Data Economy

The guy who wants you to be as powerful as IBM

Bringing big data to the masses
Bringing big data to the masses

Digital information is growing at an unfathomable rate, but it tends to concentrate in the hands of the tech sector's mighty—and far from your fingertips.

Four of the biggest players in the game—IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP—have collectively spent some $15 billion to snatch up big data start-ups. It appears to be worth the investment—big data is a $100 billion industry with a growth rate of nearly 10 percent a year.

One company that wasn't selling: Tableau Software. It views the entrenched tech sector players in a different light.

"This industry is populated by slow-moving, complicated platforms—like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle—and people are fed up with them and want an 'Apple or Google' of big data," said Christian Chabot, Tableau's CEO and co-founder.

According to SAP, 75 percent of the entire world's information was stored in nondigital formats such as paper and film in the year 2000. Today, it's less than 2 percent. IBM claims that 90 percent of the world's data were created in the last two years.

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As the world's data keep getting bigger it takes massive infrastructure, resources and dollars to make sense of it all. So it's no surprise that for years tech giants have dominated the space. They have been able to create their own big data systems, snatch up innovate start-ups and ultimately position themselves to be the middlemen for client needs.

Tableau prefers the client to be anyone and everyone.

"We are gearing our products to masses who have been held back in the big data space," Chabot said. "It can and will improve life for people who interact with data. Right now you need specialists and obscure programs to derive meaning from data. We have pioneered an easy-to-use platform for everyone to harness the power of data."

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So far, Tableau's mission and business model is working—the company went public on May 17, opening at $47 per share. Four months later, its shares are up 57 percent at $74 and its first post-IPO earnings report showed a revenue increase of 71 percent year over year in the second quarter.

Chabot thinks big data is on its way to democratization, in the same way the Internet trickled down to the everyday user and out of the exclusive hands of large universities and corporations.

Chabot believes that scaling down data analysis for small businesses and consumers will be a game-changer in the way we live—allowing for improvements in education, medicine and even expanding participation in the democratic process.

Tableau estimates that we are about a decade away from when every person will have the ability to surf big data in the same way they can surf the net these days. Until then, tech giants will still be leading the pack and growing their investment and technology in the data space, but you're poised to catch up.

By Anthony Volastro, CNBC segment producer.