I am a terrible stock-picker.  Trust me, my portfolio returns lag the general market. If you read about a stock on this consulting blog – just look the other way. I am writing about it because management consultants need to understand how the capital markets, annual reports, investor relations presentations, and investment research work. If you can learn a thing or two – AND make your own good financial decision – great.

I am a big believer in Tableau (DATA). This is leading data visualization company – based in Seattle – which makes Excel charts look childish. It is the easiest and fastest way to portray data, and honestly, is a consultants’ best friend. Wrote about it here, and many consulting firms are wholesale embracing it, including Deloitte here.  If you have any questions, look at linkedin.com and you will see several job openings:

Consultantsmind - Tableau Consultant

Bought stock too high. I bought shares in DATA about 3 months ago, and it quickly lost value. All I can say is “#$^@ – not the savviest stock picker. It dropped 20% with all the market turmoil. Nothing really changed with the story – so held on to it.

Stock bounded back 20%. On Friday, DATA announced strong growth and beat Wall Street estimates on both revenue and profits here. Looks like I am back at break-even.

  • Q3 revenue grew to $170.8 million, up 64% year over year.
  • Q3 earnings were 14 cents a share up from 6 cents a share last year

Consultantsmind - DATA stockListened to the webcast here.  If you are passionate about an investment, gotta listen to the CEO and CFO talking to Wall Street. Do the due diligence. Do the studying.

A few of my takeaways:

  • Macro-trend: There is a secular trend towards more democratized, self-service business analytics. Data is clearly the asset, and the more people in the organization who can “play with the data” the smarter you are making yourself.
  • Collaborating with large consulting integrators: This change in data strategy is also a culture change. They are tying up with Deloitte, Accenture, and other system integrators to help create this change.
  • Start of the good part of the S-curve. There is a market progression from 1) skepticism to 2) selective use to 3) rapid scaling. Currently at start of #3.
  • Social proof. They have A-list clients like Credit Suisse, Target, Disney, Comcast, Google, PepsiCo, DP, Consolidated Edison, Electronic Arts etc. . .
  • Data continues to be a distributed mess for most companies.  Rarely will a company buy Tableau for 1 use case. Too often, companies have their data all over the place (Oracle, Hadoop, MySQl, Amazon RedShift)
  • Grow, grow. Revenue, expenses, R&D spend all 50%+ YoY growth
  • Top of mind. Completely happy to compete against free (e.g., QlikSense) because DATA has more functionality (analytics platform), more connectivity (mobile, cloud), and product development (DATA is version 9 vs. QlikSense v2)
  • Winning wallet share. Once a company uses Tableau, they end up buying more licenses; there were 12 companies who spent $1M+ in Q3 alone.  Most ever.
  • Growing Internationally. This is not a geographic or industry-dependent story.
  • Solid management. You can tell from the discussion – the founders have passion, a strong sense of the market, and vision to where this is going

Acquisition? Jim Cramer mentioned here last week that Tableau is the kind of company that IBM would acquire, as they are trying to claim the BIG DATA analytics as their space.

Caveat – as I mentioned early – this is not advice to buy/sell stocks. It’s a free blog and this is just a discussion of my own investments and thinking. Do great work at the client, save money, and be careful with stocks. It’s an easy way to lose money.

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