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Salesforce buys Tableau to add self-service analytics to CRM

Salesforce is set to buy business intelligence data visualisation pioneer Tableau as it seeks to amplify its customer analytics capability

In a bid to enhance its customer analytics business, cloud customer relationship management (CRM) supplier Salesforce has announced its intention buy data visualisation pioneer Tableau for $15.7bn.

The acquisition is Salesforce’s most expensive yet, and comes just four days after Google announced its intention to buy business intelligence platform supplier Looker.

The latest deal could be seen as a complement to Salesforce’s $6.8bn purchase of data integration supplier MuleSoft in 2018.

Tableau is widely seen as one of the big two in data visualisation, alongside Qlik, which has been owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo since 2016.

Tableau’s user base is known for its evangelical enthusiasm and Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco is well known in the IT industry as a lively event, prone to be big picture.

Salesforce will acquire Tableau in an all-stock transaction.

Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO at Salesforce, said in a statement: “We are bringing together the world’s number one CRM with the number one analytics platform. Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It is truly the best of both worlds for our customers – bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world.”

Adam Selipsky, president and CEO of Tableau, said: “Joining forces with Salesforce will enhance our ability to help people everywhere see and understand data. As part of the world’s number one CRM company, Tableau’s intuitive and powerful analytics will enable millions more people to discover actionable insights across their entire organisations.”

Keith Block, co-CEO at Salesforce, added: “Data is the foundation of every digital transformation, and the addition of Tableau will accelerate our ability to deliver customer success by enabling a truly unified and powerful view across all of a customer’s data.”

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The joint statement highlighted Salesforce’s cross-cloud customer data platform Customer 360, along with its artificial intelligence (AI) technology, named Einstein.

“With Tableau and Einstein together, Salesforce will deliver the most intelligent and intuitive analytics and visualisation platform for every department and every user at any company,” the statement said. “Tableau will make both Customer 360 and Salesforce’s analytics capabilities stronger than ever, and enable the company to reach a much broader set of customers and users.”

After the acquisition is closed, in October 2019, Tableau will operate independently under the Tableau brand. It will remain headquartered in Seattle, and CEO Selipsky will remain in post along with the rest of the leadership team, according to the statement.

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