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Next Wave Portfolio—New Addition: Tableau Software

By Rob DeFrancesco on September 21, 2015

Businesses these days are spending more money on analytics software because they realize there are a lot of strategic insights that can be gleaned from all of their data. The overall business intelligence (BI) analytics software market, expected to grow about 9% annually over the next few years, is going through some changes, creating new growth opportunities in the process.

Older BI software vendors have not really innovated in years. But workforces now want to see and understand data in a better way, and are demanding easier to use and more dynamic offerings. Plenty of the legacy on-premise software (from vendors such as IBM and SAP) has been abandoned by customers after purchasing it, with the expensive annual maintenance payments going to waste.

I am adding Tableau Software (DATA) to the Next Wave Portfolio because it’s one of the key beneficiaries of the shifting BI market. Tableau’s analytics software for data visualization is increasingly being implemented across all sizes of organizations. The company’s customer addition momentum tells the story, with more than 3,000 new accounts brought on in the latest quarter, up from 2,600+ adds in the March quarter. Tableau now has more than 32,000 customers worldwide.

In the second quarter, revenue rose 65% year over year to $149.9 million, beating the consensus estimate of $141 million and easily topping the high end of the guidance range of $135 million to $140 million. License revenue of $96.7 million was up 60%. International revenue jumped 83% to $36.7 million and accounted for 25% of total revenue.

With Tableau solutions now being deployed across larger enterprises, deal sizes are on the rise. The number of second quarter deals worth over $100,000 totaled 233, up 48% from the year-ago period. In the prior quarter, the company closed its first 7-figure deal in the Asia Pacific region.

Most of Tableau’s large deals continue to be signed with existing customers, proof that the company’s land-and-expand strategy is working. Tableau often gets its way into an organization via a handful of Desktop seats, with many initial transactions valued at less than $10,000. It’s easy for new users to download a 14-day free trial from the Tableau website (it takes just 60 seconds) and start working with the software right away. Tableau sales teams quickly engage with trial customers to try to convert them into paying accounts.

From there, Tableau usage can spread like wildfire within an organization, leading to customers adding the Server offering to enable collaboration and sharing. Tableau has plenty of customers with lifetime spend of more than $1 million that started with modest initial transaction sizes.

The aha moments that occur for Tableau users are really a major force behind the company’s success. Employees quickly get hooked once they see how easy it is to use and get actionable results from the software. A major new feature of the latest 9.0 release, automatic data preparation, even streamlines the process of bringing multiple raw data sources onto the platform.

The Tableau use cases are where it gets fun. With the visualization tools, an airline optimizes seat assignments on every one of its planes using a variety of variables. One customer uses Tableau in global workforce analysis, layering in data from the HR/human capital management database to find the right combination of workers needed to handle projects that require a specific skill set in particular geographic locations. An online gaming company deploys Tableau to analyze the movement of players in a virtual world, tracking the reactions to changes made to the games in real-time. A retailer blends time and weather patterns to correlate sales of specific products in various locations, mapping out the results in visual form.

Tableau plays in the $15-billion traditional BI market, often attracting users who find the legacy products too complex. Spreadsheet users represent another big pool of potential customers. Many organizations dump raw data into spreadsheets, so it only makes sense that Tableau’s visualization offerings are complementary to Microsoft Excel. While Excel has some limited analytics capabilities, Tableau enables users to really work with the data in visual form to come up with meaningful insights.

data-chartIn July, Tableau shares hit an all-time high of $131.34. However, a pullback in the overall market coupled with recent concerns about increased competition from Salesforce’s new Wave analytics offering have caused the stock to drop as much as 38% from the summer high. The market overreacted to the Wave threat, as Tableau’s technology—capable of being customized for specific industries—is much more robust, especially when it comes to visualization features. While Salesforce certainly is a formidable competitor, the company lacks Tableau’s first-mover advantage in advanced analytics.

Tableau shares at the July high had sported a big gain for the year, but are now virtually unchanged. With the stock’s sharp retreat to the mid-$80s, the risk/reward balance has become more favorable.

For 2015, Tableau expects revenue of $617 million to $627 million (growth of 50% at the midpoint). At a recent market cap of $6 billion, Tableau trades at 9.5 times the 2015 consensus revenue estimate of $631.5 million (representing growth of 53.1%) and 7 times the 2016 consensus of $860.1 million (growth of 36.2%). The most optimistic Wall Street revenue estimate for next year of $1 billion represents growth of 58.3%.

Tableau Software is a ‘Buy’ in the Next Wave Portfolio up to $92.

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