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Salesforce Acquires Tableau for Big Data Analytics

Salesforce is acquiring Tableau, the big data analytics and data visualization software provider, for $15.7 billion, the cloud CRM software company confirmed today.

Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky
Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

Tableau develops a self-service analytics platform that helps organizations of all sizes to "get rapid insights and make impactful, data-driven decisions," the company asserts. The deal will assist customers that want to accelerate their digital transformation journeys, Salesforce asserts.

Tableau's revenue was $282.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, up 15 percent from the corresponding quarter last year. The company's recurring revenue and subscription revenue were growing even faster than overall revenues, the company disclosed on May 2, 2019. Still, quarterly revenues for the period were nearly $5 million below Wall Street's expectations -- which could suggest slowing growth for the analytics software provider.

Tableau will operate independently under the Tableau brand. The acquired business will remain headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and will continue to be led by CEO Adam Selipsky and the current leadership team, Salesforce said.

Salesforce plans to more deeply integrate its Einstein artificial intelligence technology with Tableau. The result will be "the most intelligent and intuitive analytics and visualization platform for every department and every user at any company," the businesses assert.

Tableau: Public Cloud Partnerships, Channel Strategy

At the same time, it's a safe bet that Tableau will continue to work closely with the major public cloud providers. During the company's earnings call in May, CEO Adam Selipsky said:

"We certainly partner very well with all the major public cloud providers. And again, that's because our customers want that. And whatever our customers want, whoever they want us to partner with, we will partner with."

The Tableau partner program also includes resellers, technology firms, alliances and OEMs.

In some ways, Tableau competes with Microsoft's Power BI -- though the soon-to-be Salesforce business works hard to differentiate itself from the Power BI conversation. Indeed, Tableau asserts:

"You can create dashboards with Power BI or Tableau, but the greatest difference is in the way you experience insights through analysis. With Tableau, the end goal of your analysis is not a dashboard—it’s a better understanding of your data. And in Tableau, you can dig deeper into an outlier or iterate on your discovery without breaking the flow of analysis."

Salesforce Acquires Tableau: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the deal, Salesforce Co-CEO Marc Benioff said:

"We are bringing together the world's #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform. Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It's truly the best of both worlds for our customers--bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world. I'm thrilled to welcome Adam and his team to Salesforce."

Added Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block:

"Salesforce's incredible success has always been based on anticipating the needs of our customers and providing them the solutions they need to grow their businesses," said Keith Block, co-CEO, Salesforce. "Data is the foundation of every digital transformation, and the addition of Tableau will accelerate our ability to deliver customer success by enabling a truly unified and powerful view across all of a customer's data."

Concluded Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky:

"Joining forces with Salesforce will enhance our ability to help people everywhere see and understand data. As part of the world's #1 CRM company, Tableau's intuitive and powerful analytics will enable millions more people to discover actionable insights across their entire organizations. I'm delighted that our companies share very similar cultures and a relentless focus on customer success. I look forward to working together in support of our customers and communities."

Salesforce Acquires Tableau: Deal Timing

Salesforce and Tableau expect to finalize the deal by October 31, 2019. That's just ahead of the massive Salesforce Dreamforce 2109 cloud customer conference -- scheduled for November in San Francisco.

The deal arrives during massive shifts in the big data analytics markets. While Tableau has been in growth model, certain areas of the big data industry have stumbled badly in recent quarters. Examples include the Hadoop market, where Cloudera's CEO has resigned amid a weak financial forecast and rival MapR has been struggling to find funding.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.