What Salesforce's acquisition of Tableau means for data professionals

June 10, 2019

Salesforce recently announced it will purchase data visualization software company Tableau in an all-stock deal for $15.3 billion, the largest acquisition in its company’s history.

Two of Pluralsight’s resident Tableau and data experts — Pooja Gandhi and Adam Crahen — gave us their thoughts on what this move means for these companies and their user communities at large:

Pooja Gandhi

Lead Analytics Engineer at Pluralsight, 2x Tableau Zen Master

When two companies that are the best in their fields — Salesforce in CRM and Tableau in data analytics — come together, I have every reason to believe they will give their customers the best of both worlds. The integration capabilities between both the platforms will drastically improve (making the lives of data scientists easier), and I am hopeful that with the addition of Tableau, Salesforce data will become even more visible and accessible, providing customers with an easy and unified way to see and understand their world.

Tableau has a passionate community and Salesforce has very engaged user base, and with both companies having customer-focused culture, them coming together only indicates that culture will get stronger and deeper as they reach millions of users and help them better see and understand their data.

Growth (like we’ve seen today) is a requirement to sustain innovation in the face of ever-changing technological demands, so it’ll be interesting to see the wider impact this partnership has on people and tools as time goes by.

Adam Crahen

Head of Data Visualization Engineering at Pluralsight, 2018 Tableau Zen Master

This partnership is a good reminder that the pace of technology change is rapid, massive and often unexpected, so keeping your analytics skill set up to date and embracing multiple technologies is just a crucial as ever.

Salesforce acquiring Tableau is a huge step in the right direction and could be a match made in heaven; I don't really see a downside for Salesforce. They have data — a lot of data — but it isn't always the easiest to work with. Combined with its recent acquisition of MuleSoft, Salesforce is clearly positioning itself to change that perception, and evolve into a company that can capture your data and make it rapidly accessible for actionable insights. For Tableau, the acquisition will accelerate their growth and expand opportunities to change the way people see and understand their data.

So what does this mean for Tableau's passionate community? Right now, not much — and that’s a good thing. Tableau will continue to operate independently under the Tableau brand, and they’re committed to continue engaging users through Tableau Public, Tableau Conferences and Tableau User Groups. In short, the Tableau community will still be alive and well.

But if you thought Tableau conferences were a party (with approximately 17,000 registered attendees), Salesforce filled downtown San Francisco this past year with 170,000 people at Dreamforce. The Salesforce Trailblazer community is over 1.4 million strong, so the opportunity for Tableau to grow alongside it is huge — so long as the Tableau community doesn't lose its voice along the way.

Feeling like your Tableau skills need a refresher? Check out Adam’s course on building over 35 different common chart types to enhance your analysis toolkit, or Pooja’s course on mastering calculation concepts to confidently solve for business problems.