Looker vs. Sisense: Compare Core BI Capabilities and More

Looker and Sisense are two BI software solutions with robust business intelligence features. In this post, we’ll compare them on several factors.

What is the Difference Between Looker and Sisense?

  • ​Both vendors offer targeted solutions for similar industries and job roles. The main difference is that Looker also has solutions intended for media, gaming and SaaS companies, while Sisense’s solutions target the pharma, travel and manufacturing industries.
  • Looker users can send emails or Slack chats directly in the data with its Actions feature, but Sisense users can only receive alerts.

Product Overviews

The following excerpts from our Looker and Sisense reviews summarize each software solution:


Google Cloud’s Looker Data Platform is a data-discovery platform that helps companies make better business decisions through real-time access to data. Data, no matter the size, can be analyzed within Looker’s 100% in-database and 100% browser-based platform. Looker analytics integrate with any SQL database or data warehouse, such as Amazon Athena, Greenplum and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

The platform is accessible on any browser as well as on mobile devices  – reports and data can be shared via email or URLs. Data can be integrated into different applications such as Google Docs, Excel, and even customer and third-party applications. It can also be manually exported in .csv or text files.


Sisense is designed to handle all sorts of data, from small data sets to big data. It’s also scalable because it allows companies to accumulate more data as they go without the worries of crashing servers or slow computer memory. Its in-chip technology uses parallel processing and an in-memory columnar database so it can crunch up terabytes of data on a single server and still serve multiple users. Therefore, companies will not need to spend resources on additional hardware or servers.

Sisense’s BI solution can be deployed either as on-premise or in the cloud. Its customers include small businesses to large enterprises across many industries.

Features Comparisons

Data Preparation


Looker connects with over 50 SQL-compliant databases (e.g., Google BigQuery, Amazon RedShift, Snowflake). Its proprietary LookML data modeling tool lets users develop custom data models. After connecting with a SQL database, Looker automatically creates a basic LookML model. Users can then build on that model by adding in their own code or by selecting from over 100 pre-built Looker Blocks, as well as customizing the model with unique metrics. The LookML model can be saved for future use, so users won’t need to write SQL queries each time. LookML can also perform any data transformations at the time of the query, so users won’t need to manually store the data elsewhere.


Sisense can connect to many cloud and on-premise data sources via its data connector library. The In-Warehouse Data Prep module lets users pull large sets of data from their cloud data warehouse without relying on IT support.

Sisense can identify and correct inaccurate data or discrepancies without any impact to the original data source. It also has multiple transformation functions (e.g., Date, Address) that can automatically convert data into the appropriate field.

Bottom Line

While both software solutions connect with similar SQL databases like Amazon RedShift, Microsoft SQL Server and Google BigQuery, Looker users can connect with cloud-based sources (e.g., Salesforce, Google Analytics) using Looker Blocks. Sisense’s cloud data connections are available via native and API connections.

Dashboards and Visualizations


Looker has interactive data visualizations and dashboards that let users drill down into the data at row-level detail. It includes a library of visualization templates in different formats (e.g., timelines, funnel, combined charts, treemaps), but users can build their own visualizations, too. It also includes a drag-and-drop functionality for users to explore and ask questions in their data. Users can also take action or complete a task directly into their data, such as sending an email or a Slack chat, with the Actions feature that has prebuilt integrations to third-party software systems.


Sisense has a library of prebuilt dashboards targeted to industry or job roles (e.g., Manufacturing, Finance, Sales). In addition, users can create their own dashboards by running an ad-hoc analysis, moving built-in chart widgets and placing them within a dashboard. They can opt to have charts, graphs or maps within a dashboard. The dashboards are updated in real time, so users won’t need to rebuild them, and users can share those dashboards with internal or external colleagues. Those users can also access dashboards and filter or drill down into the dashboard, as long as appropriate permissions are set.

Once a dashboard is created, the Sisense Pulse Alert feature lets users set up custom alerts for specific key performance indicators (KPIs). If abnormalities are detected in the data, alerts can be sent to a user’s desktop or a mobile device as push notifications.

Bottom Line

Both vendors provide similar visualization features, as well as provide tailored dashboards for the healthcare and retail industries. However, Looker’s prebuilt tailored dashboards specifically target media, gaming and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), while Sisense’s specialized visualizations target manufacturing, pharma, travel and finance. Also, both software solutions target specific job roles like marketing, sales and customer service, but Sisense’s visualizations are also specifically built for human resources and executive teams.

Finally, Looker allows users to take action within their data, while Sisense users receive alerts about any KPI abnormalities.

Natural Language Query (NLQ)


Looker integrates with Keboola, a data operations solution, to provide NLQ features to users via the Voice of the Customer with its natural language processing (NLP) block. The block, which users can install via the Looker Marketplace, provides companies with detailed customer reviews on its products, as well as any issues or opportunities. The NLP engine analyzes customer reviews and provides positive and negative sentient data using keywords (e.g., price, service). Users can measure their team’s responsiveness to customer issues, compare review feedback among its multiple locations or compare its performance to their competitors’.


Sisense AI Throughout is a technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate data prep tasks and guide users in finding insights in their data.

