Recently, Salesforce announced its acquisition of Tableau Software for a substantial $15.7 billion in all stock. With this purchase, a potentially major shift in the analytics playing field is on the horizon.
As a Platinum Partner of Salesforce and a Tableau partner, here are our initial reactions and predictions around the acquisition:
Platform-agnostic support of data sources will continue at Tableau.
Tableau allows for a broad variety of data sources to be consolidated and joined together for analysis. With the upcoming acquisition, we can speculate that Salesforce will eventually focus on improving existing Salesforce support (improving on its current API connectors, streamlined integration with Einstein Analytics, improving on known limitations, etc.). In the near-term, however, Tableau has communicated that it will continue to build on its philosophy of “liberating data” to continue leading the analytics space and maintain current customer relationships and product usage.
The analytics tools within Salesforce will get a visual boost.
Although Salesforce has reporting capabilities through Einstein Analytics, with the addition of Tableau, the level of customer interaction with these visualizations can be vastly improved by utilizing Tableau’s technology. Additionally, Tableau will likely become much more integrated with the suite of products that Salesforce has to offer, including Einstein Analytics. While the two analytic tools (Tableau and Einstein Analytics) will remain separate for now, there is little doubt that some form of consolidation will occur in the future.
The two companies will likely continue their complementary pricing models.
Since Tableau switched to a subscription-based model in 2017, the product has become much more cost-competitive with other top analytic tools. This subscription model aligns well to Salesforce’s licensing structure. Considering Tableau’s current level of profitability and the statement that Tableau will remain separate, this current model will likely stay in effect.
Tableau’s technology will benefit from Salesforce’s deep pockets.
We expect Salesforce will invest heavily in Tableau, and the product will improve because of that. This will be especially noticeable in out-of-the-box Salesforce-to-Tableau implementations, where new customers of both Salesforce with Tableau can rapidly stand up and use both platforms. Each Salesforce Cloud (Sales, Service, Marketing, etc.) could eventually have a Tableau-driven analytics package that benefits from the consistency of Salesforce’s data model. With this acquisition, Salesforce continues to build the capabilities of its platform with key strategic investments (such as Mulesoft and Demandware); a long way from the days of only Sales Cloud. Look for Tableau to have a big presence at Dreamforce in 2019 and beyond.
They stand to benefit from significant cross-sell opportunities.
With over 86,000 companies leveraging Tableau for analytics in some capacity, there is a huge amount of untapped opportunity for Salesforce to begin cross-selling. The same goes for Tableau, which now can also leverage the sales team and 150,000-plus clients of Salesforce. While they share many clients (we often see new Salesforce implementations that take advantage of Tableau), there will be a big push to take advantage of the synergies that the two platforms have to offer.
The ink is still not dry on the acquisition, and there is much to be determined over the next few months and even years. But, we think this is an exciting time for customers of both Salesforce and Tableau. Over the next few years, we expect major enhancements to both companies’ products and a shake-up of the analytics market as a result of the acquisition.