13 Jun 2019

Salesforce acquires Tableau; good news for those who love data analytics

By: Ronald Schep

Big momentum in the field of business intelligence, data analysis and dashboarding technology


The day we all know would come - or didn’t we? 

The news that Business Intelligence and analytics software expert Tableau would be taken over has been going around for a few years. But I really didn't expect Salesforce to be the takeover party. During the long weekend of Pentecost, the news trickled in fragmentarily. It started with an official statement from Salesforce and after that, Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky informed his staff. I wish to share with you my view on this takeover.

Tableau was ready for a financial injection

In the past, Tableau has given the market of Business Intelligence (BI) an enormous boost. It was the first time that I was really impressed by a BI tool, because of its pragmatic way of visualizing data. Out-of-the-box, ready to use, click and drop are the terms that fit best. But lately, Tableau has been struggling to keep up with the pace of competitors like Microsoft Power BI and a number of newcomers (e.g. ThoughtSpot / Looker). The acquisition of Salesforce could be just the injection that Tableau needed to step up to the next level.

Will Salesforce benefit?

First of all, as a data/analytics and Einstein Analytics certified consultant, I would certainly say that the takeover is a good move. Salesforce is the worldwide unsurpassed leader in CRM and cloud platform thinking. But the translation of the enormous amount of valuable information and data into insights and doing this in a smart and user-friendly way could be improved. The current Salesforce reporting and dashboarding possibilities leave much to be desired. There is little flexibility and the tooling can hardly be combined with other platforms / data sources.

Secondly, the acquisition will bring Salesforce a whole new set of (potential) customers to which they had no access yet. Amongst Tableau’s customers there are large enterprise organizations that use Tableau, for example, within Finance and HR departments. An expertise Salesforce now can also take advantage of. And vice versa.

What happens next?

If we can believe the first announcements and use common sense, I expect Tableau to remain an independent product. The strength of Tableau lies in the speed of the on-premise application and connecting to other platforms for extracting data. But I do expect that there will be a far-reaching integration between the two platforms. Salesforce will make use of and elaborate on the expertise, development, knowledge and product features that made Tableau this successful.

Key to success

Together, Salesforce and Tableau certainly hold a key to success in Analytics if they succeed in visualizing information in a simple, fundamental and informative way, with the same ease of use and integration possibilities as Tableau possesses now. What are your thoughts on the acquisition? Do you agree this is a milestone in the world of analytics and data science? Or would you like to explore the possibilities of analytics and dashboarding for your organization? Feel free to contact me anytime.