Tableau ramps up revenues 75%, adds 2,600 customers

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan February 4, 2015
Tableau Software turns in big numbers at year end as customer numbers rack up

Christian Chabot
Christian Chabot

A strong end to the year for Tableau Software sent the stock price soaring by 12% in after hours trading as the firm turned in a 75% increase in revenues and added 2,600 new customers in the past quarter.

Some key stats:

  • In Q4, revenue jumped 75% to $142.9 million
  • The number of Q4 deals over $100,000 jumped 70% to 304.
  • Q4 licence revenue was $101.4 million, up 75% year-on-year.
  • For the full year, revenue was $412.6 million, up 78% year-on-year.
  • Full year, Tableau added more than 9,100 new customers.
  • Full year licence revenue was $279.9 million, also 75% up year-on-year.

CEO Christian Chabot particularly focuses on the customer acquisition numbers:

At the end of 2010, we had more than 5,000 customer accounts. We closed 2014 with nearly five times that figure more than 26,000 customer accounts in over 100 countries.

Our annual growth has been greater than 75% for each of the last five years. In fact, our total revenue for 2014 was greater than the previous two years combined. In 2014, transactions greater than $100,000 totalled 781 transactions which is more than the last two years combined. Finally, international sales in 2014 grew 105% from the prior year.

The value proposition for those customers is simple, he adds:

It's to help people see and understand data. We are enabling people to answer questions, solve problems and generate meaning from data in a way that has never before been possible and we're putting that power in the hands of a much broader population of people.

Chabot cites the Coca Cola Bottling company, the Audi car manufacturer and the Mayor of London’s office as cases in point:

A few years back, analysts at the company knew they could be doing more with their data, but were too busy generating ad hoc reports. Today with Tableau, they're able to automatically refresh standard reports with a single click; saving days’ worth of time and roughly 800 of their employees from Executives to deliver teams use iPads to view Tableau dashboards.

In Germany, Audi AG uses Tableau in nearly every department from technical development to controlling, procurement and product marketing. One process leader estimates that insights from Tableau helps his department save between 20% to 30% of total cost on a recent project.

The Mayor of London's office is a Tableau fan. The Mayor's Office for policing and crime launched its first interactive dashboard to allow the public to compare crime figures for London's metropolitan police service against the national crime picture. Users can view crime rates across the capital all the way down to the neighbourhood level.


Tableau’s growth continues to come in the main from co-existence with installed products such as Cognos and Business Objects, but Chabot says there are some indicators of a shift:

Often people have nothing but Excel. As an example, often there are whole companies who were completely botched out of that last generation of BI due to its weight and complexity and cost and as such are also green field.

That said displacement is more and more common. A common scenario that you could quality as displacement is that there is as fortune 100 company or division and they technically have a traditional old school enterprise stacked vendor standard in the BI category that is in fact deployed, but it's very limited in its deployment.

[For] the newest cases, Tableau is the technology of choice increasingly for those net new projects. [We’re] the new idea, the new curiosity, the new acquisition, the new response to the government and so on down the line. So while they're not necessarily ripping out old school technology, they're increasingly moving to Tableau as their primary alternative for their growth needs. Many would call that displacement, but it depends on your definition.

Expanding on this, he adds:

People will typically start their Tableau journey with a few copies of Tableau's desktop. It's often some inspired person having some local victory. Relatively short after that, they will adopt their server in part, because one of the nice business innovations we've made in this state old industry, is the fact that we don't have minimum purchase requirements and so even on our server platform, people can get started with a little group of 10 users. On our cloud platform, they can get started with one or two people they want to share with as an example, that technology is so easy to digest and experiment with.

Now of course, after those first couple groups and teams are successful. Word starts to spread, projects get more strategic, now you're talking hundreds of users. Now people are talking about moving their BI strategy to the new way. Now you're talking thousands of users. Now it's selected for the global roll out in the strategic project that has CEO visibility. Now you're talking 10,00 users and so on down the curve.

The other movement Chabot detects is in relation to the size of deals:

The trend is towards larger and larger deployments. You can see it in some of the simple numbers. For example, the large transaction number we've been releasing was 781 transactions, which was huge growth over the previous year. Those are deals greater than $100,000 and those are becoming very significant. They're indicative of companies moving their entire business analytic strategy to the Tableau way of doing things.

I would go so far is to call it a pattern. I mean, four years ago it was a relatively obscure thing to take one of these new agile self-service alternatives and go make it your enterprise go-to BI standard. It was rare indeed and these days it's common place.

Sometimes that means, it's still a divisional victory in a couple of divisions. Other times, is a go-to analytics and [decision] going all the way up to the CEO and occupying their most important data driven initiatives. I don't personally forecast any decline in that trend. In fact, I think our best years are ahead of us.

As for the competitive landscape, with Microsoft announcing free BI offerings and Salesforce gearing up its Wave offering, Chabot is phlegmatic:

Microsoft is a fierce and respected competitor and we would certainly expect that they will be in the market for many years. Their recent move is the latest in a long history of ‘look, we have something for free’ moves. None of those moves historically have had an impact on the competitive structure and dynamics in our industry. As such, we don't believe this one will as well particularly because it does not come in combination with what we view as any profound products change.

We haven't seen any fundamental competitive change on the Salesforce Wave front. That product I would classify as a nice reporting upgrade for its Salesforce It isn't particularly analytically. Obviously there is no premise story. There isn't a sophisticated Big Data component. I think it's a good product as far as I can tell, but in no way has it entered our pipeline as a fundamental competitive at this point, but we will continue to monitor it.

My take

Just some very impressive numbers from a company with ‘keep a close eye on us’ written all over it.

Disclosure: at time of writing, Salesforce and SAP are premier partners of diginomica. 

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