Huge month in business intelligence M&A: Salesforce, Workday, and Tableau

Huge month in business intelligence M&A: Salesforce, Workday, and Tableau

July was a huge month for merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the BI space.

Thoughtspot raised $145 million, Salesforce acquired Datorama, Workday acquired and Tableau acquired Empirical Systems.


Each of these transactions is strategic. They’re focused on augmented analytics and the automation of BI.

Gartner has talked about the automation of BI and analytics as a two to five-year journey but I think we’re seeing the evidence that things are accelerating. If you look at the acquisition activity, you can see that the industry is about to go through a radical transformation.

There are a lot of time-consuming job functions that people have historically done that can be fully automated. But some manufacturers and users haven’t yet caught up with this change. So some vendors are still manufacturing horses and buggies while others are now manufacturing cars.

Vendors who aren’t working on automation now will be left behind. Acknowledging this, large vendors are quickly buying strategic assets because there are only a small number of vendors in the automated BI space at the moment. They’re choosing to acquire capability in order to keep up.

This shift towards automation will also change the way people expect to deliver and execute on analytics projects moving forward. The challenge for the industry right now is that buyers don't yet understand the implications of automation. In my experience, as soon as buyers see automation in action they understand it implicitly and are excited by it - that's what they want to purchase.

The industry hype hasn’t caught up to this shift because no one fully understands the implications for the industry. Large vendors do recognize the shift is coming, which is why some are getting in early to purchase the capability that will drive their product into the future. It all goes to why augmented analytics is such hot space. The BI industry has an exciting ride ahead!

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