What a week it’s been for the analytics industry & one that will benefit many of our customers! First Google acquired Looker for $2.6billion, then Microsoft announced AI Builder for the Power Platform, followed hot on the heels by Salesforce buying Tableau for $15.7billion!

What is interesting is what these announcements say about the different strategies that Google, Salesforce & Microsoft are pursuing.

Salesforce buys Tableau

Analytics in Salesforce has long been a point of frustration. Einstein Analytics is promising but faces a massive uphill struggle to win traction outside of the Salesforce user base in the face of established industry leaders Tableau & Microsoft Power BI.

Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau is a statement move that adds the current analytics industry leader to Salesforce’s already comprehensive portfolio. The synergies of having powerful analytics combined with one of the most important sources of customer & process data is mouth-watering to both data geeks & business users alike! For Salesforce, Tableau comes with a massive install base that will make them a strategic supplier to even more companies – something that is sure to please their account teams.

Google buys Looker

Google’s acquisition of Looker, while just a fraction of the size of the Salesforce deal, is none the less very important for what it tells us about Google’s direction of travel (which is increasingly “multi-cloud”). At Acrotrend we are huge fans of Looker & love their data platform’s approach to insight visualisation & embedded analytics. By standardising how business data is modelled, Looker also solves the “apples to oranges” metric comparison issue that plagues many business analytics applications. In many ways Looker offers a more modern platform than Tableau – born in the cloud & is widely used with Google’s Big Query service – and as such Looker nicely complements the Google Cloud Platform.

We expect Looker customers to benefit from this acquisition as the power of Google’s brand & market presence rapidly expand the number of Looker users & rate of development of the platform, accelerating the already promising road-map. It’s also important that in Google’s announcement they are re-affirming their & Looker’s multi-cloud strategy meaning Looker customers will not be forced to use Google’s tools if they have other preferences. Finally, we also anticipate seeing some changes to pricing for Looker as competition in this market heats up.

Microsoft expands the Power Platform

Microsoft’s latest update to the Power Platform brings code-free predictive metrics to its huge Power BI user base. Almost lost in the fanfare of two major acquisitions, this important announcement should not be overlooked as it plays on Microsoft’s strengths of its install base & AI platform. The combination of AI Builder, Power BI, Microsoft Flow & PowerApps in a tightly integrated platform opens up a much wider range of use cases than just BI reporting & data visualisation where Microsoft has traditionally been strong.

What next?

With many businesses yet to move their on-premise data warehousing & Oracle systems to the cloud, there is a massive market to play for. As these core applications are replaced by cloud native solutions, business can achieve a step change in the insights & value they realise from data that was previously locked into system silos creating a strong incentive to invest. Expect more announcements & acquisitions in the months ahead as the big cloud & SaaS vendors build out their data, analytics & AI toolkits to capitalise on this growth market…