The acquisition of Tableau by CRM software giant Salesforce is earth-shaking news for anyone in the enterprise software world. This announcement comes only a day after Google purchased Looker, an analytics startup, for $2.6 billion. This of course pales in comparison to the $15.7 billion price tag that Salesforce paid (in an all stock deal) for Tableau (see our Tableau vs Looker comparison).
- Salesforce bought Tableau for $15.7 billion in stock
- Google bought analytics startup Looker for $2.6 billion
- Tableau will continue to operate under its own brand for the time being
- Tableau’s headquarters will remain unchanged, as will its leadership structure
- Salesforce customers are set to gain huge advantages
Users of Tableau should rest easy knowing that not much is going to change for its 86,000 customers, and Salesforce customers should rejoice in their CRM provider’s bold acquisition. Tableau’s products will remain largely unaltered (though now sharing its products, intellectual properties, sales and other assets with Salesforce). Even their corporate headquarters, based in Seattle, WA, will remain where it is, instead of being transferred over to Salesforce’s slice of land in San Francisco, CA.
But thought leaders and analysts were mixed on the acquisition. Forbes writer Peter Cohan wrote at length to discuss why Salesforce’s acquisition of the popular BI platform might be a blunder. In his article, Cohan writes:
“Tableau is slowing down as startups targeting its market are speeding up. The company Salesforce should have acquired is one of the faster growing rivals — Palo Alto-based ThoughtSpot — about which I last wrote in September 2018.”
On the other hand, people at the analytics firm seem particularly excited and are spreading the good news. Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, in a recent interview on CNBC, said that his engineers couldn’t wait to “pop the hood on those and check out what things that we might use on behalf of our customers.”
Understandable, coming from the CEO of Tableau itself. The company’s stock surged on Monday after the merger was announced, with a 33% increase in valuation. By Tuesday, however, the stock had dropped 2%.
Only time will tell how this acquisition shakes out, but there are genuine ramifications of Salesforce buying Tableau, and if your business takes advantage of marketing analytics or uses any of these products (or their competitors), then you’re going to want to read on to find out what your enterprise should prepare itself for.
The Buyout’s Impact on Marketing Analytics
Marketing Analytics is the application of sophisticated analytics techniques (such as predictive, descriptive and prescriptive analytics) in the marketing process. Data can be collected at almost any time during the buyer’s journey and can be used to tweak and augment the marketing/sales process to better close on leads.
How is that data collected, stored and processed so that insights can be discovered? Not through CRMs, though they do store tremendous amounts of data (just different kinds). The data in question is stored and processed in dedicated business intelligence software — like Tableau, to name a big one.
Salesforce customers who take advantage of marketing analytics stand to gain huge benefits from this recent acquisition. Tableau is one of the most sophisticated business intelligence platforms on the market according to SelectHub analysts, and with Salesforce CRM gaining a solid pipeline into Tableau’s data pools, Salesforce customers should be incredibly pleased with the merger.
Marketing analytics, infused with Tableau’s powerful number-crunching abilities, should help significantly augment your marketing process — so long as you’re a Salesforce customer.
This shakeup is bound to have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on the broader marketing analytics space as well. Data is a hot commodity these days, with the International Data Corp (IDC) giving the big data analytics market a $260 billion (yes, you read that right) revenue estimate by 2022, it’s no wonder players from outside the analytics space are snatching up data-driven companies like Tableau (and Looker, if you’re Google).
In truth, the Tableau and Looker buys were just larger names in the analytics space and were more notable than say, Sisense’s merge with Periscope. 2019 has seen plenty of smaller companies getting picked up or merged into larger companies, a trend that’s bound to continue.
Expect non-analytics products to get smarter, and expect changes coming down the pipeline. We’ve already seen a few happen in June. Flying a little under the radar was Logi Analytic’s purchase of Zoommdata, incorporating the startup’s intellectual properties into their own brand, as well as a few other major buyouts.
Who Is Buying Who?
- Google bought Looker for $2.6 billion
- Salesforce bought Tableau for $15.7 billion
- Logi Analytics bought Zoomdata (Amount not disclosed)
- Sisense merged with Periscope Data (Amount not disclosed)
- Hortonworks was bought by Cloudera
What if You’re Only a Tableau Customer?
If you only use Tableau and NOT Salesforce CRM, then rest assured. According to TechCrunch, the popular analytics platform will continue to operate independently under its own brand (perhaps with some friendly pushing towards Salesforce — and some useful hook-ins). Not even the current leadership team at Tableau, headed by Selipsky, is set to change after the buyout finishes.
How Should my Business Build Its Requirements After the Acquisition?
Now this is an important question, and one that has a clearer answer than you might think. For customers who are in the market for a CRM, it might be smart to check over your CRM requirements (and we offer a handy little checkup for just such purposes) first, as things are set to change with one of the world’s largest CRM platforms.
Requirements gathering is a good way to “take a breather” in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of software. Think of it as getting your head on straight. With all the acquisitions we covered in this article, it might feel like you’re in sharky waters no matter what software solution you’re seeking.
Salesforce might not have filled all of your gaps back when it was a standalone CRM, but now that it’s about to become infused with the power of Tableau, it could be a stronger option for customers who need greater data inclusion in their decision making processes.
And if you’re searching for a business analytics product instead of a CRM? Tableau is still a compelling option, even with its brave new future. We’ve gone through the list of notable BI and BA products and pitted them against Tableau in a comprehensive comparison, and Tableau still remains one of the most lauded products in the analytics game. It offers users robust and powerful analytics solutions, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, and is suited for businesses of any size.
But there are alternatives to Tableau if you or your business are feeling shaken by the prospect of Salesforce encroaching upon your analytics needs. In truth, though Tableau will be operating under its own brand for the time being, we don’t know exactly what’s in store for its future, or its integrations, or if Salesforce is going to stay hands-off like some analysts predict. Only time will tell.