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Organizing Looker Content

By Afzal Jasani

· Looker,Analytics,Data Visualization,Dashboard

Keeping content up to date and valid is a constant struggle in any business intelligence platform. This blog post reviews our favorite methods for organizing content in Looker since we at Data Clymer are Looker experts. Improved content organization helps users find and access the correct and accurate content they need to answer questions and provides an efficient pathway to validate new content moving forward. Below we have outlined how folders, boards, and permissions will be structured in Looker to achieve this result.

Folders

You can organize your folders by department, teams, or themes. For this example folders will be the following:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Sales
  • Operations
  • Customer Success

New Content Creation

When creating new content we advise that you follow these procedures. In order to reduce clutter when creating new content you should create and save it in your personal folder. When that content is ready to be reviewed by a team lead, place it in the correct “Work in Progress” folder based on the vertical.

I.E. If you are working on Operations data you will go into the Operations Work in Progress folder which is a subfolder in Operations. This allows the team lead to know your content is ready to be validated. If approved, the team lead will move it over to the Conversion Production folder. Otherwise, the content will be placed back into your personal folder.

If there is a case where content needs to be updated that is already in the Production folder, make a copy of that content and follow the above steps for validation. This ensures we can check the new version against the existing version.

Folder Permissions

It is important to set folder permissions with a team lead in mind. The team lead will have Manage Access and Edit permissions on the folder which allows them to edit any content within that folder. We can change the permissions by going into a folder and clicking on the gearbox in the top right corner.

When we click on Manage Access we can see current settings and edit the permissions as well.

Ideally, only Admins and the team leads have Edit permission, while all other users only have View permission. This is where Groups come in handy because it allows us to manage users easily and effectively.

Groups

For Groups to work effectively, it is important to first map out the permissions and access that will be necessary across all your users. Some considerations are

  • How many different data sets are available?
  • How many different models exist?
  • What are the different user types (Explorers, Viewers, Developers, Admins)?

Next you can start to think about how you want to group users together. Previously, we talked about departments or teams. This is a great way to set up your groups and assign users within Looker.

With Groups you can assign access to Folders, manage access for the entire team/department, and add new users easily. Groups can also have subgroups. For example you might have a Sales department at your organization and inside that department you may have SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) and AEs (Account Executives). You could have a Sales group in Looker, and then also have a subgroup for SDRs and AEs separately. The AEs might only need viewer permission and the SDRs might need explorer permissions.

Boards

With the introduction of boards in Looker, it is time to consider organizing and curating content with intention. Boards provide a way for people to curate and surface existing content for initiatives and teams.This feature works well with folders. Folders will still retain the underlying content (Looks and Dashboards).

There are several benefits for utilizing boards.

  • Curate dashboards and looks for a team
  • Pin the same looks or dashboards to multiple boards 
  • Support new users by making it easier for them to find relevant content (i.e. Onboarding Board for helping users get familiar)
  • Populate an information section, add context with Markdown links and descriptions to help guide users
  • All boards can be viewed by anyone at the organization, and they can also be made private 
  • To set access level for a board, select the share icon in the upper right of the board
  • Boards also honor any existing access levels, people will not see content that they do not have access to see

Data Clymer is a premier boutique consulting firm specializing in data culture transformation. Our proven methodology includes full data stack implementation, data democratization, custom training, and analytics to enable data-driven decisions across the organization. We have curated a set of best practices from our deep expertise in Looker, Tableau, Snowflake, Redshift, BigQuery, Panoply, Matillon, DBT, and Fivetran. If you need professional help, contact us at hello@dataclymer.com, or on our Website or Linkedin.

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