In August 2019, Salesforce completed the acquisition of Tableau and marked a new milestone – their largest transaction to date. The press release summarized the event as “the world’s #1 CRM and #1 analytics platform coming together to supercharge customer’s digital transformations.” It was a big addition to the Salesforce ecosystem – $15.7 Billion big.
After the initial rush of excitement, the two organizations seemed to go back to business as usual. Tableau continued to manage their customers, networks, and community, while Salesforce maintained focus on their own. Over the last year, a lot of us in the Salesforce ecosystem have been wondering, waiting, and thinking what next…
Last week, a bit more of the roadmap and journey ahead was crystalized for those of us outside of Salesforce employ. To help kick off Tableau’s Annual Conference “TC20” (virtual in 2020 and cleverly/comically branded as Conference-ish), Salesforce announced a rebranding of their Einstein Analytics product – now known as Tableau CRM. It’s rare that Salesforce assumes the branding of another product, so this announcement certainly caught our attention. What did this mean for the future of Einstein and Tableau?
For starters, let’s get an important question out of the way – the Salesforce Einstein AI product suite is intact and our favorite Salesforce avatar, Einstein, isn’t going anywhere. Going forward, however, you’ll see a shift in branding under the Salesforce product line. All things analytics will now assume the Tableau branding, which is a tip o’ the hat to Tableau for being the market leading brand for analytics.
Along with the rebrand, the Einstein and Tableau leadership team devoted part of day #1 at TC20 to clarify their vision for Tableau CRM. If there was any strong takeaway from their message, it is that the Einstein and Tableau products are complementary in nature, and Tableau CRM will ultimately align the best of both technologies. Mark Nelson, Executive Vice President of Product Development within Tableau, shared that the goal is to keep both of products alive and enhance their strengths as these platforms are woven together.
In evaluating their strengths, the synergies between Einstein Analytics and Tableau are clear. They are both highly regarded analytics platforms. Core to the two products are data integration, preparation, and transformation capabilities. Each product is designed to empower users to explore their data, and drive action and insight and they both have robust training programs to help their user’s sharpen their skills, no matter the stage of their journey (Einstein Analytics Learning Map and Tableau Training). They both enjoy strong community engagement (Trailblazer Community and Tableau Community).
But it is the differences, not similarities, between these products that will make Tableau CRM greater than the sum of its parts.
- For one, Tableau has secured the analytics brand leader position for good reason. This platform is built for all the data-driven creatives out there. The visuals that the Tableau Community produces every day are innovative, impactful, and can be quite stunning (check out the Viz of the Day Gallery).
- While the exploration and visualization agility of Tableau raises the bar for descriptive analytics in the Salesforce ecosystem, Einstein brings predictive and prescriptive capabilities to the table. The Einstein product suite includes functionality in the areas of machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision.
- While they both have native integrations available, each tool was built with a different use case in mind. Tableau has a long list of connectors that allow their userbase to join data from disparate sources. While Einstein does support some external connections, it was optimized to interact with data in Salesforce.
Tableau CRM will feature the best of both worlds – any user will be able to leverage the power of Tableau’s viz and the artificial intelligence / machine learning of Einstein across any data source.
The process to merge these two worlds into Tableau CRM is expected to occur in three phases.
- The team is focused on equipping the Tableau user with predictive abilities from the Einstein suite. In the next year, the AI/ML functionality native to Einstein will be brought into Tableau in the form of dashboard extensions, calculations, and bulk predictions.
- The focus will shift towards making the data flow back and forth between the two platforms. That means that Tableau users will be able to access and query Salesforce datasets within Tableau, while also having the ability to write scripts back to Salesforce.
- Over time, every layer of the application will be brought together with the ultimate goal of an end-to-end seamless experience for all users.
Marc Benioff, Chairman and Co-CEO of Salesforce, projected that, “together (Einstein and Tableau) 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.” Our talented Business Analytics team at Fíonta is excited to be along for the ride with Tableau CRM and looking forward to helping you transform your world along the way. Contact us to learn more!
- TC20 Tableau and Einstein Analytics Coming Together (note: registration is required to watch, but it is open to the public.)
- Kedar Doshi – EVP, Einstein Analytics, Salesforce
- Mark Nelson – EVP, Product Development, Tableau
- Phillip Cooper – VP, Product, Einstein Analytics at Salesforce
- Alex Toussaint – VP Product Management – Einstein Analytics at Salesforce