What Salesforce’s Acquisition of Tableau Means for Its Customers

Article was written by Steve Faris, Chief Platform Officer, and John Hope, VP of Analytics

In 2003, Tableau set out to pioneer self-service analytics to empower people of any skill level to work with data. When Salesforce released Einstein, or the product formerly known as Wave in 2014, this was the initial foray into the space of making insights consumable and using Salesforce as the engagement layer–to take action, to collaborate, bring all your data into the platform and analyze it. However, it took a while for this concept to take off. Many organizations were stuck in contracts with BI vendors and had tools like Tableau that solved the need to show insight from data, but there was one big challenge. How do I get that insight back into my Salesforce instance so my team can consume that insight? Many organizations were stuck building I-frames or other creative ways to push these insights into Salesforce. It was difficult and it was hard to take action and track and optimize.

Today, Salesforce’s acquisition of interactive data visualization software company Tableau combines the world’s #1 CRM platform with the world’s #1 business analytics platform. From a business standpoint, Salesforce is pursuing the estimated $1.8T (IDC, 2022) Digital Transformation market opportunity, driven by CRM and business analytics. The Business Analytics total addressable market is huge since every customer needs analytics. So, it’s no surprise that Salesforce has chosen to enter this market directly. Customers now have the best of Einstein functionality–up to 1 billion rows of data, key-value pair data for fast response, and actionable insights–merged with the sleek visualizations, high performance, and simple to use dashboards of Tableau–to showcase these insights inside the platform. Overall, Salesforce is now positioned to provide functionality across the market segment continuum, without limitations imposed by data storage location.

The acquisition of Tableau is the second acquisition of a significant, externally facing, data-centric solution in the past 16 months for Salesforce; Mulesoft being the first. Together with the Mulesoft acquisition, Salesforce is positioned as the single vendor able to deliver business analytics on all business data. The acquisition is also sure signal that Salesforce has shifted focus from “platform first”, where all data & functionality was heavily recommended as native (i.e. on the platform), to Salesforce as the “system of engagement,” where data and functionality can live anywhere and still be accessed by Salesforce. Combined with Mulesoft and Tableau, Salesforce is better positioned to be the front-office System of Engagement for all enterprise data able to source data from anywhere and analyze it in real-time. In practice, the acquisition should accelerate Salesforce’s ability to deliver personalized experiences and intelligent offers to customers from every Salesforce Cloud. Moreover, Tableau will further enhance Salesforce’s ability to create and leverage a 360º view of customers and their data.

The acquisition demonstrates that Salesforce’s ambitions go far beyond CRM data–Salesforce wants to be the front-office analytics platform of choice for all data. Beyond CRM, Salesforce is assembling an enterprise software titan to surround and own employee and customer experience. This acquisition is also in keeping with the ongoing trend that analytics is driving digital transformation. Google’s recent purchase of Looker is further proof of that. Tableau puts Salesforce into a competitive position within the largest and most high-demand markets being driven by digital transformation wave: AI, Integration, and now Analytics.

Customers will be able to find everything they need for the front office within the Salesforce Ecosystem, accelerating the integration of analytics-driven insights, AI, and next-best-action recommendations into every business process. Tableau’s reputation as an intuitive self-service business analytics platform will help drive adoption and maximize the benefits of analytics-driven recommendations to every user. Like Mulesoft, Tableau will operate as an independent entity and will maintain its own brand and multi-platform focus.

Learn more about how your company can take advantage of Salesforce’s newest analytics capabilities by talking to one of our experts.

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