Over the years Salesforce has expanded the analytics tools and capabilities for customers to look at their data from Salesforce Operational Reporting (OR) also known as Lightning Reports & Dashboards to Tableau CRM (formerly Einstein Analytics) including Einstein Discovery and, with the latest analytics addition, Tableau. With the expansion, it can be a little difficult to evaluate what tool to use for what use case and the features you can leverage. I’ve earlier done a feature comparison in the blog Einstein Analytics vs Operations Reporting – what is the difference? While this blog still carries some relevance, it does not include the latest features and tools. Hence, this blog aims to give you the latest update. Further, it is written as a collaborative effort between Will Pitzler, Competitive Intelligence Manager at Tableau, and Liv Törnquist, Product Manager at Tableau CRM, and myself.
Objectives of the tools
The three tools OR, Tableau CRM, and Tableau all allow you to get insight into your data. However, each of the tools has its own specific sweet spot for when they will excel and make your and your users’ job easier. I am sure there are different reasons why you would choose one of these tools over another whether it’s because of licenses available, security, data source, skills, or of course personal preference. However, let’s try to uncover each tool’s sweet spot before we look at the feature comparison.
Salesforce Operational Reporting
Use operational reporting or lighting reports and dashboards for generating lists of data in your Salesforce environment, preferably data or questions that don’t change too often. Dashboards are based on your reports and show a snapshot of data at the runtime. Everybody has access to the tool by granting the right permissions. With access to Tableau CRM plus licenses, it is possible to leverage Einstein Discovery for Reports. An automated insights tool that uses ML to automatically detect patterns and highlights insights from your report data instantly.
Use Tableau CRM for strategic dashboards including advanced analytics that you want to drill into in the context of your Salesforce workflow. It’s a fast way to show data and you can slice and dice the data on the spot, so the tool is ideal if you have questions about the data and what to explore further to find the answers. You can even interact with the data behind the dashboard using actions and bulk actions. Einstein Discovery is available within Analytics Studio, it’s an AutoML product designed for Business Scientists to automatically detect patterns in your data and further provide relevant predictions to be embedded everywhere. Einstein Discovery-powered models can be deployed to score any data live such as opportunity win rate and time to close. As Tableau CRM is part of the Salesforce core data center is best suited for analytics use cases surrounding CRM data and use cases including custom build applications on the force.com platform.
The Tableau product family (Desktop, Prep, and Online/Server) solves a specific problem for their users, which in Tableau’s own words is to “See and Understand Data”. The philosophy behind Tableau is to give users the tools to connect to all kinds of data sources, transform the data if necessary, and ultimately visualize the data in dashboards or so-called “Vizzes” (visualizations).
Whenever you find yourself having to make sense of data that is primarily unrelated to Salesforce CRM, Tableau is your friend!
How do the tools work?
Now when we understand the objective for each tool, let’s have a look at what components make up each tool. It’s important to remember that each tool is aiming at specific objectives and use cases and hence works in its own way for different reasons and with different restrictions and limitations. This means that in many ways we are comparing apples and oranges but nonetheless, a comparison is interesting in understanding the components that make it possible for you to get the insight you need.
See the overview in the table below and click on the plus to expand the section for more details for each tool.
Features of the tools
When we are working tactically with analytics we often are seeking specific features and options within the tool. Below you’ll see a list of highlighted and requested features. Now, this list does by no means cover every single feature available in the tool, but it can hopefully help you evaluate how different tactical requirements to an analytics tool are addressed as well as how flexible they allow you to be with your data insight.
To make it easier to get an overview the features have been categorized into General, Data, Design, Intelligence, and Analytic Extensions. Each feature is labeled with a simple label determining if it’s possible to achieve with the given tool, however, you can click the plus to view a more detailed explanation of how the feature works.
An integrated future
At the Tableau Conference-ish in October 2020 a vision for Tableau CRM and Tableau was laid out, with the goal of bringing these two products closer together and getting the best from both worlds. While not all details of how this integration will look like, the vision included:
- Letting Tableau to query Tableau CRM datasets
- Letting Tableau CRM write to Tableau
- Letting Tableau Prep write to Tableau CRM
- Leverage Einstein Discovery within Tableau
With these announcements, it is clear that customers of both Tableau and Tableau CRM (whether you have one or the other or both) need to keep an eye on releases to see how to further benefit from the products. Check out the blog post that was released about the future vision to see more details.
If you think it’s time to skill up on your analytics whether it being Salesforce Operational reporting, Tableau CRM, or Tableau your best first option is, of course, Trailhead. You will find many modules, trails, and superbadges to get you going on all the features and possibilities. If you want a deeper dive into:
Please add a comment if you have feedback or additional features to include in this comparison.