Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau Software would make additional data visualization and analytics capabilities available to business users
Salesforce announced its intent to buy Tableau Software in an all-stock deal valued at $15.7 billion, in which Salesforce will exchange 1.103 shares of its common stock for each of Tableau’s Class A and Class B common stock. Salesforce has been improving its Einstein analytics capabilities with functionality such as preconfigured templates and drag-and-drop analytics that enables users to create data visualizations without code. Tableau would expand Salesforce’s data visualization and analytics capabilities, as its data sorting and no-code and low-code data visualization capabilities will enable business users to manipulate data and create new data visualizations without a data scientist. While Tableau would continue to run as an independent company, TBR expects Salesforce would create integrations between Tableau and Customer 360, Salesforce’s app that connects data from its sales, service, marketing and e-commerce offerings. Since data from Customer 360 can also be pulled into Einstein analytics, the integration of Customer 360 with Tableau would enable Salesforce customers to leverage Tableau’s technology from a central touch point. If finalized, the acquisition would also increase Salesforce’s value proposition as a front-office provider for Tableau’s 86,000 customers, creating new cross-selling opportunities.
Salesforce’s front-office provider partners and competitors develop no-code- and low-code-enabled data visualization analytics as the industry trends toward codeless data manipulation
Salesforce’s announcement comes four days after Google announced its intent to acquire Looker, an analytics and data visualization company. While it is unlikely that Salesforce’s planned acquisition of Tableau was in reaction to Google, these developments further highlight the increasing importance of data visualization in the public cloud market. TBR does not expect Salesforce’s partnership with Google would be significantly impacted by the vendors’ recent investments, as Salesforce’s broader SaaS portfolio still targets a larger front-office audience and Google remains a strong IaaS partner. However, Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau would improve Salesforce’s position against Oracle in the front-office space. Oracle is improving its own analytics capabilities and unifying its data through CX Unity, its offering akin to Salesforce’s Customer 360. Additionally, the same day Salesforce announced its intent with Tableau, Microsoft announced AI Builder, which makes it easier for its PowerApps and Microsoft Flow customers to manipulate data to create AI models. Microsoft’s Power BI is in the same Power Platform product family as PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, showing Microsoft is trying to make it easier for customers to manipulate data as well. However, Microsoft’s Power Platform solutions still require a layer of coding and technical knowledge that exceeds the skill set of the typical business user. Given Salesforce’s and Google’s announcements, TBR expects Salesforce competitors such as Oracle and Microsoft may acquire data visualization companies to quickly enhance their capabilities in the space and level the balance of power in the public cloud front-office market.