The analytics industry is a fast growing market that is constantly being disrupted. Start-ups are always coming up with new innovations, investors are looking to fund the next round of growth, and mega corporations are always looking to get into the analytics game in order to find revenue growth and increase shareholder value.
News of Salesforce acquiring Tableau and Google acquiring Looker along with a number of smaller deals announced recently may signal that we are in the midst of larger market consolidation, but what does it say about the needs of the analytics market?
Salesforce + Tableau. Salesforce agreed to buy Tableau in its largest acquisition ever in an all-stock deal valued at $15.7 billion. Salesforce is targeting over $26 billion in revenue by 2023 and buying revenue growth is one way to do it. Tableau has been rumored to be on the acquisition block for a few years with on-and-off concerns of hitting license revenue goals.
Salesforce has been looking to build a valuable analytics brand and Tableau could put it over the top. A few years ago, Salesforce released Wave Analytics as their add-on analytics product, and also purchased Beyondcore to create their Einstein product for AI-driven analytics. The prospect of a new reporting interface with Tableau’s visualization capabilities can certainly fill some of the analytics void at Salesforce.
Google + Looker. Google Cloud will acquire Looker for $2.6 billion in an all-cash deal. Looker fits into the Google Smart Analytics Platform amongst other recent acquisitions as a way to connect to Big Query and other data sources to create dashboards and BI applications. For Google Cloud, it closes a gap against competitor offerings from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
However, time will tell how this will affect Looker’s existing customers and their future direction.
These two acquisitions indicate that the cloud mega vendors want a larger piece of the data analytics puzzle. Especially with cloud apps and databases being the norm, they want their customers to stay on their platform analytics instead of using an independent tool that analyzes data off-platform.
What consolidation tells us about the needs of the market
What is clear from all these recent acquisitions is that competition in analytics will not be about only visualization, or data prep or AI capabilities, but more importantly around providing better overall analytics user experience.
The core of most BI tools have been very similar for a very long time, offering very similar experiences involving ability to create charts and dashboards using a combination of graphical user interfaces and some coding capabilities. So, how do we think of the future of analytics as we enter this era with big players like Google and Salesforce in the sandbox:
- Need for Analytics collaboration? We can no longer do analytics in silos where analysts use a data prep tool to do some data transformations, export it to a visualization tool, use R/Python to apply some models, and then bring it back to the BI/Visualization tool for analysis. The analytics ecosystem needs collaboration on some common platform, just like we use Slack or Google Docs. The Google Cloud vision is to deliver smart analytics as a service where users can Connect, Cleanse, Analyze, and Visualize data.
- Is it Cloud or On-Premises? Both companies being acquired have a customer base that utilizes data from multiple sources and multiple clouds, and works in the cloud and on-premise.
- AI-driven automation or natural language search interface? It is not one or the other. Customers expect a user experience where anyone can ask ad-hoc questions easily in natural language as well as utilize AI-driven automation to make the analysis process more efficient.
- Ready to accelerate your AI-driven journey by empowering business people? Advanced capabilities are no longer limited to a few skilled resources and black box ML models. Get ready for the era where business people are ready to push the gas pedal of their AI-driven journey enabled by automated machine learning with explainable and transparent models.
We believe that winners will be the ones who are able to combine the crucial elements of data management and preparation, data analysis augmented by machine learning, ease of use for business users by natural language and visualization, and ease of creating and operationalizing ML models.
This is why Gartner recently named Tellius a Cool Vendor in Analytics 2019. We are excited to see these market trends which are aligned with our vision of a collaborative self-service platform that enables business users, analysts, data engineers and data scientists to easily discover, share, and operationalize AI-driven data insights.
I believe we will continue to see some more acquisitions and consolidation in the analytics space. The question is – Who will make the next move?