‘We’re on a mission to liberate data and bring it to the masses’
Fuelled by Gartner Magic Quadrant kudos, targeting APAC growth
IT seemed more than fitting, to be using your company’s own data visualization tool to chart out the progress made in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics Platforms report over the years.
This year marked the first time Tableau Software, a Seattle-headquartered software company founded in 2003, was named a leader in the research firm’s report, which evaluates and ranks vendors active in the global BI market.
Gartner noted that customers “remain extremely happy” with Tableau for the fourth year in a row, particularly with its core differentiator: Making a range of analyses (from simple to complex) accessible and easy for the ordinary business user.
“Surveyed customers identified ease of use for end-users and developers, and functionality, as their main reasons for choosing Tableau,” the Gartner report said.
Tableau Software vice president for Asia Pacific J.Y. Pook’s pleasure in sharing that Magic Quadrant performance chart with Digital News Asia (DNA) was obvious, and he proclaimed it as "hard-earned recognition that lends validation" to the company’s mission.
“We’re on a mission to liberate data and bring it to the masses. Fundamentally, it’s about positively impacting people’s lives, to improve workplace collaboration and have happier people,” he told DNA at the company’s Singapore office.
Tableau Software launched its Singapore operations in March 2012 to leverage on growing market demand for BI solutions in the region.
According to Gartner, the market for BI platforms in Asia Pacific is expected to grow 7.4% to reach almost US$1.4 billion in revenue in 2014 and more than US$1.6 billion by 2017, as data discovery and mobility create a revival in spending by business users.
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The US$100 million mark
Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Tableau Software recently released its third quarter results, which marked the first time it topped US$100 million in revenue. However, it reported a third quarter net loss of US$4.6 million, or seven cents a share, on revenue of US$104.5 million, up 71% from a year ago.
According to the company, licence revenue was US$69.8 million, up 66% year over year, and international revenue was up 115% year over year.
The company also added more than 2,500 new customer accounts, bringing its total to 23,000 globally, and closed 200 sales orders greater than $100,000, a 68% year over year bump.
On a conference call with analysts, Tableau Software chief financial officer Tom Walker said the company will report fourth quarter revenue of between US$118 million and US$122 million.
“We remain optimistic about our potential, and believe we are still in the early stages of investing and capitalising on our large market opportunity.
“We are anticipating 2015 revenues to increase approximately 40% year over year. We are planning for 2015 to be another investment year with respect to operating expenses,” he added.
Recent product announcements from the company include Tableau Drive, a methodology for scaling out self-service analytics based on best practices from successful enterprise deployments.
The company claims that the methodology delivers an iterative, agile method that is faster and more effective than traditional long-cycle deployments.
Tableau Software has been active in the Asia Pacific region for the last three years and Pook (pic) claimed that awareness of the company’s offerings has become much higher recently, thanks in part to positive reviews from reports such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.
“Obviously winning the Gartner award helps, but it’s also because of the growth of more localised content via our Tableau Public offering, which drives a lot of traffic and awareness in the region.
“The challenge in this market is that there is a lot of data, but also a lot of buzzwords and hype that go with using analytics and making data-driven decisions.
"Organisations are grappling with this. We’ve seen tremendous growth, which validates the fact that the problem is real for all types of organisations,” Pook said.
While the fundamental problem exists, which is making sense of the data but that’s solvable, the other problem is reaching out to the wider market, he added.
In terms of traditional users of BI software, he said that it’s a limited market in terms of size, and that the company is focused on addressing all end-users.
“Every one of us has data, be it on our computers or other devices – and that’s really the market for Tableau – every person out there that has data they want to make sense of,” he said.
Asked about competitors, for example Microsoft and the integration of data visualisation tools within Excel, Pook argued that it would take other players some time to “catch up” with what Tableau has built.
“It’ll take them time and we’re already building the software from the ground up with a human interface that makes dealing with data more accessible,” he said, adding that the company invests about 20% of its revenue back into research and development.
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