Craig Strong

Craig Strong

Tableau Product Roadmap, the Salesforce Acquisition, and What It Means for Customers and Partners

Tableau Conference ‘19 in Vegas has come to a close and it was an incredible event! Over 20,000 people focused on using data to improve lives, company performance, and organizational effectiveness. I have attended several Tableau Conferences in the past, and the energy at this year’s event was palpable. With the Salesforce acquisition, the Tableau #datafam is poised to have an even greater impact on the world. The diversity of the Tableau user community is amazing – there are organizations that use Tableau to manage water resources, raise money for nonprofits, build incredibly innovative mobile technology, and manage the most commercial real estate in the world. Within all of those organizations, there are different groups using Tableau, which is a testament to how flexible Tableau can be.

Product Roadmap
It is clear that the buildout of the Tableau product suite is speeding up. From improved data management to increased performance and investment in the API’s to make it easier to extend the product, Tableau users will certainly benefit from all of the new capabilities. And there is no slowing down on the horizon.

To me, the most innovative area for Tableau has been around Tableau Prep, their data preparation and transformation tool. Tableau Prep makes it easy to connect and cleanse data, build Machine Learning models that feed into Tableau, and accelerate the development and analysis process. This all has major benefits for the users of Tableau, both Creators and Interactors. It will also help the analysts uncover more insights that have a direct impact on the financial performance of their organizations. Tableau is also investing heavily in Natural Language Process via the Ask Data functionality, allowing users to ask simple questions about their data and get results back automatically. They are using Artificial Intelligence via Explain Data that helps users uncover the “why” behind the “what” within their data. Lastly, Tableau is progressing towards a web-only infrastructure for both the development of dashboards and user interaction with dashboards, ending the reliance on client-based software. This will deliver the benefits of a multi-tenant architecture, including always being on the most recent version of the software and ease of user management.

The Acquisition
Salesforce acquired Tableau early this year, and we are now starting to see the strategy and product roadmap of the two companies combined. Salesforce is undoubtedly the #1 product in the world with massive amounts of sales and customer data used as fuel for Einstein predictions. And Tableau is a perennial leader in the Gartner Data Visualization Magic Quadrant. It’s easy to see how these tools will come together over time.

According to Gartner – “Data-driven organizations will need access to and insights from their data, where they work and when they need it.” Based on my observations from TC19, this is exactly where Tableau and Salesforce will focus their product roadmaps. At Atrium, we like to define this as the Intelligent Experience. Regardless of your front office role, Tableau and Salesforce will bring you the data and the insights that you need to make decisions and take action where you work. Today, only 8% of organizations are data-driven. Salesforce and Tableau will help the other 92% through access, nimbleness, accuracy, and targeted recommendations.

Good News for Partners and Customers
Lastly, after attending the Partner Summit at the beginning of the conference, it is evident that Tableau will be relying on partners to help their customers maximize the benefits of their product throughout an enterprise. Moving away from a departmental approach to a comprehensive use of data everywhere in an organization. Additionally, Tableau is rolling out a new partner program in 2020. The new program will help Tableau and its partners maximize customer success. Speaking of customer success, moving to a subscription-based model ensures that Tableau focuses on maximizing its customers’ investments in their products. Customer Success is something Salesforce has focused on for a long time – another way that the Salesforce acquisition makes sense.

The future is certainly bright for Tableau, Salesforce, and their customers.

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