Salesforce Acquires Tableau Software in Mega Deal, How Could This Impact Your Small Business?

salesforce acquires tableau

In the biggest acquisition in the company history, Salesforce has bought Tableau Software for $15.7 billion. The deal is expected to fuel competition between Salesforce and Microsoft in the data analytics/visualization segments of the CRM industry.

Small Business Trends contacted several industry experts to get their take on how the purchase will affect SMBs.

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What the Salesforce Acquisition of Tableau Software Could Mean

Brent Leary is Co-founder and Partner of CRM Essentials LLC. He sees the effects filtering down based on small businesses’ data needs.

“You can definitely see this acquisition being made with larger enterprises and their customers in mind,” he writes.  “However, I can also see this impacting smaller customers at some point down the line as well.”

Small Business Market

He says that Salesforce Essentials, the product geared for the small business market, is built on the same platform as the enterprise grade version involved in the deal. Therefore, Salesforce will be able to help the smaller players too given some time.

Leary explains where the need is coming from.

“SMBs needs for data visualization grows with the mounds of data they have at their disposal.  This acquisition gives Salesforce the tools to help small businesses with that.”

Data Visualization

Charts, maps and graphs as well as the kinds of information that you see on dashboards are all examples of data visualization.  Rows of numbers aren’t as easy to understand as these types of images. Analytics helps to corral the data and transform it into images.

It’s a bold move for Salesforce. The price tag to bring Tableau on board is more than double the $6.5 billion they paid for MuleSoft last year. Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization technology competes with Tableau.

CRM Data

Better sales forecasts are what business is hoping to get. The acquisition should also help business make better use of CRM data.

Leary explains why this is important for small businesses looking to automate.

“As the amount of data increases at an accelerated rate, SMBs will need tools like this to help them,” he writes. “They’ll need to quickly analyze information to improve the speed and quality of their decision making. That will create services and experiences customers will expect from them.

Workflow Automation

Faster and more accurate decisions should improve the efficiency of processes implemented with workflow automation tools.”

He says the current trend is something business should expect more of from Salesforce.

“Over the past few years Salesforce has focused on data integration, analytics and artificial intelligence,” he says.  “As all those areas continue to grow in importance, you’d have to think that focus will not change anytime soon.”

Another expert weighed in on the acquisition.

Byron Matthews, President and Chief Executive Officer, Miller Heiman Group, writes he expects the deal will have a profound effect on the whole sales industry. He reports many sales organizations currently need to use 10 different technology tools and this should streamline the process.

Image: Tableau


Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

3 Reactions
  1. The biggest problem is the amount of data needed to conduct good research. If you don’t have the data (or the data is messy) then even having affordable access to enterprise-grade tools won’t help your business.

  2. Great CRM platform, but not always worth Salesforce’s continually increasing licensing costs

  3. If it will help improve their platform a bit more, then that’s good. It can also be for learning.

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