Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

On Monday morning, the tech world got shaken up when Salesforce announced they had acquired data visualization software, Tableau for a whopping $15.7 billion. “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,” co-CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff said in a statement after the announcement. What started off as strictly a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, it’s clear that Salesforce is looking to expand their influence to other industries such as data analysis – creating a product that has everything a company needs all in one software.

The idea of diversifying your offerings isn’t exactly new. Look at Amazon; what started off as a bookstore in Jeff Bezos garage has continued to grow to a billion dollar e-commerce company. That wasn’t just by selling books. Oracle had a similar story. Starting off working strictly with databases, Oracle has become an IT powerhouse thanks to smart acquisitions throughout the years.   Now Salesforce is hoping to make this shift with Tableau and recently acquired software Mulesoft, an integration platform that the organization bought for $6.5 billion dollars.

The acquisition came on the heels of Google’s plan to purchase Tableau’s competitor Looker for a cool $2.6 billion. While the purchases may not have been related; one thing is clear. The future is data. Statistics are what drives business decisions. It’s not enough anymore to trust your instincts or have a “hunch”; an idea must be tested out, proven successful through data to mean much of anything.

While Salesforce does have reporting capabilities- it’s nothing compared to Tableau’s software which was created to read and visualize data through charts, dashboards, and graphs. Todd Olson, CEO at Pendo told Forbes that Salesforce, “knew that it needed a visualization tool like Tableau to help its customers do more with all the data that lives in Salesforce.”  Having a tool like Tableau can enable their partners to visualize their growth and revenue to make sense of what is working and what needs to be tweaked to boost sales. It adds value to the Salesforce and sets them apart from their competitors who may not have a such a robust business intelligence platform like Tableau at their finger tips.  It is also worth noting that Tableau has a loyal following. Each year thousands of data scientists and analysts flock to the software’s annual conference for training, workshops and networking with their peers.

Not everyone is on board with Salesforce acquisition of Tableau. While some experts see the value Tableau will bring to Salesforce – others see it as a mistake. One of those experts were Salesforce investors themselves. Benioff admitted, “The investors aren’t crazy about it.” But he added that they will come around. ““Well, the investors will see, just like they’ve always seen, how amazing it is,” he added.

Time will tell if Salesforce made a smart decision by purchasing Tableau. But one thing is for sure; more organizations focus on understanding their data with the intent to increase revenue. Having a data visualization tool accessible will be crucial to their success.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 June 2019
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Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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