#Data20, My Thoughts

If you are here for unbridled love for Tableau and the #Datafam, this might not be the blog post for you. I had a lot of thoughts watching Tableau Conference-ish and felt that I needed to put them down on paper. Here goes nothing…

I can’t help but feel that Salesforce is not putting in the required time, money, or effort into Tableau. As I sat and watched the Devs in Desks and the new features in the pipeline, I was underwhelmed. While a few of the items were cool at face value, I was left wondering if Tableau Conference was turning into Salesforce Conference right before my eyes. Tableau is such a wonderful tool with so many amazing capabilities, I really hope that Salesforce invests enough in it to keep it competitive with other BI platforms.

I tweeted out this week that I viewed Tableau as a value stock and Power BI as a growth stock, so which one were you investing in? The reasons I felt this way were two fold 1) Tableau’s momentum in terms of new features and innovations seems to be stalling since the Salesforce acquisition 2) Power BI’s pace of progress in terms of features released (monthly) has been mind boggling. Three years ago Power BI was a pile of hot steaming garbage, and today it’s one of the leading BI platforms and ahead of Tableau in the Gartner Magic Quadrant (if you give those type of things any merit). Tableau reminds me of value stock. They have an established product, they know they’re good at what they do, and they can charge a premium for it (think P&G), but their desire for innovation is slowing. I think of Power BI as a growth stock in a start up company that is running a million miles an hour to get a better product.

Throughout #Data20 I kept asking myself, what will the BI landscape look like 3 years from now? This is a “what tools do I need to learn to stay job market relevant” question more than anything, but I also think it’s one that folks on either side of the aisle should consider. To me, the common sense way to think about how tools will look is pretty simple, how much money and time are their parent companies willing to invest in them to make them better? Are you betting on Salesforce/Tableau, Microsoft/Power BI, Google/Google Data Studio/Looker? Or other?

I posted a series of takes on #Data20 at the thread below. There were seriously interesting responses to my questions/thoughts, so it might be worth a read if you have time to scroll through some of the conversations. Lots of of great takes and thoughts from people who have worked in all corners of the BI industry.

The Braindates were my favorite part of #Data20, AGAIN. I love Braindates. At TC19 in Vegas I did ~3-5 Braindates a day. My favorite part about them is hearing all the different perspectives that people bring to the table that enable you to learn about the practical things people are doing with Tableau and other BI tools in their everyday work. This time around, I hosted 3 Braindates, all on the topic of Tableau and Power BI. We had a full house each time and a wide variety of different perspectives as well.

In my first Braindate with Jim Van Sistine, Sneha Naik, and Chitral Chadda we discussed a lot of things, most specifically some of the perceived shortcomings of Power BI and how they have been addressing them in their monthly releases. We all agreed that Parameter Actions and Set Actions give Tableau a big advantage in user interaction with dashboards.


In Braindate #2, Jeff Komen, Poonam Hemrajani and I discussed the pros and cons of the two tools and what tools are more suitable for certain use cases. Jeff is BI-lingual (Power BI/Tableau) as well, so he had some great insight into the application of the tools with his clients.


Braindate #3 was last, but definitely not least. I had a blast with Gemma Francisco, Katie Wagner, Justin Shelite, and Sam Smalls going back and forth on our experiences with the two platforms. Gemma was interested in learning about Power BI, but the others in the group had all had personal experience using both tools so the conversation was loaded with fun perspectives and stories.


To wrap up my thoughts, I really hope that Salesforce continues to push the envelope with Tableau as I really think it’s a great tool and it’s what got me hooked on data analytics. As someone said during one of our Braindates, “Tableau is all in on getting people to LOVE data,” and I couldn’t agree more. It certainly had that effect on me. They captured my imagination and passion with all the possibilities that their product offers. I really hope that the economics of the situation doesn’t get in the way of them continuing to do this.

I hope everyone reading this had a great #Data20 experience and that thinking about these topics doesn’t diminish the excitement and the amazing community experience that Tableau has built over the past several years. I look forward to seeing all the amazing content that everyone in the Tableau community continues to produce. May you all keep that love for data that Tableau so often inspires.

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