frank Bien, Looker's CEO.

Essentially, Looker Blocks represent some of the most commonly used components among the company's 400 or so existing customers and makes them available to everyone in ready-made fashion, Bien said.

There are two categories of Looker Blocks right now.

Source Blocks give companies a way to quickly describe and combine data from common sources including Salesforce, Segment, Snowplow, Zendesk and Marketo.

Analytics Blocks can be used to answer any business question by "plugging" the field names of interest into any of a variety of analytical design patterns focusing on customer affinities, lifetime behaviors, funnel pipelines and time-based or event-based activities such as typical click-streams or conversion rates.

"All those things can just be added in a modular way, with a single source of truth for any question," Bien said.

Looker is priced based on the size of the data environment plus the number of users. Looker Blocks come with the platform at no extra charge.

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