Google Cloud Bolsters Enterprise Offering With Looker Acquisition

Google is getting real about their analytics offerings with the $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker Data Sciences. The purchase will bolster the tech giant’s data-insight services and sync well with their cloud-agnostic strategy. Most importantly, perhaps, is that the big data deal reinforces Google’s new-found commitment to courting enterprise-level clients to their cult of cloud.

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Google Cloud’s new CEO Thomas Kurian is ready to dive right in after six months on the job and his bid to buy Santa Cruz-based Looker is a bold start. Prior to his ascension as CEO of cloud-related things, Kurian had made Oracle his career home for 22 years.

While the tech giants might share Silicon Valley addresses – they do so only grudgingly. Some speculated about a potential culture clash between the buttoned-up, business-oriented Oracle veteran and his next-gen coders who came to Google to turn clean energy wind turbines into kite-like spinning blades of airborne death (aka Makani Energy).

Despite the disparate corporate environments, Kurian’s keynote speech at Google Cloud’s Next conference was, in spirit, an offered olive-branch. He pointed out that Google was getting it right with their bold multi-cloud strategy but also advised that cultivating strategic partnerships would help them grow in new ways. They’ve lagged behind cloud-competitors Amazon and Microsoft but Kurian is convinced there is a way past that.

Luckily, he is an oracle – who worked at Oracle – when it comes to the enterprise ecosystem and that’s what Google needs if they want to successfully make the transition from edgy tech trendsetter to dependable business partner. Looker is just one piece of that evolutionary puzzle for Google’s cloud business but it’s an important one.

“This acquisition builds on an existing partnership between our two companies where we share more than 350 joint customers, such as Buzzfeed, Hearst, King, Sunrun, WPP Essence, and Yahoo!” Kurian wrote in a Google Cloud blogpost. “[Those] who are already using our products together to unlock the value of their business data – from customer-centric marketing and support, to data-driven product development, and complex financial planning and budgeting.”

Looker, itself, offers additional advantages to Google through its multi-cloud friendly functionality and ability to draw data from multiple SaaS sources – including Salesforce, Marketo and Zendesk. The platform also provides a selection of sector-specialized reporting options created through a community of dedicated users.

“Looker has a number of industry-specific templates, and they have community that contributes to those templates,” said Rick Erickson, chief cloud strategist for Agosto, a cloud services company and premier Google partner. “Looker is providing more visually enriched vertical solutions into the Google ecosystem.”

Incorporating Looker into the Googleverse will go a long way with helping the cloud company with acquiring new customers and expanding on available services for existing customers. Those who use Google’s BigQuery as their enterprise data warehouse will be able to use Looker’s capabilities to define business metrics consistently across varied data sources and purpose-built solutions like sales analytics for a more defined data presentation.

“The combination of Google Cloud and Looker will enable us to further accelerate our leadership as a WordPress digital experience platform,” said Heather Brunner, chairwoman and CEO, WP Engine. “By combining our BigQuery data warehouse with extended BI and visualization tools from Looker, we’ll be empowered with faster, more actionable data insights that will help drive our business forward and better serve our customers.”