Big data is getting smaller. At least that’s the conclusion some are reaching. And if they’re looking only at the stock market, who can blame them?

Share prices of LinkedIn (down 42 percent), Tableau (down 48 percent) and Splunk (down 28 percent) have all sunk.

Show Me the Money

Yesterday Tableau released its fourth-quarter earnings report.

The company, whose products help you see and understand your data, reported revenue of $203 million, up 42 percent year-over-year. That beat analysts' expectations. But two things spooked traders.

Tableau's license revenue grew 31 percent during the quarter, a significant drop from the 57 percent growth it posted in the third quarter. 

There was also a $34.1 million income-tax expense in the fourth quarter. The company does not expect to make enough that all its deferred tax assets will be realized.

Now What?

What are tech industry onlookers and analysts saying?

Let’s start with this: Tableau users really, really love Tableau. “They have almost a cult-like dedication to the vendor and its products,” Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller told CMSWire. Go to one of their user conferences and take a look for yourself.

Or, if you don’t feel like waiting until next November, which is when the geeks and artists  will next come together to revel in vizzes (data visualizations), check out Tableau Public, it’s free. In 2015, over 80,000 authors published over 200,000 new workbooks using it. Here’s one we’ve written about. Or, if that’s too intimidating, there’s Vizable, anyone who is capable of accessing a spreadsheet, can use it to  make interactive vizzes on an iPad.

Industry analysts like Tableau, too. “Tableau's focus on making its customers successful is evident in its top overall rating for customer enablement. Tableau offers a vast array of learning options — including online tutorials, webinars and hands-on classroom-based training — to educate and empower its users, which has increased the number of skilled Tableau resources available in the market, wrote Gartner analysts Josh Parenteau, Rita L. Sallam, Cindi Howson, Joao Tapadinhas, Kurt Schlegel, Thomas W. Oestreich in its most recent Magic Quadrant report for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

Learning Opportunities

Biting at its Heels?

While Tableau has clearly made data visualization more accessible to more workers, other vendors are trying to do the same. Microsoft has, for example, introduced Power BI, and they’ve told us, straight out, that they want every Excel spreadsheet user to be a Power BI user.

The company’s goal, at this point in time, is to drive adoption, so the basic version is free. And even the pay-to-play options aren’t expensive. Though Power BI has a lot to offer, it’s not widely adopted just yet.

“Power BI is making progress, but mostly through bundling (with other Microsoft products)”, said Mueller.

You Have What on Your Cloud?

Some see Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Tableau competitor.

 R. Ray Wang remarked, “Amazon launching Opensight, with a very functional V1, with a lot of automatic functions which the other products need to create manually (provides competition)”, he said, then added.” Creating an in memory layer of all data sources a user connects in AWS is very powerful and hard to do with other products without human intervention. And the price point of Opensight is equally aggressive.”

Is it time for Tableau or Tableau users to panic? Wang doesn’t think so,

“Tableau has a very loyal and dedicated user base, so it will be hard to convert those professionals. After all people get used to tools, so when the 'shoe fits, you don't change it,” he said.