Last week, I attended the Tableau 8 Roadshow in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Having experienced the Tableau Experience a few months ago (see related article The Tableau Experience), I wanted to see first hand what was going on with the latest release. After all, Tableau- as well other data discovery tools like Tibco Spotfire and Qlik- is the raison d’être for SAP Visual Intelligence- now rebranded as SAP Lumira.
After registering and receiving a name badge, I was handed a booklet entitled “Eight great things about Tableau 8”. I took my seat and quickly turned to the first page.
Analyze anywhere with web and mobile authoring.
And by web and mobile authoring, Tableau means a single architecture built on HTML 5 that works in “any browser”, be it desktop or mobile. Suddenly, the other seven reasons why somebody should buy the software didn’t matter to me anymore.
Gutting the BusinessObjects sales and pre-sales force shortly after the 2008 acquisition sure seemed like a shrewd cost-cutting move at the time. But in hindsight, it could be more accurately described as a revenue cutting move for SAP, as the ranks of a very energized Tableau organization are filled with “former BusinessObjects” folks. Indeed, the Tableau sales consultant that demoed Tableau 8 last week was part of the team that demoed SAP BusinessObjects XI R1 during the “eXtreme Insight World Tour” in another Cincinnati hotel back in 2005.
And it shows in the demos. At both events that I attended, demos never explicitly begin with “let me show you something BusinessObjects can’t do well that Tableau does with ease”. But that does seem to be the overall theme.
Analyze anywhere with web and mobile authoring… Mmmm… Oh, sorry. I must have been daydreaming…
Tableau is much more than just data discovery software, just as Starbucks is much more than a $4 latte. Tableau, like Starbucks, is an entire experience, built on the foundation of their “Land and Expand” sales strategy. Because Tableau is a single-license desktop tool, it’s easy to install and easy to purchase. Without the blessing of corporate IT. Which, by the way, is never openly mocked but neither is portrayed as a necessary component of the Tableau experience.
At the event, I sat next to a friend who works in the BI Competency Center for a large multinational manufacturer. Although SAP BusinessObjects is their BI standard, Tableau is beginning to appear on corporate desktops. He had this to say.
I like the Tableau tool and it’s usability, but I walked away with an even bigger feeling that SAP is missing the boat. Or maybe SAP is the ship, and the Tableau boat is running circles around the ship? I have to think more on that.
I was really looking forward to the hands on demos, but unfortunately had to leave early and get back to my work responsibilities. But like my friend, I am continuing to think a lot more about Tableau and its effect on the BI landscape.
- My thoughts on The Tableau Experience
- Cindi Howson discusses Tableau’s new version 8 and upcoming IPO on BI Scorecard
Did you attend the Tableau 8 Roadshow? How is data discovery software changing your BI landscape?