Practically every part of your company generates business data that can be analyzed to optimize your operations. But with the myriad of analytics tools to choose from these days, it can be difficult to figure out what will work best for your organization. Luckily, if you use Salesforce, you’ve got an inside track on two of the most powerful analytics tools on the market: Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Tableau (which the CRM giant acquired in 2019). 

If you’re a Salesforce customer, you might be wondering, “What is the difference between Einstein Analytics and Tableau?” (Not to mention, “How do I know what is the best tool for my organization?”) Now, the bad news is that there’s no definitive answer that will work for everyone—it really depends on your specific needs. The good news is that we’ve broken down some of the differences between Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Tableau so that you can better make this important decision.

Let’s get started. 

What is Salesforce Einstein Analytics?

Salesforce Einstein Analytics (formerly known as Salesforce Wave Analytics) is a purely cloud-based analytics platform that connects data from multiple sources, including a live integration with Salesforce. Einstein Analytics allows you to create and view visual analytics, as well as take action on the data right within the platform. Einstein Analytics is also native to the Salesforce platform and comes with different industry and role-specific apps and templates, making it an ideal way to share insights to business users so that they can act on relevant data right away. 

Einstein Analytics is optimized for use within Salesforce’s expansive ecosystem of existing CRM applications. This enables users to take a unified approach to interpreting internal and external data. Thanks to this, Einstein Analytics provides users with thorough insights and information. Salesforce’s users benefit by being able to get insights when they require them, all in one place. Additionally, Einstein Analytics has AI/machine learning compatibility that makes it possible for organizations to create accurate predictive models that help them transform data insights into actionable plans.

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What is Tableau?

There’s plenty we could say about Tableau, as it’s been around in one form or another since 2003, but the short version is that Tableau is an incredibly powerful analytics platform that can be deployed in the cloud or on-prem. It allows users to integrate data from a variety of sources with little to no IT assistance. One major reason business users love Tableau is that it allows them to take data from anywhere and build interactive visualizations with just a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Tableau’s platform offers users expansive data exploration and easy-to-use visualizations that are able to use data from multiple sources. Tableau uses a proprietary technology, VizQL, that interprets and translates the user’s actions into interactive visualizations. These visualizations allow users to explore their data and answer any questions they have. Tableau’s platform helps data become more accessible to users by ensuring that anyone can gain insights from it, regardless of their technical level of expertise.

Face-off: Einstein Analytics vs. Tableau 

Both Einstein Analytics and Tableau give organizations the ability to understand their data better and have a lot of similar capabilities. However, Tableau has filled a competitive gap for Salesforce that Einstein Analytics simply hasn’t. While users primarily take advantage of Einstein Analytics for their CRM-centric analytics needs, Tableau is able to tackle a broader range of data. 

If you’re trying to decide between both tools, ask yourself these questions: 

From Einstein Analytics to Tableau CRM

Following the acquisition of Tableau in 2019, Salesforce renamed its own Einstein Analytics to Tableau CRM. After bringing their two teams together, Salesforce started to merge Tableau’s features into the preexisting Einstein Analytics ecosystem. Salesforce’s Tableau CRM combined helpful features of each into one platform to make them accessible and easy to navigate. 

In an announcement following the merging of the two, Adam Selipsky, President and CEO of Tableau, stated that 2020 “accelerated the need for companies to adapt to an all-digital, work from anywhere world and empower everyone to make better decisions faster.” Accomplishing this meant combining all of Einstein’s intuitive features, such as predictive analytics and automatic recommendation scoring, with Tableau’s platform.

Since Tableau CRM is already featured within Salesforce, it is even easier to intake, sort, and visualize both internal and external information with the platform. Tableau CRM can use any information and data already stored in Salesforce to create more accurate predictive analyses and detailed data visualizations. In April 2022, Tableau CRM was again renamed to “CRM Analytics.”

Where does the majority of my data live?

If you’re only planning on analyzing Salesforce data, Einstein Analytics would probably make the most sense for you. However, if you need to analyze information that is coming from all over the place, Tableau will give your users more options.

Tableau features an end-to-end analytics platform for use cases that take place outside of Salesforce’s suite of CRM tools. For enterprises that require business intelligence on a company-wide scale outside of Salesforce’s features and capabilities, Tableau may be a better choice.

Where will my users spend most of their time? 

If your workforce lives and breathes Salesforce, consider Einstein Analytics. On the other hand, if your org thinks of Salesforce as merely a “sometimes tool,” you might be better served by going with Tableau.

If your organization primarily uses Salesforce and you’d prefer to keep everything housed within that ecosystem, consider integrating Tableau CRM. Tableau CRM will give your Salesforce users integrated insights through the rest of the platform’s tools and features. With Tableau CRM, users can gain deeper insights from Salesforce software like Sales Cloud, Financial Services Cloud, or Health Cloud. 

Could we benefit from using both Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Tableau?

Given their unique strengths and capabilities, some organizations find that using both tools makes the most sense for their needs. Einstein Analytics, for example, can provide predictive and machine learning capabilities that you can integrate with your Tableau dashboards. (And if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of integrating Salesforce and Tableau, have we got the article for you…) You may find that your organization could be best served by using both Einstein Analytics and Tableau.

So, What Tool Should You Choose?

Now that we’ve gone over some of the features and differences between Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Tableau, it’s time for you to choose between them. Whichever way you decide to go, take heart that both applications are part of the Salesforce family. That means you can look forward to getting the latest innovations and capabilities as they become available. 

You may find that you’re still not sure which tool to choose, and that’s perfectly understandable. Luckily for you, our senior-level Salesforce consulting team can help you decide whether Einstein Analytics or Tableau (or both) would be best for your organization, as well as getting your team up and running on them.

If you’re ready to start transforming your data practices, contact us today to learn more.