Analytics Wars: Google and Salesforce Versus Microsoft Power BI
by Jim Lundy
Within days of Google buying Looker for $2.6 Billion, Salesforce announced it’s buying leading analytics provider Tableau for $15.3 Billion in an all stock deal. Why did both firms make a move? Well, the need to understand what is happening in an enterprise—and tie it to business outcomes— is forcing larger tech providers to make deals. Google and Salesforce have different reasons for doing their deals, and while we expect both of the acquisitions to help both firms, the success will depend on how they each position the offering.
This blog explores why Google acquired Looker and Salesforce acquired Tableau, and why the demand for analytics and the need to counter Microsoft Power BI drove both deals.
Google and Looker: Taking Google Analytics to the Next Level
Google has quietly made Google Analytics the defacto standard for Marketers. Despite this success, it has not gotten credit in the market with what it calls the Google Marketing Platform. Enter Looker. Thomas Kurian, the new CEO of Google Cloud, needs more applications to sell. Looker is a natural fit and the price was 5.8 times less than what Salesforce paid for Tableau. Looker will enable Google to go after a larger base of buyers than what it had with Google Analytics.
Looker is a solid offering that works well with SQL-based data and is excellent as a data modeling platform. However, it does not have the brand awareness of Tableau, nor does it have all of the connectivity of Tableau. The bottomline is that Looker gives Google more than just Google Analytics to sell to enterprises.
Salesforce Buys Tableau: Going Beyond Wave Analytics
The question people will ask is this: did Salesforce buy Tableau to keep its growth and revenue promises to Wall Street or did they buy it because Wave Analytics never really got traction with users? We would note that after great fanfare a few years back, Salesforce Wave has not been discussed at Dreamforce for the last two years.
Tableau has been on a large revenue growth trajectory and for 2018, its revenues were $1.16 Billion. While Salesforce has MuleSoft for app interoperability, with Tableau there are already numerous integrations, which is part of the power of Tableau. Tableau can produce beautiful custom dashboards and that, combined with the demand for these capabilities by business leaders, is one of the reasons for its growth.
The challenge for Salesforce will be in how it goes to market with Tableau. The tendency is to offer upgrades to clients and this will clearly be an add-on offer. That said, enterprises are starting to feel fatigue over continued price actions by Salesforce.
Google and Salesforce Versus Microsoft Power BI
One of the big reasons for both deals is the need as a Tech Titan to be able to match Microsoft in the enterprise. Power BI has taken off and part of the reason for that was the sheer will of the product team at Microsoft, along with the ability to tie into Excel, Office 365, and Azure. Microsoft has a powerful appeal to both IT and Business users, but so does Tableau.
The Bottom Line
Data visualization and analytics will continue to be top of mind for business leaders and we expect that there will be even more consolidation as business leaders demand more custom dashboards and analytics to help them run their business.