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Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky speaks at Tableau Conference 2016. (Tableau Software Photo.)

Tableau Software overhauled its subscription pricing structure, offering several different packages of its data visualization products to gain a stronger foothold among big companies.

These options replace Tableau’s current subscription pricing, first established last year in the midst of moving away from a perpetual license system. Here’s a look at the new offerings, which are meant to give users a variety of options to choose from:

  • Tableau Creator offers Tableau’s full capabilities. This version is meant for the high-powered user who is creating the data and sharing it with others. This tier costs $70 per month per user.
  • Tableau Explorer, priced at $35, lets users explore data, create their own dashboards and set up alerts and subscriptions.
  • Tableau Viewer is the clearest example among the new offerings of an enterprise focused approach. It requires a minimum of 100 users, and it costs $12 per user per month. Tableau Viewer is mainly for people to view and follow data and visualizations created by others.

In an interview with GeekWire, Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky emphasized the importance of a variety of subscription options that can be tailored to a big company’s breadth of employees, as we enter what he called the “age of ubiquity of data analytics.” At the same time, not everyone needs the full power of Tableau to get their work done, creating an opening for the lower cost, stripped down options.

“A one size fits all approach does not work for something that is fundamental, that so many people in the organization need to do in order to do their jobs well, so we needed to keep pushing the envelop in terms of creating tailored offerings which allow sophisticated analysts to be even more sophisticated and allow casual users to enter the age of analytics as well,” Selipsky said.

Tableau Prep in action. (Tableau Photo)

In addition to these new subscription options, Tableau announced a new product called Tableau Prep that aims to simplify the process of data preparation, which involves collecting and standardizing data and then consolidating it down into a single file or table so that it can be analyzed.

In its announcement, Tableau cited a Harvard Business Review article reporting that people working on data analysis spent 80 percent of their time cleaning and shaping data and only 20 percent of their time actually analyzing it. Tableau Prep aims to flip that ratio on its head by taking menial but time-consuming tasks like standardizing punctuation across a data set and turning it into a single-click action.

The switch from perpetual licenses to subscriptions has been the biggest change at Tableau during Selipsky’s time as the chief executive. Selipsky reflected on the change, which dates back about 18 months, saying it is less risky for customers, who can cancel if they don’t use the services, and for the company as it keeps everyone on their toes.

“I like the fact that customers can walk away from us if they want to,” Selipsky said. “It will make us a better vendor at the end of the day. It will sharpen our focus every day and cause us to keep remembering we have to push the envelope on doing new and better things to make sure customers are highly successful in deploying, adopting and managing Tableau, so that when we get to renewal time it’s an administrative exercise not a decision.”

So far, Tableau’s shift to subscription products has been effective. After some tough times in 2015 and 2016, Tableau’s stock lost two-thirds of its value. But in the last 12 months, shares have risen 57 percent. In 2017, subscription revenue rose 235 percent over the previous year.

The new subscription pricing structure is part of a broader mission of evolving from “being a beloved tool to a mission-critical enterprise technology platform,” Selipsky said. And getting to that point takes a lot more work than just deciding to focus on big companies.

Appealing to every part of big organizations takes top-to-bottom commitment from Tableau, Selipsky said. To become an important enterprise tool, not only does Tableau have to offer a great product, it also must be safe and secure in order to earn buyin from security and IT teams.

“That’s one thing I have tried to bring extreme focus on to the company; we have to get enterprise ready in all of those areas across the company,” Selipsky said. “It’s hard, it’s multi-year and you have to apply continual energy to it for an extended period of time.”

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