Heralded as the darling of Wall Street, business intelligence and data lovers in general until last week, it would appear that Tableau has suddenly fallen from grace with many erstwhile admirers and investors given last Friday’s precipitous fall in stock price. But while the company stock has indeed taken a tumble from $82 to just $37 in the past few days (down even from a 52-week high of $131) with some analysts questioning Tableau’s business model, I think it’s time to share my thoughts about Tableau and iterate just how well the data visualization firm is perceived by customers and partners alike. Sure, the company may be experiencing some growing pains as it now moves up a gear, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Tableau as a data visualization tool has quickly become a force to be reckoned with and is being enjoyed by more and more companies as they seek to understand their data better and enable their front-line staff to enjoy the fruits of self-service BI and analytics.
While EXASOL is largely an infrastructure play with its in-memory analytic database, which often requires explanation, I have seen at first-hand how users just “get” Tableau first time. They understand how easy it is to load data and then bring it to life through building intelligent visualizations that are so much easier to comprehend than looking at rows and columns in a database table or an Excel spreadsheet. I have been fortunate enough to attend Tableau events across the globe, and make no mistake, Tableau’s customers love the product. Tableau can generate a level of excitement that I have seen in few other products and while attending the Tableau Conference in Las Vegas last October, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Tableau has developed quite the cult following. What’s more, Tableau has succeeded in developing a solid partner community that have built businesses on the back of the company’s great visualization tool. Just look at The Data School by UK company The Information Lab to see the sorts of great things that are going on thanks to Tableau’s hard efforts.
Of course, I would be remiss in not pointing out that Tableau does have room to improve, but this is more prevalent in the Enterprise space where competitors who have been around longer have more rounded solutions and where we expect Tableau to make serious inroads. Also, there is a case to be made that Tableau’s high enterprise price ticket might be an issue. In both cases, that’s why we offer a Tableau Turbo accelerator that lets users get beyond the confines of their underlying databases or Tableau data extracts, known as TDEs, by putting entire data volumes into EXASOL and pointing their Tableau instance to our database. It’s a solution that has whetted the appetite of many as they continue to push ahead and expand with Tableau.
So yes, Tableau put out weaker than expected 2016 first quarter guidance that caught the market unawares, but that does not mean that it is the end of the honeymoon for Tableau. I know for sure that customers and partners will look beyond the ratings of analysts and continue to appreciate what counts: smart, vibrant data visualization technology that makes BI, reporting and analytics easier than ever before. Wall Street analysts may be going off Tableau for now, but I can tell you that businesses around the globe are only just getting started.