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Reporting Tools Revisited: Why It’s Tableau and Einstein at the Top

Things have changed! As of October 6th, 2020, Einstein Analytics has been renamed Tableau CRM. At Tableau Conference-ish, this year’s virtual Tableau conference, it was announced that Einstein Analytics would be renamed and continue to provide the best analytics and AI experience in the Salesforce CRM workflow. Read the official press release from Tableau here.

We look forward to future alignment and an even more customer-focused journey in the months to come.

When comparing reporting tools, particularly Tableau and Einstein Analytics, it can be difficult for businesses to make a strong case for one over another. There are core similarities and overlapping functionality to consider. How can you determine which one is right for your business and your specific use cases?

There are pros and cons to any tool, but for many organizations debating these two, the right answer tends to be Tableau and Einstein Analytics, not Tableau vs. Einstein Analytics. Though a lot of reporting needs could be served by either one, each tool is especially good at certain things. And for organizations looking to drive a more transformational change for their business (and a higher ROI), we need to consider more than just the pure reporting capabilities of the tools.

Combining the power of Tableau visualizations with Einstein’s predictive capabilities, and the ease with which we can now embed both within Salesforce pages, creates an unparalleled market-leading solution. But before we get into their combined capabilities, let’s look at the strengths and use cases for each tool.

Einstein Analytics and Tableau… and When Best to Use Each

Tableau: Strengths and Use Cases

Tableau tends to be the preferred tool for enterprise reporting, particularly when robust visualization capabilities are important. It allows for pixel-specific page layouts and combines that flexibility with a more robust library of visualization options than any other tool in the market. It is the clear market leader for flexibility when it comes to visualizing data.

In the past, one of the most significant benefits of Einstein Analytics was the ease with which you could embed analytics charts and dashboards directly within Salesforce Lightning pages. However, Salesforce and Tableau have recently closed this gap with the introduction of the Tableau Viz Lightning web component, which allows similar capabilities to what was previously only (easily) possible with Einstein Analytics.

For external-facing reports, Einstein Analytics requires Visualforce or Communities, while Tableau has a simple/free option. In terms of ingesting data, Tableau currently has more flexibility — though Einstein Analytics is catching up, particularly with the introduction of Data Prep and additional out-of-the-box connectors.

Lastly, Tableau offers the option for an on-premise solution, where Salesforce does not. While this has become less of a driving factor in recent years, the vast majority of the Tableau install base is still leveraging on-premise vs. the cloud-based offering, Tableau Online.

Einstein Analytics: Strengths and Use Cases

There are a few key areas in which Einstein Analytics shines over Tableau. While Tableau visualizations can now be embedded within Salesforce via the Tableau Viz Lightning web component, Einstein Analytics still has one current critical advantage: the ability to create actions directly from within embedded Einstein Analytics charts.

Einstein Analytics is typically the better choice when it comes to the time it takes to synchronize data and open dashboards. While Tableau has more robust visualization capabilities, those can come at a cost: large or complex dashboards can take tens of seconds to load, which isn’t acceptable for quick insights throughout the day.

Einstein Analytics now offers the ability to create direct SOQL queries against Salesforce objects for real-time reporting. Of course, a direct query against records not optimized for analytical reporting could have performance effects if not used judiciously, but Einstein Analytics is the better choice if there are specific real-time reporting requirements.

I Already Have One — Do I Need the Other?

With Tableau closing the gap on the ability to easily embed a dashboard within Salesforce — which used to be our #1 recommended reason for Salesforce users to choose Einstein Analytics — one has to wonder: are the benefits of each tool enough to add the other if you already have one in-house?

The Intelligent Experience Journey

If you’re limiting your evaluation to purely descriptive analytics and reporting capabilities, there’s a chance that a single tool is sufficient. But the reality is that you shouldn’t be limiting yourself to purely descriptive analytics. We need to broaden our view from pure “analytics” to what we at Atrium like to refer to as the Intelligent Experience Journey.

Along this journey/maturity curve, we see our customers driving exponential ROI as they incorporate not just descriptive analytics, but also predictive and prescriptive insights, along with actions driven from those insights.

Through this lens, suddenly Einstein Analytics becomes essential, particularly as paired with Tableau. When you factor in the ability to bring-your-own-model via Atrium’s Machine Learning Model Broker Service, and combine that with our ability to also embed those insights within a Tableau dashboard (a feature, incidentally, that is now on the Salesforce/Tableau roadmap for 2021), you begin to see a total solution that drives transformational change, and one that allows you to surface any insight — whether descriptive, predictive, or prescriptive — in whatever location a user needs it.

The Flexibility to Get the Most Value From Tableau and Einstein Analytics

Ultimately, we want to surface insights in the system people are working in rather than forcing them to go somewhere else to get answers. If they’re data-focused and primarily working in Tableau, we can surface additional predictive insights within a Tableau dashboard. If they’re salespeople spending most days in Salesforce, we can combine the best of both tools: a superior visualization from Tableau, supported by an actionable table of data from Einstein Analytics, with recommended actions and prescriptive insights from Einstein Discovery.

The combination of Tableau and Einstein gives you a complete set of tools to accelerate your organization up the Intelligent Experience Journey maturity curve, and also gives you the flexibility to leverage the perfect tool for each individual use case.

Learn more about our services and how we can help you with data-driven insights and analytics solutions.