This Acquisition Means More Data and Actionable Insights for Retailers

Salesforce has acquired Tableau, a data software company that counts 8,000 retail and consumer goods companies as customers. The move is the largest acquisition in the company’s history, at $15.7 billion, and reflects Salesforce’s growing emphasis on data and the benefits that it can bring to businesses across all industries, including retail.

“We have already seen firsthand that data and customers are the heart of every digital transformation,” said Marc Benioff, co-founder, chairman and co-CEO in a conference call to investors.  “Data is the key to making [Salesforce application] Einstein’s AI capabilities possible, bringing AI to everyone through the Salesforce Platform. Now Tableau and Einstein bring together two pivotal platforms that every customer needs to understand their world.”

Through Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform, retailers were already able to leverage data in order to build shopper profiles and personalize the customer experience. With Tableau, the data applications deepen to include dashboard visualizations across each segment of business; there are 12 unique dashboards for retail-specific uses, from product availability to weather-related demand.

This emphasis towards data is not confined to Salesforce as Google announced its own acquisition of data analytics platform Looker on June 6. As retailers shift their focus to digital performance and e-commerce, this results in a great increase in data, which can be analyzed for actionable insights. It is forecast that there will be 50 times more data generated in 2020 than in 2011.

“Tapping into this massive data flow creates huge opportunities for economic and human advancement,” said Benioff. “To turn opportunities into reality, people need this information available all the time, everywhere. They need the power to innovate faster, to drive intelligent connected customer experiences.”

Tableau will still operate independently of Salesforce and will continue to draw data from multiple sources in addition to Salesforce, such as SAP and Oracle. The acquisition is to be completed during Salesforce’s Q3, ending Oct. 31.

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