Salesforce snaps up Narrative Science in analytics push

Salesforce has announced that it has acquired the data storytelling company and Tableau partner Narrative Science for an undisclosed sum.

For those unfamiliar, Narrative Science's journey started a decade ago with the simple mission “to help everyone understand and act on data through the power of data storytelling”.

In addition to being some of the best in the industry, the company's natural language capabilities automate the analysis, build and communication of insights from data in a modern, narrative format that's easier for people to understand.

By integrating Narrative Science with Tableau, Salesforce aims to scale this capability across its entire ecosystem and help customers deliver data insights to even more people in the form of easy-to-understand stories.

Narrative data storytelling 

Salesforce's acquisition of Narrative Science comes at a time when data has never been more important with many companies accelerating their digital transformation efforts due to the pandemic.

In an increasingly digital-first world, more data is being created than ever before. According to a recent IDC Study, over 64 zettabytes of data were generated in 2020 and global data creation and replication is set to grow by 23 percent through 2025. While organizations now have more data, analytic capabilities like those offered by Narrative Sciences and Tableau, allow them to find and use insights from their data to drive the success of their business. 

In a new blog post, Tableau president and CEO Mark Nelson points out that one of the easiest ways for organizations to become data driven is to incorporate narrative data storytelling. According to Gartner, data stories “will be the most widespread way of consuming analytics” by 2025 and “75% of stories will be automatically generated using augmented analytics techniques”.

Salesforce will be able to reach millions of more people who are underserved with data and help close the data literacy gap by bringing Narrative Science and its award-winning AI to Tableau.

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Salesforce now has two co-CEOs once again

Salesforce has adopted a new co-CEO leadership model. Almost two years after co-founder and current CEO Marc Benioff took sole leadership, he will soon be joined by Bret Taylor, the company announced.

The decision is effective immediately, with Taylor, who has been the company’s COO and president since 2019, also promoted to vice chairman of the Board.

However according to The Information, an internal Slack message from Benioff to employees noted that Taylor will still report to the company's co-founder.

“Bret is a phenomenal industry leader who has been instrumental in creating incredible success for our customers and driving innovation throughout our company. He has been my trusted friend for years, and I couldn't be happier to welcome him as Co-CEO,” Benioff said. 

“We're in a new world and Salesforce has never been more relevant or strategic for our customers. Together, Bret and I will lead Salesforce through our next chapter, while living our shared values of trust, customer success, innovation and equality for all.”

Back to co-CEOs

Having two CEOs is nothing new for the CRM giant, as until late February 2020, Benioff was sharing the position with Keith Block, who joined the company from Oracle as President and Vice Chairman back in 2013. 

Block became operating chief in 2016, and was promoted to co-CEO in August 2018. After leaving the position in 2020, he remained as an advisor for a year. 

Discussing the modus operandi in 2019, Benioff told CNBC that Block helped him create a “divide and conquer” strategy, as well as free up some of his time. CNBC reminds that after elevating Block, Benioff took two weeks to focus on Proposition C, a legislation that aimed to solve the problem of homelessness in San Francisco. 

Salesforce also published its financial results for the third quarter of the year, beating analyst estimates. Benioff said the company is aiming for $ 50 billion in revenue, in FY26.

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $ 1.27, beating analyst estimates of $ 0.92 per share. Q3 revenue was $ 6.86 billion, representing a 27% increase compared to the same period last year, while analysts expected $ 6.8 billion.

The company’s Board of Directors also has two new members: Laura Alber (President and CEO of Williams-Sonoma), and Oscar Munoz, former United Airlines Chairman and CEO.

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