Tableau stock is soaring today, thanks to the Seattle-based company's decision to hire Amazon Web Services (AWS) executive Adam Selipsky as its new CEO.
Selipsky's appointment was announced yesterday. He replaces Tableau Software co-founder Christian Chabot, who will remain company chairman.
Tableau Stock Has Tumbled
During a conference call yesterday, Chabot did not mention how badly Tableau's stock has suffered recently. The stock lost almost half of its value in February and has failed to recover much since.
Instead, Chabot told analysts and investors that Selipsky has the experience needed to lead Tableau as it moves to become "the new standard in analytics," which means growing the company beyond the 46,000 customer accounts it now has to hundreds of thousands and bringing its software to tens of millions of people.
Selipsky, who started with AWS in 2005 and grew it to become the cloud powerhouse that it is today, knows something about scaling, cloud and winning business. He most recently served AWS as vice president of marketing, sales and support.
Though analysts didn't have the time to parse Chabot's words, he made one thing explicitly clear. Selibsky has a track record in selling to the enterprise and to IT. Tableau, until now, has been a darling of passionate data workers who, to some like Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller, have an almost cult-like relationship with the software.
Courting the Enterprise, IT
Mueller drove the latter point home when he told CMSWire that until now Tableau's users' posture toward IT has been "Just give us the data/APIs and leave us in peace ... and that created a lot of departmental success, but less enterprise visibility and progress."
Mueller added, "There are stories where division leaders show up with great Tableau stories built by their departmental/divisional Tableau guy (and their data stories) and the CEO's stories collide. Then the CEO goes back to CFO and CIO and asks them to fix this ... In that case, Tableau was usually shut out.”
That could present a bigger problem when more established vendors that have built relationships with IT over decades come up with their own viable business intelligence (BI) products.
Microsoft Power BI: 'A Force'
Constellation Research principal analyst R.Ray Wang told CMSWire, "Microsoft's Power BI is a force to be reckoned with and that it's starting to impact Tableau deals."
Wang may be shedding light on a Tableau pain point because, after saying he wouldn't name names, Chabot slipped and mentioned Microsoft by name when answering an analyst question yesterday.
"Which (BI vendor) has a first class, all cloud experience regardless of public cloud platform their IT department has chosen to go with? How is Microsoft's AWS strategy going? Oops, I said it. I said I wasn't going to say names," said Chabot.
He later added that while some vendors talk a good game, they don't have much in production. That takes a lot more than "Oh look at my website." Another dagger at Microsoft.
Cloud Leaning, Platform Agnostic
But Chabot's larger, intended point was to explain why Tableau leads the market and why no other BI vendor comes close. He pointed out that Tableau is available on-premises, ready to integrate with Oracle and Netezza;as a managed service, in the form of Tableau Online, which you can turn on like Salesforce or like "a dial tone, it's there"; or on a cloud of your choice, be it Amazon or Azure.
Of course, you don't hire an AWS leader unless your religion is cloud, and Tableau is going all in.
"The tech, talent and the toolsets" are all speeding toward the cloud, explained Chabot.
So while Tableau customers will be able to use Tableau on-prem, online or in the cloud (leveraging the same experience, the same user manual, the same training, Chabot pointed out) for what Chabot believes will be the next decade, Tableau's natural home, over time, will be cloud.
In fact,the majority of all business analytics will be done in the cloud in 10 years,"said Chabot.
Chabot branded the bringing in of a new President and CEO — and the shuffling of executives — as an expansion of the management team.
While some might wonder whether Wall Street pressures motivated the search for a new president and CEO, it was known that a search for a new president was ongoing long before yesterday. Chabot said the CEO job, which wasn't a part of the president's search — which no one suspected would be vacated — was awarded to Selipsky because of the caliber of capabilities he was bringing to the company.
It's worth noting though that another Tableau co-founder, Chris Stolte, will be stepping away from his position as Chief Development Officer effective immediately. Stolte will remain on the board of directors but his job will be filled by Andrew Beers, Tableau’s seventh employee.
Francois Ajenstat, who first taught CMSWire readers about data-driven storytelling in 2014, has been promoted to Chief Product Officer.
Tableau Needs to Win IT
There's no questioning that AWS is one of this century's largest tech disruptors and that many enterprise IT leaders initially embraced it kicking and screaming. Engineers, on the other hand, welcomed AWS with open arms. Tableau needs to win the IT community over in order to win the BI market over the long term.
Chabot said as much during the call, noting that Tableau must get two things right to flourish: super-sizing expansion in the cloud and enterprise and IT focus.
The fact that it has already won the end-user over didn't need to be said. Chabot has that done.