Salesforce pivots to data with Mulesoft and Tableau
Salesforce pivots to data with Mulesoft and Tableau

Salesforce, Pivoting to Data, Showcases Game-Changers MuleSoft and Tableau

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While the Salesforce story usually centers on its high-growth CRM clouds, company executives are lavishing extreme praise on the recent acquisitions of MuleSoft and Tableau for transforming Marc Benioff’s company into a truly strategic player.

In Salesforce’s fiscal Q3 earnings call this week, Benioff and his colleagues appropriately highlighted excellent growth numbers for their Sales, Service, Marketing and Commerce Clouds. But they also went to great lengths to showcase not only the revenue contributions of MuleSoft and Tableau but also the indispensable and strategic nature of those subsidiaries in shaping Salesforce’s future.

It’s an intriguing inflection point in the evolution of the #3 company on the Cloud Wars Top 10 list.

Co-CEO Keith Block, citing MuleSoft as “an incredibly successful acquisition,” said he sees “a very similar opportunity with Tableau” in helping customers “unlock and unify data across their enterprises.” (Please see Salesforce’s New Strategy: All In on ‘Customer 360,’ Powered by MuleSoft.)

That potential, Block said, has played out with “tremendous impact” at Nissan, Morgan Stanley, Home Depot, and many, many others.

Salesforce Customers Going “Wall-to-Wall” with Tableau

Not to be outdone, co-CEO Benioff—referring to Tableau as “a huge catalyst for growth”—offered his perspective on the impact Tableau has had since Salesforce acquired it this summer for a whopping 40X revenue. 

“Tableau far exceeded my expectations from a customer perspective. So many of our customers have Tableau, I could not believe it! And in many cases, because Tableau has been a much smaller company than we are, they don’t have a direct relationship with Tableau. They don’t have an executive relationship,” Benioff said. 

But that dynamic has been changing rapidly now that Tableau’s a part of Salesforce and is an essential element in Benioff’s Customer 360 initiative.

“The number of CEOs and CIOs who have directly come to me and my management team and asked us to go wall to wall with Tableau has far exceeded any expectation that we could have had,” Benioff said.

He then cited three interrelated factors behind this rise of Tableau to superstar status within Salesforce.

“It’s a combination of three things. One, our trusted relationship with the customer. Two, Customer 360 resulting in the ‘single instance of customer truth’ profile. And three, Tableau as a huge catalyst for growth.”

Salesforce and Tableau Provide “A Single Source of Truth”

Warming to his task, Benioff made the case for why Salesforce—powered by the integration capabilities of MuleSoft and the data-visualization prowess of Tableau—can deliver a type of business value to customers that no other cloud vendor can match. 

“But I can tell you that after talking to hundreds of customers both before Dreamforce and after that this is a highly differentiated position in the industry. 

“No one else is working on this. Nobody has this vision. No one else is trying to help these customers solve this problem,” Benioff said. “We are in a very unique position with a highly stratified position of customers globally and by industry.”

Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s president of products, explained how Tableau and MuleSoft are helping businesses crush the internal silos that are massive impediments to designing and delivering a truly customer-centric business.

“With those customer-data platforms that so many marketers are clamoring for, we really recognize that every one of our constituents in every department of every company needs a single source of truth to do their jobs.

“And we really feel like the power is unlocked when that known customer data is accessible across all those different departments so that you you create a seamless experience instead of a fragmented experience,” Taylor said. 

“We’re not just doing this for one department—we’re doing this for an entire company so you can have a single view of all of your known customer data.”

That is indeed a fundamental challenge for every business today. And it’s only going to become more essential in the data-driven digital economy emerging across the globe. It’s also an expression of why Salesforce remains a very strong #3 on the Cloud Wars Top 10 and maintain its position as one of the world’s most-innovative and influential companies.

Cloud Wars

Top 10 Rankings — Dec. 2, 2019

1. Microsoft — Major IaaS deal w/#3 Salesforce follows Q1 cloud revenue of $11.6B
2. Amazon — Can’t be happy about Salesforce moving Marketing Cloud to Azure IaaS
3. Salesforce — Big Dreamforce dreams: How Benioff Plans To Defeat Oracle and SAP
4. SAP — New co-CEOs unify priorities, push customer success
5. Oracle — Ellison and SAP both claim #1 spot in enterprise apps—which will it be?
6. Google — No Q3 cloud revenue details, but “significant growth” across the globe
7. IBM — Q3 cloud rev. up 14% to $5B; BofA says cloud has saved billions in IT costs
8. Workday — Exclusive: Aneel Bhusri is Workday’s “Pied Piper of Machine Learning”
9. ServiceNow — Bill McDermott takes over as CEO as Q3 revenue reaches $900M
10. AccentureNo longer breaking out cloud revenue but probably close to $10B

For co-CEO Block, this new capability made possible by both MuleSoft and more pointedly by Tableau will help businesses achieve a goal that’s eluded them for decades.

“For my entire career, the industry has been yearning for the 360-degree view of the customer,” Block said. He then made another point, one that I think is incredibly important.

“A few weeks back, I was with the CEO of one of the largest insurance companies in the world and we were having a conversation about how, over time, silos build up within companies. There are organizational silos, process silos, business-model silos, data silos.”

Helping Companies Develop a “Customer-In” View of the World

And here’s where Block made the extremely important point.

“As a result of those silos, those companies grew up with a ‘product-out’ view of the world instead of a ‘customer-in’ view of the world.”

Ergo the boom in digital transformation to create the mindset and platform required to generate that 360-degree view of the customer. And in Salesforce’s quest to be the enabler of those transformations, Tableau seems to be providing the missing link, according to Block.

“We’re super-excited about Tableau being part of the Salesforce family. Because if you think about the evolution of where technology is going, you think about the systems of record. 

“Well, the systems of record are nothing without data. The systems of engagement are nothing without data. And the systems of intelligence are nothing without data. 

“But the power of visualization with analytics and intelligence is an incredibly unique opportunity.”

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