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Tableau CRM vs. Tableau vs. Einstein

By 06.28.21
Reading time: 4 minutes

The foundation of any great customer experience?


Salesforce has always been a best-in-class CRM, with industry-specific solutions like Health Cloud and Financial Services Cloud. But one of their biggest value propositions is bringing more data to more people in an organization.

As Salesforce continues to expand, it can be challenging to keep up with their new tools and products. We’ve heard from plenty of our clients who are confused about some of Salesforce’s new changes with Tableau, TableauCRM, and Einstein Analytics…so let’s break all of that down.

Salesforce acquires Tableau in 2019

Let’s back up for a second.

Salesforce acquired Tableau in 2019, bringing another level of data analytics into the Salesforce ecosystem. With this acquisition, Salesforce has not one, not two, but six different places you could potentially measure data from, depending on your product packages. 

This includes:

  • Reporting and dashboards
  • Einstein Analytics
  • Cloud-specific analytics, like Pardot or Marketing Cloud
  • Datorama

So why add Tableau to the mix? As one of the market leaders in user-friendly analytics, it made logical sense. The product offers expansive data and analytics features, especially with visualization. For a sense of the logic behind the acquisition (the third analytics M&A conducted by Salesforce over a period of six years), here’s what Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce, said in a press release:

“Tableau is an extraordinary company, with an amazing product and team and an incredibly passionate community. Together we can transform the way people understand not only their customers, but their whole world—delivering powerful AI-driven insights across all types of data and use cases for people of every skill level.”

I bolded the last sentence because that’s the key value proposition that Tableau brings to Salesforce, unlocking every type of data for users regardless of whether or not they have a data science degree.

Salesforce renames Einstein Analytics to Tableau CRM

Here’s where it gets a little more confusing: After a year behind the scenes, Salesforce renamed Einstein Analytics, Salesforce’s natively embedded predictive analytics tool, to Tableau CRM. (Update: Einstein Analytics/Tableau CRM was renamed to “CRM Analytics” in April of 2022)

There’s usually several reasons for a gigantic company like Salesforce to make a major acquisition, from knocking out the competition to gaining access to a proprietary piece of technology. Making the decision to bring the two teams together means Salesforce is incorporating more Tableau features into the old Einstein ecosystem, which should make it more accessible and easier to use. Here’s what Adam Selipsky, President and CEO of Tableau, said in an announcement:

“The events of 2020 accelerated the need for companies to adapt to an all-digital, work from anywhere world and empower everyone to make better decisions faster. By bringing together the Tableau and Einstein Analytics teams earlier this year, and tapping into the power of the overall Salesforce ecosystem, we are putting rocket boosters on our innovation and accelerating our mission to help people see and understand data.”

That means all the Einstein features you know and love, like predictive analytics, automatic recommendations, and lead scoring are all now a part of Tableau CRM. The main benefit of Tableau CRM is that it’s already built into the Salesforce ecosystem, making it easy to intake, sort, and visualize both internal and external data. Anything that’s already in Salesforce can be fuel for data visualizations and predictive analytics.

Salesforce hasn’t yet announced any specific changes or features for Tableau CRM. So right now, all that’s changed is the name.

Tableau remains stand alone… for now

Tableau remains outside the Salesforce ecosystem at the moment. What is changing is what Tableau looks like. Salesforce and Tableau announced a series of product integrations to bring both the products closer together. 

Tableau users now have access to real-time predictive modeling and recommendations capabilities, for example, which was a hallmark of Einstein Discovery (now Tableau CRM). This also includes general integration features, like data preparation capabilities to read and write to both Tableau and Tableau CRM, and ensure content portability and connection between the two products.

That means if you already have Tableau and Salesforce, you don’t have to abandon your Tableau data in favor of Tableau CRM just yet. (Though I predict it won’t be long before Salesforce continues to consolidate the two products.) 

Tableau vs. Tableau CRM: What’s the difference?

So, what’s the difference between Tableau and Tableau CRM? The biggest difference is that Tableau remains outside the overall Salesforce ecosystem, while Tableau CRM is a direct add-on you can purchase on top of any Salesforce software.

According to Salesforce’s own FAQs, choosing to use one over the other depends on your users. Ask yourself: Where do your users need to see their insights? 

  • Use Tableau if you need an end-to-end analytics platform for a wide variety of enterprise use cases outside of Salesforce. If you need business intelligence across the entire organization, separate from Salesforce capabilities, then go with Tableau.
  • But for your Salesforce users, Tableau CRM is the right choice. This will give you deeply integrated insights throughout your Salesforce software that augments Sales Cloud, Financial Services Cloud, or Health Cloud to drive more productivity and data-driven decision-making.

Silverline Helps You Keep Up with Salesforce

As a trusted partner since 2009, Silverline has more than 10+ years of experience working on financial services and healthcare projects. Whether you’re new to digital transformation and data obsession or you need to jumpstart your existing journey map, Silverline has best practices to help you navigate your route. Let us help you implement better data for your organization.

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