Google Buys Looker, Salesforce Buys Tableau – What This Means for Business Intelligence

June 10, 2019

If you’ve been paying attention to tech news recently, you know something big is on the horizon.

Heavyweight sluggers Google and Salesforce have gone all-in on self-service business intelligence software, specifically software known for its data visualization, organization, and exploration capabilities.

Let’s quickly break down the deals and look at what this means for the business intelligence industry.

Google buys Looker

The deal to purchase Looker officially broke on June 8, 2019.

Purchase amount: Google Cloud’s purchase is a reported $2.6 billion. The deal is expected to close later this year.

The details: Google wasn’t the only tech giant with their eyes on Looker. Both Microsoft and Amazon had expressed interest in the lofty data analytics and business intelligence startup.

Why the interest? Well, Looker secured its place as a serious business intelligence competitor after raising $280 million before the acquisition and reaching a valuation of $1.6 billion. As a matter of fact, Looker is the only self-service platform below Tableau in terms of being a leader and high performer, according to our Grid using real-time data:


Google Cloud’s CEO Thomas Kurian went into further detail about the acquisition and explained why Looker was the perfect complement to their solutions.

“Looker extends our business analytics offering with two important capabilities—first, the ability to define business metrics once in a consistent way across data sources. This makes it easy for anyone to query data while maintaining consistent definitions in their calculations, ensuring teams get accurate results.

Second, Looker also provides users with a powerful analytics platform that delivers applications for business intelligence and use-case specific solutions such as Sales Analytics, as well as a flexible, embedded analytics product to collaborate on business decisions.

The addition of Looker to Google Cloud will help us offer customers a more complete analytics solution from ingesting data to visualizing results and integrating data and insights into their daily workflows. It will also help us deliver industry-specific analytics solutions in our key verticals, whether that’s supply chain analytics in retailing; media analytics in entertainment; or healthcare analytics at global scale.”

Looker and Google also share customers like Buzzfeed, Hearst, King, Sunrun, WPP Essence, and Yahoo.

Who is Looker? Founded in 2012, Looker is a web-based data discovery platform with a focus on supporting data-driven team cultures. Looker boasts being able to save analysts time from writing SQL queries with its modeling language, LookML.

Looker also offers robust data visualization capabilities that are easy-to-understand for self-service users. It operates 100 percent in-database allowing for real-time results.

Check out Looker’s G2 profile and read some real-user reviews to learn everything there is about the self-service business intelligence platform.

Is Looker right for you? Read Reviews Now, FREE →

Salesforce buys Tableau

The deal to purchase Tableau officially broke on June 10, 2019, coming off the heels of Google’s acquisition.

Purchase amount: Salesforce purchase is a remarkable $15.7 billion all-stock deal. What this basically means is that Tableau’s Class A and Class B common stocks are getting exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce stock, hence, the hefty price tag.

The details: With the constant expansion of big data, Salesforce has been looking to extend the breadth of its business beyond CRM. Purchasing Tableau, one of the industry leaders in data analytics and business intelligence, made the most sense.

Marc Benioff, Chairman & Co-CEO of Salesforce, expressed his excitement of the purchase in a statement:

“We are bringing together the world’s #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform. Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers–bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world. I’m thrilled to welcome Adam and his team to Salesforce.”

Tableau brings some heavy-hitting customers to the table, like Charles Schwab, Verizon, Schneider Electric, Southwest, and Netflix.

One important note: Salesforce says that although Tableau has been purchased, it’ll still operate independently under its own brand.

Who is Tableau? If you’re not yet familiar with Tableau, they were founded in 2003 – giving them quite the head start on other data visualization and business intelligence companies.

Tableau boasts being able to seamlessly connect hundreds of data sources in just a few clicks with its drag-and-drop capabilities. This allows for quicker analyses paired with Tableau’s deep portfolio of data visualization options.

Tableau also has natural language search queries for its self-service platform, a bleeding-edge type of feature.

Watch some videos of real Tableau users explain their experiences using the self-service platform.

Browse Tableau Desktop user reviews →

What this means for business intelligence

The global business intelligence market is expected to reach nearly $30 billion by 2022, which makes sense with blockbuster purchases like the ones from Google and Salesforce.

But if these purchases signal anything, it’s that business intelligence in a traditional sense will soon change. By 2022, there will be far less emphasis on learning “what” happened and far greater emphasis on knowing “what will happen next.” These insights are referred to as predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Reaching proactive insights will allow companies to discover new opportunities faster, make more data-driven decisions, forecast more accurately, and drill down deeper into analytics.

The purchasing of Looker and Tableau also tell us that there will be greater emphasis on self-service platforms. In our business intelligence statistics roundup, we highlight that 64 percent of business leaders say self-service options create significant competitive advantages.

With such a lag in hiring data science professionals, part of the void can be filled with simpler, easier to use self-service solutions.

Interested in learning more about self-service business intelligence? Our five-minute guide explains both its benefits and challenges.

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