Tableau Software: A $6 Billion Company Aiding Business Intelligence Through Big Data Analytics

Tableau Software is a mid-sized cloud computing and data analytics company based out of Seattle, WA. For the past 15 years, the publicly traded tech firm has built products that help ordinary people see and understand complex databases and spreadsheets. The $5.9 billion company offers interactive data visualization products focused on business intelligence.

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IDC research estimates that in 2020, the world will generate 50 times the amount of data as in 2011 and 75 times the number of information sources. Tableau seeks to capitalize on that opportunity by offering a means to turn massive amounts of data into insights that aid in faster, easier and more informed decision making.

The big data innovator was founded in 2003 out of Mountain View, Calif., spurred by a project brought to Stanford University by the Department of Defense (DOD). The project, aimed at improving people’s ability to analyze information, was head by Ph.D. candidate Christ Stolte. Inspired to find a way to help people visualize data analytics through computer graphics, Chris teamed with his Ph.D. advisor, Professor Pat Hanrahan, a founding member of Pixar and its chief architect for RenderMan, to invent a technology called VizQL. Co-founder Christian Chabot, who was studying entrepreneurship at Stanford Business School, was extremely impressed with the invention – enough that he decided to join the team and co-found Tableau as its CEO.

The SaaS provider saw rapid growth off the bat, inking funding from New Enterprise Associates within its first year.

In May 2013, Tableau hit the public markets on the New York Stock Exchange trading under the ticker symbol DATA. Trading at $74.52 per share in Jan 2018, Tableau has secured an over 140% return for its shareholders since its IPO, which was priced at $31 per share.

In August 2016, Tableau announced that it would replace Chabot as CEO with the appointment of Adam Selipsky. Its new CEO has decades of experience in the tech world, including eleven years building Amazon Web Services from a start up to a multi-billion-dollar market leader.

As Tableau evolves, its focus has been on transforming its business to focus on subscription revenues instead of one-time purchases and service fees. Earlier this month, the company bought out HyPer, a startup with a data engine that it says will speed up querying and building reports off large sets of data. Indicating early success of its new strategy, DATA has rallied over 63% since February 2016 lows.