Cardinal Path’s Co-CEO Corey Koberg weighs in on the implications of the world’s #1 CRM and #1 analytics & data visualization platform coming together.

What does this acquisition mean for end-users of both Salesforce and Tableau?

CK: In 2019, getting data isn’t the hard part, it’s getting it out of the database and into the hands of decision-makers in a way that is insightful and actionable. Many, if not the majority, of our customers rely on Tableau for its ability to transform and visualize data to facilitate that analysis so we inform business decisions with the data they have.

But not all data is created equal. The data around your actual customers—who they are, what they do, and what they seek from you is the most important data you have. Salesforce’s CRM solutions house more customer data than anyone else. That goldmine of customer data combined with the analysis and visualization power of both Tableau and Datorama can give their customers a serious competitive edge.

Marc Benioff, Chairman, and co-CEO, Salesforce says that the coming together of the two platforms will, “… transform the way people understand not only their customers but their whole world—delivering powerful AI-driven insights across all types of data and use cases for people of every skill level.”

This is a big acquisition that has moved quickly and closes gaps for both Salesforce and Tableau. Adding Tableau on top of other acquisitions, such as Datorama and Mulesoft, adds a whole new set of capabilities for Salesforce in the realm of organizing and visualizing data to help organizations make decisions and keep a pulse on their entire business.

Salesforce is already the backbone that runs many businesses, but the acquisition of Tableau enables them to reach beyond the data stored in their cloud platform, to many other sources that organizations might have kept separate from that stored within the various Salesforce applications, but for which Tableau has traditionally had access. This will help facilitate Salesforce’s further penetration into organizations beyond its’ traditional strongholds.

For Tableau, they’ll now have ready access to all of Salesforce’s existing client base, and over time, we’ll hopefully see deeper and more automated integrations with various Salesforce applications.

The potential benefits for Salesforce and their clients are high, but there’s a lot of work to go in realizing that potential. Over the next couple of years, we should expect to see increasing integration between the platforms, and bundles/offerings from Salesforce that include Tableau as a foundational piece.

For all of us at Cardinal Path, this is an exciting time. With the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau, and their partnership with Google, we can see a future that provides more streamlined access to an organization’s first-party data that can be used not just for cool reports and visuals, but that enables deep analysis capabilities and the ability to act on findings faster and easier. Include machine learning and AI features from both Salesforce and Google, and the possibilities expand even further with the ability to create robust dynamic audience segmentation, media/content optimization, and on-the-fly personalization, and much more.

How are enterprise marketers currently driving insights across platforms and what will change with the new native integrations?

CK: The CRM used to sit alone. Now that customer data sits at the center of a powerful marketing cloud that combines experience creation and personalization, behavioral analysis (Google Analytics 360), activation (email, DMP, etc), and now world-class data analysis and visualizations.

With a cookieless future on the horizon, will this consolidation play into better leveraging first-party data?

CK: Companies that have a direct, first-party relationship with their clients are at a distinct advantage. Not only can they easily get the required consent under GDPR type regulations, but through a properly curated personalization program, they can deliver on the value-promise. Customers have shown they are ok giving up data and identifying via logins as long as there is a clear value-exchange. To be successful in the long run, today’s companies need to move beyond the generic mass-market approach and clumsy personalizations to experiences that are truly crafted to meet the needs and desires of their customers.

As Salesforce and Tableau analytics capabilities become intertwined in terms of on-premise analytics, how does this impact Cloud?

CK: With respect to privacy regulation, one of the biggest challenges is how to make customer data actionable while still ensuring anonymity and not accidentally revealing or exporting personally identifiable information that is linked to other data sets. The clouds are increasingly adopting “safe harbor” approaches where segments and cohorts can be selected and actioned within the cloud. This can allow a precise approach without ever explicitly identifying particular individuals and allow marketers to accomplish their goals and still respect users’ privacy.

The Google Marketing Platform also offers native integrations with Salesforce through a partnership that has been adding capabilities over the past couple of years. Does this news impact the way marketers leverage the GMP?

CK: This is one of the areas I’m most excited about. Right now, to get the data into a standalone tool like Tableau, a full export is required. In that process you may lose some of the linking relationships or data is simply unavailable for privacy reasons. With a native Tableau integration, I think we’ll see much better data access options that allow us to transform and analyze the data, possibly without ever leaving the backend databases where it resides.