After a less than impressive performance last quarter, data analytics firm Tableau (NYSE: DATA) reported stellar results for the recently reported quarter. The company continues to focus on driving product innovation to help surpass market competition.
Tableau’s Q4 revenues grew 24% over the year to $250 million, surpassing the Street’s forecast of $230 million. Loss per share of $0.28 was also significantly better than the market’s projected loss of $0.37 per share. Earnings adjusted for one-time expenses came in at $0.26 per share compared with the Street’s forecast of $0.18 per share.
By segment, license revenues grew 14% to $152.2 million. It added 4,000 new customers during the quarter. Maintenance and Services revenues grew 41% to $98.4 million.
Tableau ended the year with revenues growing 27% to $826.9 million. It reported a loss of $144.4 million, or $1.92 per share. Losses have increased from $83.7 million a year ago due to investments in sales and marketing and R&D efforts. Sales and marketing spend for the year increased 34% to $135.9 million and R&D spend increased 48% over the year to $79 million.
For the current quarter, Tableau forecast revenues of $195 million-$205 million. It projected a non-GAAP operating loss of $9 million-$17 million, translating to a loss of $0.15-$0.09 per share. The market had forecast revenues of $191.9 million for the quarter with a loss of $0.04 per share.
Tableau expects to end the current year with revenues of $850 million-$890 million and an EPS of breakeven to $0.14. The Street was looking for revenues of $863.4 million with an EPS of $0.14 for the year.
Tableau’s Growth Strategy
Tableau has been focusing on driving customer adoption within organizations through product innovation. To drive enterprise adoption, Tableau announced the launch of new data connectors including JSON, Anaplan, Eloqua, and Marketo. The integration will help attract more organizations to leverage Tableau’s BI capabilities as organizations will be able to get secure and instant connection, with no additional development. Additionally, the integration will make it easier for administrators to govern data by monitoring usage and managing permissions and version control. Also, the strategy of building a broad array of connectors into various third-party software is a very good move. The broader that portfolio becomes, the more intensive the usage is going to be, and the more entrenched Tableau will become in its customer base.
Tableau also announced that its software-as-a-service product Tableau Online is available to deploy via Amazon Web Services. Tableau is now available for deployment on multiple platforms including Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud. With Tableau Online, customers can connect and analyze live or extracted data from multiple on-premise databases, including Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle; from cloud data warehouses such as Amazon Redshift, and from other web applications such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, and data from Google Sheets.
Other product developments include the building of a new kind of in-memory data engine for the analytics era. It is integrating its earlier acquired technology of Hyper to bring faster analytics on its technology platform by giving users the ability to simultaneously process transactional and analytical query on large data set without compromising performance. It is also working on Project Maestro, a new product that will simplify visual data preparation and help bring it to the masses.
Tableau is convinced that these measures will help it fight off the increasing competition from Microsoft’s Power BI. Microsoft’s Power BI has significant advantage over Tableau due to its cost and the ability to plug-in seamlessly with MS Office. It has extensive R and Big Data-related integrations that ensures scalability for larger projects. Tableau surpasses Power BI in its visualization capability and has consistently ranked as the leader in intelligence visualizations which is why I think that it would make a good acquisition target for Microsoft.
Tableau’s stock is trading at $54.12 with a market capitalization of $4.72 billion. It had fallen to a 52-week low of $36.60 in February last year. It had reached a 52-week high of $62.53 in August last year.
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