Enabling trusted Business Intelligence with Looker integration

Data-driven organizations rely on business intelligence (BI) tools like Looker, a Google Cloud company, to derive insights from data. Yet those insights are only of true value when they are derived from trusted data. At the same time, changing workplace practices brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have placed even greater emphasis on maintaining agile data operations and ensuring effective data governance. The need to enhance data discovery, aid understanding, promote collaboration amongst data owners and consumers, and ensure compliance with relevant policies, has never been greater.

Responding to those challenges, Collibra has built a native integration with Looker to ensure mutual customers can combine the respective benefits of their Data Intelligence and business intelligence platforms. The new integration ensures business analysts can automatically register the Looker assets they create in Collibra Data Catalog. Collibra Data Catalog serves as a collaborative platform to govern both underlying data and the tools used to derive insights from that data. 

The combined solution enables several key use cases:

  • Registering and certifying BI assets 
  • Promoting collaboration
  • Shopping for data and analytics 
  • Ensuring compliance 
  • Governing cloud analytics 

Registering and certifying BI assets 

Data catalogs have traditionally been used to improve discovery, understanding, trust and accessibility of data from underlying sources. However, organizations are increasingly expanding the scope of their catalogs to capture the analytical tools used to derive insights from data. This new integration enables Collibra Data Catalog to automatically register reports created in Google Looker, together with the individual objects that make up those reports (dashboards, looks, tiles and queries). The same governance techniques can then be applied to help promote quality and consistency of analytical processes, as well as the data on which those processes are founded.

Promoting collaboration 

The built-in collaborative features offered by Collibra enable all stakeholders to work together in promoting Data Intelligence. Report owners immediately have access to a platform to make their analysis more easily discoverable. By capturing relevant metadata, such as the data sets included in a report, Collibra provides viewers rich contextual information to aid their understanding of the analysis. Equally, by collating user feedback and overlaying certification procedures, an organization can promote best practices in analytical processes – making sure the best reports are highlighted and that certified analytics can be reused.  

Shopping for data and analytics 

Business analysts can often spend more time locating and preparing data than analyzing it. Collibra ensures that does not happen. Collibra Data Catalog serves as the perfect complement to Looker because it allows analysts to quickly find the right data, and have it prepared and delivered ready for analysis. In addition to shopping for data, analysts can also save time by discovering comparable reports and analytical assets that can help them in their day-to-day tasks. By re-using components from certified reports, analysts not only help promote consistency, but also avoid duplicative efforts; they don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can instead focus on delivering innovative insights. 

Ensuring compliance 

Modern data-driven organizations face a range of policy-based restrictions on how they can use data. Rules determining data usage policies can vary significantly by industry or jurisdiction. In order to ensure compliance, organizations need to be aware of which rules apply to which data sets and under which circumstances. Whether that means catering to data subject rights, inhibiting specific uses of data (such as sale or transfer), or ensuring data is retained for audit purposes, Collibra helps organizations to take a data-centric approach to compliance. By classifying data at the columnar level, organizations can overlay granular usage policies that can be used to determine access controls. 

Governing cloud data and analytics

The integration with Looker is part of a broader partnership between Collibra and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that includes integration with other components of GCP’s cloud data and analytics platform (for more information, see our paper explaining why a governance foundation is vital for cloud data platforms). Working together, Collibra and GCP provide organizations with an agile and scalable platform for deriving data-driven business insights, underpinned by a Data Intelligence platform that assures trust in those insights. 

Establishing the right foundations for self-service BI

Self-service business intelligence has become a key capability for modern data-driven organizations. However, to truly enable this capability, organizations need to have the right data foundations in place. They need to make sure business analysts can easily find the right, trusted sources of data (and check that they are entitled to access those sources). They need to help analysts to understand data sets and interpret key terms consistently by providing access to a business glossary and data dictionary. Finally, they need the whole organization to collaborate around data and analytics, leveraging expert insights through formal certification processes and collating user feedback to capture the wisdom of crowds. Collibra enables all of that to happen. The new native integration with Google Looker ensures joint customers can truly reap the benefits of both platforms – enabling innovative data-driven business insights, developed on a foundation of trusted, well-governed data.

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