The deal is good news for Salesforce.com users, less so for users of Tableau alone.
Salesforce Tableau-Salesforce.com’s $15.7 billion bid for Tableau Software has many organizations wondering how the proposed acquisition will impact their operations. According to industry analysts, it all depends on how your enterprise makes use of their respective platforms.
Users of Salesforce’s CRM platform have all subscribed to its software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, putting their data in the cloud — but the company is only beginning to respond to the demand for sophisticated tools to analyze that data.
For that, businesses have historically turned to companies such as Tableau. Its data analytics and visualization software was built to run on-premises, but enterprises are increasingly deploying Tableau Server in Amazon’s, Google’s or Microsoft’s clouds, and a growing number are adopting the SaaS version, Tableau Online.
“About a third of customers are cloud deployed at this stage,” says Doug Henschen, a vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Salesforce customers who don’t yet use Tableau have the most to gain from the acquisition, according to Liz Herbert, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.
“A lot of the clients I work with are looking for a simple, easy to use, business-user friendly tool to get better insights out of this very complex platform, but many times they don’t want to go to a partner or third party like Tableau because they don’t want to introduce a smaller vendor and additional risk into the mix,” she says.
With Tableau part of Salesforce, however, that concern would go away. Salesforce has more resources to invest in development, and a vested interest in making sure things don’t go wrong.
Joint customers of the two will see the least amount of change, at least initially, as San Francisco-based Salesforce plans to let Tableau continue operating independently from its existing Seattle headquarters.
Herbert’s colleague Boris Evelson, also a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, says CIOs using Tableau and Salesforce don’t need to take action in the near future.
“Obviously, Salesforce is smart; they’re not going to disrupt what works well, and needless to say Tableau works well,” he says.
Longer term, though, there will have to be some consolidation and integration between the two. “It’s not going to be an easy task,” says Evelson, pointing to overlaps in the in-memory databases and natural language interfaces the companies use for analytics.