Monique de Werdt

Tableau acquired by Who is next?

Big news in the BI & Analytics world: Sales force (SFDC) takes over Tableau. It is the biggest takeover in the BI world since SAP bought Business Objects in 2007 for 4.8 billion dollars. The same experts who predicted that Tableau was a good acquisition candidate, also agree that the USD 15,7 billion which SFDC paid is way too much. It is a bonus of 42% of the current stock price and since Tableau hasn’t made any profit over the last 5 years on a turnover of 1,2 Billion, experts consider the acquisition price as very high. 

An important question is: What does this mean for the customer on the BI & Analytics market? That question is not easy to answer and depends on which product you are currently using and your strategy for the future:

Tableau customer

The acquisition is good news for Tableau customers. Not only is the future of Tableau secured, also on mid-term, Tableau will benefit from SalesForce knowledge of the cloud. Cloud readiness is currently a weak area of Tableau. SalesForce was born in the cloud so Tableau can/will improve in this area. On short term however, a lot of investments will be needed to better integrate Tableau into SalesForce. Looking at the amount of time it took SAP to better integrate BO, we are talking about at least 1 year but probably more before the integration will start to pay off. Meanwhile there will be less focus/budget available on innovation of the existing functionalities, which gives other companies time to catch-up. Also, the current high prices of Tableau software might be a reason for customers to investigate other alternatives like e.g. Power BI or Sap Analytics Cloud.  

Salesforce customers

On long term, Salesforce customers will benefit from Tableau’s superb visualization possibilities and user-friendly interface but as said it will probably take some time before the integration is finished. At this moment, it is still unclear what will happen with the current Salesforce analytics engine called Einstein: will it remain of will it become part of Tableau? Until that becomes clear, new investments in Einstein will probably be delayed at best. 

SAP customers running on Business object 

As already said by Mike Flannagan (=Senior VP SAP Analytics) in his famous blog in Feb 2018, SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) will be SAP’s primary solution for data discovery moving forward. This basically means customer using Business Objects (Webi, Crystal, Lumira) are on a dead-end road. Innovations are stopped and eventually the products will no longer be supported. SAP advices to migrate to SAP Analytics Cloud, which is able to (live) connect to BO universes and other SAP backend systems like: BW, HANA or S4/HANA.

For customers who don’t want to move to the cloud and stay on premise for the next years, Tableau or Power BI might be a good alternative. 

SAP customers

Customers with a big SAP footprint should first look at Sap Analytics cloud (SAC) which has the best integration capabilities with SAP systems like e.g. SAP BW, S4/HANA, HANA, Ariba, etc.

SAC is one of the most complete BI analytics tools on the market. It combines analytics & visualizations, planning, predictive and application design capabilities all within one singe tool. SAC is a SAAS solution in the cloud but is able to (live) connect with on-premise systems without storing any data in the cloud. Although users say it is not as intuitive and easy to use as Tableau, SAC has become much more mature than 2 years ago and now is ready for enterprise rollouts.   Therefore, it might be a good time for SAP customers which are still using old SAP tools or third-party tools for their analytics, to start investigating SAC capabilities.   

Power BI customers

If you are a Power BI customer running Power BI on top of Sales Force software, there is no need to convert to Tableau at this moment. 

Who is Next?

Now Tableau has become part of the salesforce family, the question is who is next? Experts expect a new consolidation wave in the BI market. There are a lot of different BI tools on the market, which is a fast growing and changing market. A lot of money is needed for R&D and innovation and not every BI company has enough money and scale to keep up with the big companies like SAP, Salesforce and Microsoft. There will always be room for some niche players in the market, but others will need to join forces to survive. Personally, I think Qlik will be a good next candidate to be taken over.

Question is also what Google’s plans are with the BI market? They have the most and best Artificial Intelligence algorithms on the market but currently lack knowledge of business logic and a good analytics and visualization tool. This week they bought a new analytics company called Looker for USD 2.6 Billion. Looker is a cloud based analytic tools which works on multiple clouds like Google, AWS Redshift and MS Azure. The new Google CEO Thomas Kurian already announced that he is looking to invest and expand the business aggressively. It will be a matter of time until Google will become a new big player on the BI Analytics market. 

We are facing some interesting and turbulent times on the BI Analytics market in the next years. The takeovers of Tableau and Looker are just the beginning. 


McCoy has very experienced BI consultants who are able to help you defining a sustainable BI analytics Strategy. Feel free to contact us for advice