Francesca, thanks for the feedback. All very insightful questions. I feel like at this point, their competitive advantage is the intuitive way to build visualizations and good data compression ability. But as you mentioned, their competitors are indeed cheaper. The only way for Tableau ahead will be to continue to differentiate themselves as having the superior since they are unlikely to want to get into a price war. More than partnering with software vendors, I feel like they can partner with companies directly. This would use the Microsoft office model of distribution. Even office does not come embedded with Windows since it would increase its price significantly and users who need just windows will not buy that product. Plus I think Tableau would prefer a subscription model vs a one time fee to avoid the sticker shock and have an ongoing source of revenue.
I believe as they scale, they’ll need to ensure that there is significant focus on data security. Companies will drop it in a heartbeat if it ever gets hacked. Also, I think they can continue to innovate by looking into incorporating Artificial Intelligence, which will keep getting better as they collect more and more data.
Thanks, SJ. I think at the beginning their fastest growing segment was desktop but that is has since evolved to server (cloud). Even at Amazon, we first bought a few hundred desktop licenses and gave it only to Subject Matter Experts on each team. Once it found wide spread acceptance across teams and more people saw the value, leadership started requesting for additional server licenses. This type of licenses is more for people that do not want to build reports but actually just pull it up online and make small tweaks to get what they are more specifically looking for.
Agree with you that Tableau is well positioned to grow in the next 3-5 years. But they are also in an extremely competitive space and they need to keep the innovation at high levels to capture market share that is extremely crowded with competition.
Gerritt, thanks for the feedback. Clearly, you know the tool well. I think that they are an evolving company and have improved features significantly. The fact that they can convert numbers to so many different types of visualizations allows you to share a report with a large audience which will not be able to parse through all that information. Also, in most cases, the exceptions are easy to spot and deep dive. Data security is certainly a concern, but till Tableau has built significant credibility, there are workarounds. Since Amazon has so much customer data, they were paranoid about compromising it. Tableau is not allowed to connect to any of the databases and they can only connect to text file data dumps in Amazon’s Eco-system.
Kathy, appreciate the feedback. I had very similar experiences with Tableau at the beginning. That kept evolving and version 8.3 was much better than anything in the 7 series. By 9, it had evolved quite a bit. You do bring up a fair point about there being many lower priced competitors. Currently, I think their competitive advantage is their ability to compress data. Large amounts of data are compressed to a very small file size which makes them easier to manage. That said, any competitor that can build a better compression algorithm will win in the long run. In the world of big data, compression is going to be the biggest edge.
Tami, having grown up in India, Amul really was an integral part of our daily diet. And the legend of Verghese Kurien is well known. I think this write up provides some really good insight into operations of Amul. And I really like that you mentioned the Social advertising, since that was something we all used to really enjoy. Only suggestion I had in here was that it missed a mention of ‘The White Revolution’, which is so critical when you speak about Amul. That was the phase that converted India from a milk deficient nation to a milk surplus nation, eventually going on to become the largest producer of milk in the world. For a country of a billion plus people, for one organization to turn things around that way is no mean feat.
Kevin, I’d definitely heard about we chat being an all purpose app. This was a great post that provides insight into all that they’ve achieved. And I think you hit the nail on the head with they need to be very careful with their monetization strategy. I was wondering if you ever did research into why they have not expanded to a have a more global presence. Is it a language barrier or a partnership challenge.?
Anh, this is a good review, specially for someone who has not worked at Amazon. You have noted a couple of nuances that have not widely been reported, like amazon developing their own truck fleet. Having worked there, I believe the below two points are mostly incorrect (or maybe you can point me to your sources)
1) The number of warehouses (or Fulfillment centers) that Amazon operated in the US should be closer to 60. They had 56 while I was working there and they normally expand by 3-4 a year.
2) They don’t really use grouping while putting away items. Amazon actually use random stow and a propriety pick algorithm that optimizes on multiple criteria many times each day. The only stow criteria that they actually use is based on bin size, value of item (high value items are put in secure locations) and frequency of ordering.