How far are we from software making decisions based on Big Data rather than human data scientists having to make those decisions? Let’s see what Frank Bien, CEO of Looker, has to say.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing Looker and yourself. Tell us what you do. What’s the company all about?
Frank Bien: I’m the CEO of Looker. Looker is a new kind of data analytics and business intelligence solution that really provides end users a new level of exploration capabilities on top of very large and complex sets of data.
Sramana Mitra: What kinds of customers are you going after?
Frank Bien: Looker is seeing this incredible customer growth over a year and half since we launched. We’ve over 150 customers now. The first set of customers were the thought leader data-driven organizations in tech. These are the big e-commerce sites in marketplaces like Simply Hired. Those kinds of organizations that are really driven off of their ability to understand businesses from a data perspective and are characterized by reinventing the old world in the new business model. We’ve seen that grow, so we’ve grown into much larger organizations now. We continue to see that being sustained.
Sramana Mitra: Is there a focus in terms of vertical or horizontal functions?
Frank Bien: We’re playing in the core business intelligence market. If you look at that market, it’s been dominated over the last few years by self-service departmental visualization tools – groundbreaking things like Tableau Software. What we’re focused on is the interdepartmental—what you might have called enterprise BI in the past. It’s this notion of interrelating really large and complex data sets so that end users can get value out of data.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s look at a few use cases. You talked about a few customer names. You have 150 customers. Take whatever you want and let’s look at some of the things that you do with them.
Frank Bien: What we’re seeing across the customer base, over the last few years, is that organizations have collected really huge amounts of data, but the value out of the data has been really elusive. We have a huge shift in infrastructure with things like Amazon, RedShift, or the big databases or in-memory databases.