Building a dream team: All-star analytics with Salesforce, Einstein, and Tableau

Jess Minton
Apr 28, 2020 · 6 min read

Put quality data and great analytics at the heart of all decision-making in Salesforce with Einstein and Tableau. Learn how to maximize your investments and integrate each key player as you build your own dream team.

In 1992, the United States fielded its Olympic Men’s Basketball team with active professional athletes for the first time in modern Olympic history. Some of the sport’s greatest all-time players — Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson — competed as teammates. It’s a team that went down in history as the Dream Team — and it represents the immense power that comes from bringing skills together, even on the largest stage.

Fast-forward to 2019 and we witnessed Salesforce acquiring Tableau, giving us the chance to field one version of our own analytics dream team. We’re embracing this exciting moment to bring a winning combination of technologies, data, and people together by working with two of our most strategic partners — Salesforce and Tableau. Our vision is as ambitious as a coveted gold medal: to put good quality data and great analytics at the heart of all decision-making on the Salesforce platform.

Move toward a Modern Culture of Data

In traditional BI, reports are the end of the line. A more modern approach makes data part of a working cycle where actions in Salesforce can create data, that data informs actions, and so on.

Whether from Einstein’s data-driven recommendations or from intuitive Tableau dashboards, innovative uses of this platform can shift customers from simply understanding information — “How are my accounts doing?” — to seeing insights and taking action — “Which customer should I call next?”

Create a seamless user experience

Einstein, native to the Salesforce platform, provides part of that smooth experience and suggests actions, with benefits like seamless embedding, and integration of contextual conversation and data annotation. Tableau can also drive actions inside Salesforce, and has the potential to integrate with Einstein too. The use case is key: Even though implementing a smooth solution using Tableau with Salesforce may be more nuanced since embedding Tableau isn’t turnkey (at least for now), the right solution will pay off when customers can focus on outcomes because they are served the right information where they need it.

Play to your strengths

Einstein offers no code Automated Intelligence, a powerful engine that can use machine learning techniques to find patterns in masses of data with the push of a button. Its predictive analytics capabilities generate simple predictions, all with integrated metadata with security. Users can follow Einstein’s recommendations, making it easy to act on important insights.

If marketers are the main audience, and especially if the analysis involves many marketing sources outside of Salesforce, it’s worth bringing Datorama into the fold as well. Its built-in connectors allow marketers to integrate data from most common marketing technologies for a holistic view of marketing intelligence, a particularly difficult challenge in the marketing space. It’s also complementary to Tableau: business users will be able to marry their marketing data to other enterprise data with a soon-to-be-released Datorama / Tableau connector.

For other situations, Tableau provides a best-in-class visualization and storytelling platform, that allows users to easily see and understand data. It’s great at connecting to many different data sources, enabling users to easily explore that data visually and to ask and answer questions at the speed of thought. With the Tableau Extensions API, Tableau can interact directly with Salesforce, making Tableau dashboards actionable as well.

Bring it together

So, when thinking about Einstein and/or Tableau within Salesforce, how do you know who to put in the game? Consider:

  • What platforms are currently in use? What tools give people confidence in using data?
  • How should behavior change when people have a better understanding of their data? What functionality should the tools provide to make that happen?
  • Where is the data coming from and where will it be stored?
  • What security protocols are in place?
  • What challenges will the organization face when making this change?

For example, for robust Salesforce and Einstein users spending most of their time inside Salesforce, it makes sense to continue using them rather than introducing Tableau. However, if a VP of Sales needs regional KPIs, maps, and supply chain data from another database, Tableau might be a better choice.

We know from experience that the answers are rarely black and white, but it’s the blended solutions that make this platform so exciting. With custom-built Lightning components and Tableau Extensions, technology experts can integrate and tailor the platform to each organization.

For example, customized Tableau extensions can write actions into Salesforce directly from embedded Tableau dashboards. Similarly, Einstein can reveal powerful predictive results. Both are possibilities to surface insights where the users can take action, maximizing the value of the systems together.

Most valuable: people

The ’92 Dream Team won all of their tournament games by an average of 44 points. The team was collectively inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, demonstrating that talented players reach their full potential surrounded by great teammates. Empowering Salesforce users with the right tools for the job — Einstein, Tableau, or both — can close the gaps between them and their data, and have an even bigger impact than any of those solutions on their own.

Slalom Customer Insight is created by industry leaders and practitioners from Slalom, a modern consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation. Learn more about Slalom’s customer insight services.

Jessica Minton is a data storyteller and analytics advocate with Slalom. She leads efforts to implement empowering analytics dashboards, manage enterprise Tableau Server environments, and train new users in Tableau. Her skills as a cartographer help her create impactful data visuals that support clients in an increasingly data-driven world. Reach her at jessicam@slalom.com.

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