Its Natural Language Query (NLQ) feature lets users ask a question about their data with the “Simply Ask” button where the user can type in a question, get automatic and personalized suggestions to complete the question, and then get an answer in the form of a visualization. Sisense NLQ can provide suggestions for synonyms for the value or formula in a data model, spelling mistakes or any ambiguity in the measure or value.

Bottom Line

Looker’s NLQ integration with Keboola is mainly intended for marketing and customer service use cases. However, the Sisense AI Throughout feature targets all users.

Embedded Analytics


Companies can offer their clients and employees the opportunity to analyze data within their existing third-party application. Developers can build their app with Looker’s native integrations and public APIs, and they can also collaborate using Git version-control and workflow features. Companies can grow their revenue streams by offering product tiers that feature customization, ad hoc analysis, data granularity and admin reporting functionalities.


The Sisense Fusion Embed solution allows companies to offer embedded analytics to their internal or external customers. Its white-labeled application lets users customize the software based on their brand, and they can extend the analytics functionality with Javascript application program interfaces (APIs).

Sisense can be embedded within the company’s existing software, so end users can perform analyses without having to use a separate business intelligence software. Companies can scale Sisense as their customer needs grow since the software can be deployed in the cloud or on premise in a single or multi-tenant architecture.

Bottom Line

Both software solutions support similar methods for embedded analytics (e.g., iFrames, SDK, API). However, Looker provides a unique benefit for companies that want to improve their revenue by offering premium features such as additional customization and more detailed analysis to their customers.

Download Comparison Guide



Google Cloud offers pay-as-you-go pricing for the Standard edition of Looker (Google Cloud core), which costs $5,000 per month. Pricing for the Enterprise and Embed editions are available by quote.

Google Cloud also provides user licenses. A Developer user license costs $125 per user, per month, a Standard user license costs $60 per user, per month and a Viewer user license costs ($30 per user, per month).


Sisense has a free trial so users can test its software. The vendor bases its pricing on an annual subscription model that includes features and support.

Because Sisense prefers to provide custom quotes based on each client’s specific needs, prices aren’t publicly available.

Bottom Line

Google Cloud has recently started to publicize pricing info for some Looker plans, but prospects will still need a tailored quote.

Customer Support


Google Cloud provides basic support that’s included in the subscription price, such as documentation, a community forum, Active Assist Recommendations (tools that generate insights and recommendations to help optimize customer’s usage of Google Cloud products) and access to billing specialist for payment/billing questions. Then, Google Cloud Customer Care offers a range of support services for additional fees. Those services are:

Standard – The Standard support costs $29 per month plus 3% of monthly charges. It includes:

  • Initial response times: Priority 2 cases within four hours; Priority 3 cases within eight hours; Priority 4 cases within eight hours
  • 8/5 service for high-impact issues
  • Unlimited individual access to support
  • Multi-channel billing and tech support
  • Active Assist Recommendations API

Enhanced – The Enhanced support costs $500 per month plus 3% of monthly charges. It adds on:

  • Initial response times: Priority 1 cases within one hour; Priority 2 cases within four hours; Priority 3 cases within eight hours; Priority 4 cases within eight hours
  • 24/7 response for critical-impact and high-impact issues
  • Availability in English, Japanese, Mandarin, Chinese and Korean (Standard support is only available in English)
  • Technical support escalations
  • Cloud support API
  • Third-party technology support

Premium – The Enhanced support costs $12,500 per month plus 4% of monthly charges. It adds on:

  • Initial response times: Priority 1 cases within 15 minutes; Priority 2 cases within two hours; Priority 3 cases within four hours; Priority 4 cases within eight hours
  • Google Cloud Skills Boost
  • Event management service
  • Operational health reviews
  • Customer aware support (learning about and maintaining information about customer’s architecture, partners, and Google Cloud projects in order to provide efficient support)
  • Technical account management


Sisense has a variety of features in its support portal:

  • Ticketing system
  • Product releases
  • Documentation (e.g., FAQs, how-to articles, guides)
  • Video tutorials
  • User community forums
  • Developer forums
  • Sisense Academy virtual training courses

In addition, each client is assigned a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) who serves as the main point of contact. Additional complimentary support features include:

  • Response to Priority 1 issues within four service hours
  • Response to Priority 2 issues within eight service hours
  • Response to Priority 3 issues within 12 service hours
  • Remote onboarding sessions
  • Designated BI consultant during onboarding

Sisense has an Enterprise Elite Service tier at an additional cost. It includes all of the complimentary support offerings, plus:

  • Response to Priority 1 issues within two service hours
  • Response to Priority 2 issues within four service hours
  • Response to Priority 3 issues within eight service hours
  • 24/7 proactive environment monitoring
  • Proactive technical support and preventive advice
  • Designated technical support consultant
  • On-site and remote onboarding sessions
  • Designated BI consultant post-implementation
  • On-site (twice per year) growth planning and deployment reviews
  • Tailored growth and adoption toolkit
  • On-site training and workshops

Bottom Line

While both vendors have similar support offerings, Looker’s Standard support plan requires an additional fee. This is complimentary for Sisense clients.

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