Birst Partners With Tableau To Offer Data Visualization Capability

Cloud business intelligence and analytics provider Birst has teamed up with Tableau, a BI company that specializes in data visualization. Though the two are competitors at first glance, Birst and Tableau offer "very different yet complementary solutions," Birst CEO Jay Larson says.

Together, the companies are aiming to unify data refinement and preparation with actual analysis by offering an alternative to companies still relying on business intelligence ecosystems composed of "monolithic stacks that are dying," according to Larson.

The partnership is strategic and technological, meaning that both companies have spent the last several months integrating their products to ensure a seamless handoff of data. The primary function of Birst's two-tier data platform is to map onto existing enterprise data sources to build connections and data models, but the platform also can trigger automation routines that prepare data if it is not yet analytically ready or user-ready when it arrives, Brad Peters, chief product officer at Birst, explains.

Tableau's solution can pick up where Birst leaves off, accessing the mapped, analytics-ready data through a live, in-memory connection with Birst. The live connection plays a key role in the integration and contributes to the overall agility of the solution, Peter says. "There's no need to waste time doing a data extraction, and it keeps the data consistently current," he explains. 

The live connection also preserves all data governance settings between the two solutions to ensure that data remains secure and visible only to those with proper authorization.

Once users are in the Tableau environment, they can then create whatever data visualizations they see fit using the graphing functions. "The visualization component is a significant addition to Birst's capabilities. Birst can reach across the enterprise to harness a real broad set of data, but with Tableau we’re adding visibility to that data across the organization," Peters says.

Driven by customer demand, the partnership is a reflection of the need for more balanced solutions that can quickly source, prepare, and map data as well as perform analysis and provide visualization tools. For both Birst and Tableau customers, the combination is "a breakthrough" that couldn't have come at a better time, Larson says, because traditional data stacks can no longer keep up with the needs of organizations.

"Companies are struggling to figure out what comes next. They're asking: 'is there a next-generation solution that's going to help me with more data, more data sources, and a lot more complexity?' The answer is yes, because together we're offering tools that no one company does alone right now," he adds.

Though Tableau is currently in a quiet period, and executives can’t officially make forward-looking statements, Director of Product Management and Technology Partners at Tableau Robert Green says the company is "excited" about the partnership. "We're looking forward to working with Birst and helping provide customers with tools for the data-driven culture that now exists," Green says. 

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