Salesforce sister companies Slack and Tableau look to bring Marc Benioff’s master plan to fruition

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks at CES in Las Vegas. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Tableau Software will launch new Slack integrations that let users interact with data and graphics inside the popular communication and collaboration platform, trying out their newfound status as Salesforce sister companies.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has long touted this type of integration as a benefit of the San Francisco-based company’s acquisition spree. Salesforce spent $50 billion from 2018 to 2021 for Slack, Tableau and integration software company Mulesoft.

Tableau, the Seattle-based data visualization company, is slated to announce the new “Slack-First Analytics” at its virtual Tableau Conference on Tuesday morning. The new tools let users visualize data, understand underlying trends, and generate predictions from data inside Slack.

Sharing Tableau data visualizations in Slack. (Tableau Image)

“This is really about bringing analytics in the flow of business, where people work,” said Francois Ajenstat, Tableau chief product officer, in a media briefing.

The integrations follow Salesforce’s completion of its $27.7 billion Slack acquisition in July. Salesforce closed its $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau in August 2019, a little over two years ago.

Tableau has continued to grow as part of Salesforce. Tableau’s revenue reached $469 million, up 22%, in Salesforce’s second quarter of its fiscal 2022, ended in July. Salesforce said Tableau was part of nine of its top 10 deals in the quarter.

The new integrations align Tableau and Slack in competition against Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization software, and Teams communication and collaboration platform. Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 and business applications also compete with Salesforce’s customer-relationship management software.

Slack users will need to be Tableau customers to use the integrations, a Tableau spokesperson said.

Tableau CEO Mark Nelson

Tableau is working on similar integrations with other apps. “We will continue to bring Tableau to everywhere — embedded in the applications where your employees are spending their days, because that’s the winning formula,” Tableau CEO Mark Nelson said in a media briefing.

Nelson was named Tableau president and CEO in March. He filled a vacancy created when his predecessor, Adam Selipsky, was named CEO of Amazon Web Services, taking over for Andy Jassy, who is succeeding Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO.

The integrations with Slack are slated to launch next year. Tableau is also considering future integrations with Slack Connect, which lets companies collaborate with external suppliers and customers, said Ajenstat, in a Q&A published by the company.

Also at the conference, Tableau pledged to train 10 million people in data analytics and related skills over the next five years through new and expanded learning programs. In conjunction with the pledge, the non-profit Tableau Foundation is making a $5 million commitment to support organizations that help women and girls learn data skills.

When the acquisition of Tableau was announced in 2019, Benioff said Seattle would effectively become Salesforce HQ2.

Salesforce employed about 1,000 people in the Seattle area prior to acquiring Tableau. Including the Tableau acquisition, the number of Salesforce employees in the Seattle area is almost 4,000 now, a Tableau spokesperson said.

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