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Tableau To Host Conference Amid Big Shift in Enterprise Sales

An object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed unless an outside force intervenes. In Tableau’s case, the outside force might simply be time.

The Seattle technology company has faced investor concerns throughout the year that its growth is slowing as it faces steeper competition and has a tough time closing large sales.

Some have attributed that to growing competition, largely from Microsoft, and a general weakness in the industry. But others think it was more a consequence of timing and typical growing pains.

Tableau, which is hosting its annual conference this week in Austin, Texas, has a new CEO, is undergoing a hunt for a new sales chief and is making a big shift in how it sells its data-visualization product to businesses.

More than 13,000 people, mostly customers, are expected to attend Tableau’s sold-out conference this week.

Customers will have the chance to see some of Tableau’s future plans, and meet with product developers.

The company has more than 50,000 customer accounts globally, including 3,600 it added in the third quarter.

The company’s stock sank by more than 50 percent in February after its earnings showed license-revenue growth had slowed, indicating that customers weren’t expanding their use of Tableau’s business-analytics software as fast as they once were.

That slowdown happened just months after Microsoft launched Power B.I., its data-analytics tool. The two events may look related, but Robert W. Baird senior research analyst Steve Ashley thinks it was largely coincidental.

“We just do not believe that that is the reason for Tableau’s slowing,” he said. “We believe 95 percent of the reason is internal execution issues.”

He is optimistic those issues can be fixed.

The company saw its revenue jump 80 percent a year for about five years, he said, an unsustainable pace.

During that skyrocketing phase, Tableau’s enterprise sales team, which sells to large companies, did…

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