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Tableau guns for European growth, claiming economic woes favor cheaper analytics

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Although it seems to have stabilized somewhat in recent weeks, Europe’s economic crisis is far from resolved. And, according to Tableau Software‘s new chief for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the resulting austerity means an opening for the sort of business intelligence services that the company provides.

Tableau EMEA VP James EiloartJames Eiloart started in his post on Monday, with expansion in the region being his primary goal. He was previously at Alterian, where he spent nine years building that company’s cloud-based marketing business in EMEA. Now he’s on the data warpath. He told me:

“Tableau has been in Europe only for a year or so. We started relatively small, but Tableau has established an interesting foothold in Europe. It’s quite clear that Tableau sees real market demand in Europe, in the same way as we’ve seen market demand in the US … In some ways, the European economies make those problems exacerbated.

“We get a sense that, when the belt is being pulled in tight, finding affordable technology that helps you make business decisions becomes a higher priority.”

It goes without saying that Tableau ranks pretty highly when it comes to data visualization: after all, the company counts Apple(s aapl), Skype(s msft) and eBay(s ebay) among its customers, and it’s also gained exposure through usage by the likes of data-happy journalistic outlets such as The Guardian.

However, it’s not as though Europe doesn’t have its own big data and BI players, notably Germany’s SAP(s sapa). Here, Eiloart touted Tableau’s targeting of the business rather than IT professional as a differentiator, along with the fact that Tableau scales down to more small-time organizations.

“I think the vast majority of traditional competitors tend to be pretty complicated,” he claimed. “They also tend to be quite expensive, and organizations don’t want to invest huge amounts of money. They want to buy tech in a small way, then if it’s providing value, they will spend more.”

In terms of specific expansion plans, Eiloart said more information will come out around the time of Tableau’s March release of version 8, which will bring features suited to larger-scale enterprise deployments — according to Eiloart, some large customers are hitting scalability issues, so this should fix that.