This has been an interesting week for BI/Analytics industry. Lots of things happened; some of them were good and some bad…
The most surprising news thus far, at least for me, was what happened with Tableau’s stock. After its quarterly results were announced, the stock plummeted 50% (despite the fact that the company beat quarterly expectations). The stock is now trading at about 1/3 of its highest price almost six or seven months ago.
Correlation <> causation, as we all know, but it’s kind of interesting how both precipitous drops in Tableau’s stock value coincided with Power BI going GA last year and then with this week’s big announcement from Microsoft about the release of the Publish to Web functionality. According to most articles that I have read on this subject, the analysts say that the drop in price did not occur due to underwhelming financial performance (although there was some of that) but rather due to concerns about long term viability of the company.
I am not in a position to expertly dispense any opinions on this subject, but most people would agree that as markets/industries mature, they have a tendency to consolidate. Along with BI industry maturing, cloud computing and SaaS capabilities are becoming more and more important. As I think about these trends and market dynamics, it seems natural to at least consider whether Tableau and/or Qlik are well equipped to remain stand-alone players or whether they should put themselves up to be acquired.
The worst thing for Microsoft, in my humble opinion, would be a scenario where SAP picks Tableau up. SAP ERP is a popular choice for many organizations, but even with SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects (once a great product that has since been bled dry and, in a typical SAP fashion, underinvested) and Lumira (a very uninspiring product in its own right), SAP’s BI offerings are particularly underwhelming right now. Even Gartner, to my surprise, has finally developed some testicular fortitude to publically recognize this fact in its recent annual report (please see the image below).
Adding Tableau to the mix would instantly catapult SAP as the Leader in the BI/Analytics space. Luckily for Microsoft, SAP just barely has enough cash on its balance sheet to acquire Tableau (market cap: $2.99B) (you can adjust for the exchange rate…)
Also, while you are looking at its financials above, take a look at SAP’s Goodwill and join me in pondering what will happen to SAP’s stock when it starts depreciating this “current” asset. It’s kind of scary to think that half of SAP’s total assets is Goodwill (or basically vaporware).
I happen to be a big fan of Tableau and I sincerely hope that the company will find a way to get through these rough times and to continue to put pressure on Microsoft to innovate and to make Power BI better.
Now, let’s get back to Microsoft and Power BI.
If you follow Power BI Blog (and you should) you already saw the flood of updates and new features. There are two new developments, however, that I should mention.
The first one is Publish to Web functionality. This new feature has gotten plenty of coverage in the Microsoft BI blogosphere and I there is little value for me to add any additional commentary. The new development that I will talk about a little bit was quietly released as part of the Power BI site. I am talking about new Power BI demos that are now available for several Departments and Industries. These demos are delivered using the Publish to Web functionality and this is the first time Power BI demos are delivered using anonymous embedding.