sommai - Fotolia

Tableau doesn't confirm layoffs after Salesforce downsizing

Tableau on Wednesday declined to confirm if its employees were affected by layoffs at Salesforce, the BI and analytics vendor's parent company.

It was unclear whether layoffs at Salesforce on Wednesday also extended to Tableau Software, the BI and analytics vendor Salesforce bought last year.

Tableau was acquired by Salesforce in June 2019 for $15.7 billion and is now a subsidiary of the CRM and customer experience giant. On Aug. 26, Salesforce reportedly laid off about 1,000 of its 49,000 employees, despite reporting $5.15 billion in revenue for the second fiscal quarter of 2020, up from $4 billion for the second quarter of 2019.

Because of the strong earnings report on Tuesday, particularly noteworthy given the financial struggles of many organizations due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the layoffs came as a surprise.

"They just had a wonderful quarter, so people are wondering why they're laying off staff," said Ray Wang, founder, chairman and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

When asked whether Tableau was affected by the Salesforce layoffs, however, Tableau issued a statement that, without confirming that Tableau staff had been included in Wednesday's layoffs, suggested there have been ongoing changes within the entire Salesforce organization.

"We're reallocating resources to position the company for continued growth," the statement said. "This includes continuing to hire and redirecting some employees to fuel our strategic areas and eliminating some positions that no longer map to our business priorities. For affected employees, we are helping them find the next step in their careers, whether within our company or a new opportunity."

Since there are many overlaps between the Salesforce Einstein Discovery and Tableau products, it makes sense that the parent company may want to rationalize or right-size the two teams.
Boris EvelsonAnalyst, Forrester Research

Anonymous posts on, meanwhile, suggested there had been layoffs at Tableau, with one commenter saying most of the quality assurance team had been hit.

If there were layoffs at Tableau, analysts said it wouldn't be a shock.

Even before acquiring Tableau, Salesforce offered its own Einstein Analytics.

Because of differences between the two -- Tableau, a dominant force in the BI market, is renowned for its data visualization capabilities, while Einstein is known for its use of Augmented intelligence and machine learning -- many observers see potential for the two to complement each other. But the platforms also share common capabilities, and the common features likely mean employees are performing similar tasks.

"I have not heard anything specific [about layoffs at Tableau], but since there are many overlaps between the Salesforce Einstein Discovery and Tableau products, it makes sense that the parent company may want to rationalize or right-size the two teams," said Boris Evelson, a Forrester analyst.

A Tableau dashboard displays an organization's predicted sales information.
Tableau 2020.3, which the BI vendor rolled out in early August 2020, included new predictive modeling capabilities.

Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research, also said he hadn't heard specific details about whether Tableau was affected by Salesforce's layoffs. He noted, however, that prior to Salesforce's strong earnings report on Tuesday, which included a big jump in profit margins, its profit margins had been slipping.

"The usual response to that challenge is to cut costs," Henschen said, referring to Salesforce. "In this climate, the wrong response would be raising prices for customers."

Dig Deeper on Business intelligence technology

Data Management
Content Management