When Apache Hadoop burst onto the scene, it changed the game not only for batch processing and data storage, but also for analytics. Tableau was one of the first visual analytics companies to support Hadoop, and now it’s feeling a similar tug from Apache Spark and the streaming revolution.

Dustin Smith, product marketing manager at Tableau, said the current enterprise interest in Spark mirrors the original interest in Hadoop.

(Related: Tableau news out of Strata + Hadoop World)

“Hadoop turned out to really change the game in a lot of ways; people understand that now,” he said.

“What does that mean for Spark and streaming? What could be possible there? We want to see what people are going to do with Spark.”

Smith added that when companies ask Tableau about stream processing, his team typically responds with questions of their own.

“In this conversation about streaming, we always come back to the question of what problem are you trying to solve with streaming,” he said. “Is it monitoring? Split-second decision-making? Is it about historical data? When you ask that question, you find myriad responses. Our goal is to take a look at all of those and see how we can enable as many as possible.”

We caught up with Smith at the annual Salesforce Dreamforce conference, where there were also myriad analytics solutions on display.

Of the increased competition, said Smith, “What we discovered a long time ago—and this is still the case today—is that the real value in sales data or Salesforce data is having that data plus everything else. How is that mashed together with social media? How about data in your e-mail systems? Financial data? Insert any number of data sources, big and small, old and new.”

Dreamforce continues for the rest of this week in San Francisco.