Mass Appeal: Tableau Aspires To ‘Analytics For The Rest Of Us’

SEATTLE: Just under two years ago Gartner predicted that by 2015 there would be a massive shortfall of talent to make sense of the onrushing data avalanche, but plans to solve that problem with a new tablet-based product code-named Project Elastic. Unveiled at the seventh Tableau Conference (TC14), (more than 5,500 customers and partners, up substantially from the 180 back in 2008), Plastic is intended to be an easy-to-use tool that will make available to virtually everybody. Expected to ship next year, a pre-release version will be available shortly at

During the opening keynote, CEO and co-founder Christian Chabot said the company has grown its customer base to more than 21,000 but the future is about making data analysis a “creative process!” This evolution will depend on four things: , , expressiveness and .

“At Tableau, we believe that empowering people to unleash their creative genius is the most important goal which drives modern analytics strategy,” he said. “More and more customers are choosing the path of creativity.”

Making analytics more accessible has long been a goal of Tableau, which rolled out a SaaS and hosted version of its Server offering, Tableau Online, just over a year ago. “We believe we can help more people use data in a simple way, improve how they do their job,” CMO Elissa Fink told IT Trends & Analysis.

“Data-driven companies outperform their peers financially,” said Fink. Companies are more than three times more likely than average to rate themselves as substantially ahead in financial performance when they rate themselves as substantially ahead of their peers in their use of data, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit study.

More recent data indicates there is still a huge gap between what IT infrastructure is required to meet the growing demands of , analytics, , social computing and security, and what is available. Most organizations (70%) believe in the importance of these megatrends but less than 10% are ready for it, according to IBM surveys.

Chabot’s opening remarks were followed by the other co-founder, Dr. Chris Stolte, Chief Development Officer, and a number of other senior executives who addressed seven areas of focus: Visual Analytics, Performance, , Storytelling, , Cloud, and Mobile. Stolte started off with Visual Analytics and some of the features that will debut in Tableau 9. As with most of the demonstrations during the keynotes, applause ranged from polite to excited.

One of the most popular demonstrations came from Marc Rueter, Senior Director, Product Management, who covered Data Preparation. He showcased the data cleanup function, which has been enhanced with automation to remove headers, footers, merged cells and other formatting nightmares, especially with Excel data.

Ellie Fields, VP of Product Marketing, provided more insight about the company’s cloud initiatives, Tableau Online, as a platform for connecting cloud data warehouses and applications in conjunction with on-premise data which can be presented in web browsers, on mobile devices, or even encapsulated in embedded applications. “When analytics are in context they become that much more powerful.”

Saving the best for last, Dave Story, VP of Mobile and Strategic Growth, talked about mobility and . One of his demonstrations involved a presentation model in the upcoming V9 release that would be almost identical with the Desktop version. “We’re designing new capabilities to be web, mobile and desktop, all at the same time.”

In other news, Tableau announced seven additions to its OEM Partner program: Premier, Inc., Redzone, Vocera Communications, CI&T, LeanKit, N2N and PostUp. “This program was originally created in response to strong demand from the ISV community, and the continued growth we are seeing is strong validation that our OEM Partners are achieving continued success from the program,” said Tableau’s Paul Greenspan, Director of OEM Sales, in a prepared statement.

Finally, a number of Tableau insiders have been cashing out their shares recently, including CEO Chabot, who just sold 150,000 shares (out of 6.544 million shares), just weeks after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. On the other hand, billionaire Donald Chiboucis has increased his holdings 133% over the last fiscal quarter and has approximately 1.3 million shares.
DISCLAIMER: Tableau looked after travel and accommodation expenses.

Author: Steve Wexler

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