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Salesforce Acquire Tableau – Tableau vs. Salesforce Einstein

By Lucy Mazalon

Salesforce announced they will acquire leading data visualization provider, Tableau, in the coming months. This acquisition is a big deal – not just in terms of the $15.7B price tag – but as a significant technology to the platform’s artillery.

Salesforce hope that Tableau will enable their customers to “unlock data across their entire company…[by] bringing together the world’s #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform”.



With the addition of Tableau, Salesforce are projected to have FY20 (financial year 2020) revenues of a whopping $16.45-$16.65B, accelerating them to their $20B goal – as hopefully, the fastest to do so in history.

Why Did Salesforce Pursue Tableau?

Salesforce’s ethos is to be the #1 in every category their ever-expanding platform covers. It’s no surprise then, that the #1 analytics platform was on their wish list. Tableau will bolster the Salesforce Einstein Analytics offering – but how and to what extent is still unanswered.

“Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers”, said Benioff proudly, “it’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers–bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world”.

Salesforce added several analytics tools during their acquisition spree over the past couple of years. Analytics – especially AI-powered analytics – made Salesforce an exciting platform to be involved with. Fast forward to now, there has been ‘mixed feedback’ on how these tools integrate with the core Salesforce platform, and with one another.

Could Tableau be the new driving force towards Salesforce’s Customer 360 vision? This is a theme Keith Block, co-CEO, hinted at: “Tableau will accelerate our ability to deliver customer success by enabling a truly unified and powerful view across all of a customer’s data.”

This begs the question – what does this mean for Salesforce Einstein Analytics?

Einstein Analytics is regarded as a competitor of Tableau currently. This makes for interesting speculation with Salesforce’s next move. In their press release, Salesforce explicitly state “Tableau and Einstein together” – whether this will complement, or overshadow the current platform, we will have to see.

TableauSalesforce Einstein
1. Strong data visualisation capabilities1. Cloud-based
2. Can be deployed on-premise2. Voice and AI are both baked in the product
3. Suited to Enterprise-level organisations3. Can be embedded within other Salesforce applications
4. Report and data management typically requires the IT team4. Designed to empower non-technical team members with analytics (although setup and data management is a steep learning curve compared to the Salesforce core platform)
5. Yet to fully explore voice or AI


Above: Tableau in action.

Who Are Tableau?

Tableau are a well-regarded brand, labeled as pioneers in the interactive data visualization space, founded in 2003. The 86,000+ customer base speaks for itself, the result of putting an innovative piece of kit on the market. In addition, the acquisition will bring in a vast number of potential new Trailblazers; the Tableau Community of passionate data enthusiasts is 1+ million strong. Anecdotally, any Tableau users I have spoken to are die-hard fans of the tool, evangelism comparable to the Salesforce community’s enthusiasm for the platform. The Tableau and Trailblazer community combined, form the largest group of digital business experts globally.



As we’ve heard, the Tableau acquisition is a big deal – not just in terms of the $15.7B price tag – but as a significant technology. Salesforce will have sealed the deal formally by the end of Q3 this year (October) – but suggested that this could be even as soon as August. It’s reported that Tableau will continue to operate independently under the Tableau brand and under the current leadership.

Most importantly, I think it will be interesting to see how Salesforce brings Tableau onboard, to complement or overshadow Salesforce Einstein Analytics – we will have to wait and see.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

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