Salesforce Einstein and Tableau: When to Use Which

Recently, Salesforce and Tableau celebrated their one-year anniversary together. It’s been exciting seeing both products transform over the past year, and customers are eager to use the power of both tools to build an analytical powerhouse. Many of our customers are already customers of both Salesforce Einstein and Tableau, and ask us, “When should I use Einstein and when should I use Tableau?”

Both tools are great, and each has its own strengths, so this isn’t a blog on what is the better tool to purchase, as we believe Salesforce and Tableau are truly better together and that you should have both tools at your disposal. Instead, this blog is intended to be used to determine which is the best tool to use for your analytics use cases. We’ll cover mostly Descriptive and Diagnostic use cases, although we’ll touch on Predictive use cases at the end of the blog. We will walk you through the key questions you need to answer to decide which tool to use. You’ll even find a handy Flow Chart I created so you can easily follow along. 

Prerequisite: Determine the Use Case and Persona

Before we start reviewing the questions in the flowchart that will help you choose the right tool between Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Tableau, there are two prerequisite steps.

  1. Determine the use case. The use case is essentially the business problem you’re trying to solve with analytics. 
  2. Determine the persona for the use case. The persona is the business group that will use the visualization. 

Now that you’ve set the use case and persona, we’re ready to use our flowchart that will help you decide whether to use Salesforce Einstein Analytics or Tableau. 

Example Use Cases

  • Gain 360-degree view around all key KPIs into customers
  • Identify transactions at risk of fraud

Example Personas

  • Sales Reps
  • Health Care professionals, such as Clinicians

Instruction: The following Yes or No questions work like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Click on your answer of either Yes or No to jump to the next question in your Flowchart.

Use the interactive flowchart to determine whether Salesforce Einstein or Tableau is the better tool for your use case

Question 1: Does the data for the use case live in Salesforce?

The first question you need to answer is, “Does the data for the use case live in Salesforce?” Essentially, is the source of the data in Salesforce or somewhere external?

Examples of ‘Yes’ 

  • Sales data around Accounts, Contacts/Patients, Opportunities
  • Service data around Cases

Examples of ‘No’

  • Patient healthcare data that lives in EHR, such as Epic
  • Transaction data that lives in AWS or GCP

YES or NO

Question 2: Is the Persona for the Use Case in Salesforce?

In question 1, you determined that the data for your use case lives in Salesforce. Now, you need to determine whether the persona for the use case is in Salesforce. Essentially, do the users that will use and interact with the visualization have Salesforce licenses?

If you answered Yes, congratulations! You’ve reached the end of the flow chart. The tool you should use is Salesforce Einstein Analytics. Einstein is the best tool because you can easily embed your analytics into Salesforce, and use the Einstein Action framework to take direct action within Salesforce. For example, if the use case is to gain a 360-degree view into customers and the persona is sales reps, sales reps can use the Action framework to automatically create Opportunities, Cases, and Tasks and Events when interacting with the visualization.

If you answered No to this question, move to the next question in the Flow Chart.

Examples of ‘Yes’ – Persona is in Salesforce

  • Sales Reps that use Sales Cloud
  • Service Call Center Reps that use Service Cloud Console

Examples of ‘No’ – persona is NOT in Salesforce

  • Doctors and Nurses that use EHR, such as Epic
  • Global users when only North American users have been rolled onto Salesforce

YES or NO?

Question 3: Can the persona use Salesforce for something other than analytics?

To this point, you have answered yes, the data for the use case lives in Salesforce, then no, the persona for the use case is not in Salesforce. The last question you need to answer is, “Can the persona use Salesforce for something other than analytics?

One of the biggest benefits of Salesforce is the many clouds it offers, each with extraordinary features and functionalities. If you answered Yes, you should roll the persona onto both Salesforce and Einstein at the same time, since they would gain a benefit from both the Salesforce platform and Einstein Analytics. For example, if your persona is Product Manager and your use case is advanced whitespace analytics , consider that Product Managers can use Sales Cloud to gain insight into which Opportunities contain their products, and collaborate with Sales reps on those Opportunities, use Salesforce and Einstein Analytics.

On the other hand, if you answered No, then you should use Tableau. Although the data for the use case resides in Salesforce, if the persona won’t be using Salesforce for anything outside of analytics, they should use Tableau. It doesn’t make sense to bring them into Salesforce for only Einstein Analytics.

Examples of ‘Yes’ – the persona would use Salesforce for something other than analytics

  • Clinicians would track patient engagement using Salesforce Health Cloud in addition to Einstein Analytics
  • Financial Professionals would use the Accounting and Billing apps from FinancialForce in addition to Einstein Analytics

Examples of ‘No’ – the persona WOULDN’T use Salesforce for something other than analytics

  • Doctors and Nurses wouldn’t use Salesforce Health Cloud, as they already use an EHR such as Epic for that
  • There isn’t a good rationale for a persona to be in Salesforce; they get everything they need in another system

YES or NO

Question 4: Can we use one of the standard Einstein Analytics external connectors to sync the data into Einstein Analytics?

In the previous question, you answered no—the data for the use case does not live in Salesforce. The next question you need to answer is, “can we use one of the standard Einstein Analytics external connectors to sync the data into Einstein Analytics?”. If the data isn’t in Salesforce, you need to determine whether you can use one of the Einstein Analytics external connectors to bring the data into Einstein directly. Einstein Analytics has a number of different out-of-the-box connectors that allow you to sync data from external sources. For example, you can connect to and sync data with click-not-code directly from Snowflake , Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, Microsoft Azure , Mulesoft CloudHub, and many others.

If you answered Yes, you don’t have enough detail yet to determine whether you should use Einstein Analytics or Tableau. You need to jump to the next question.

On the other hand, if you answered No, then Tableau is the best tool to use. While there are other custom methods with which you can bring external data into Einstein, it would be better to focus that effort into Tableau integrations or leverage the Tableau Prep tools (see analysis here).

Examples of ‘Yes’ – We can bring the data into Salesforce

  • You just purchased Mulesoft and will use the out-of-the-box connector to integrate external data
  • You’ve already been using Snowflake for other use cases and will use Snowflake connector

Examples of ‘No’ – We WON’T bring the data into Salesforce

  • You don’t have any of the out-of-the-box connectors and don’t have the budget to get one
  • It’s not possible to use one of the connectors. You’d need to build a highly-customized API

YES or NO

Question 5: Is the Persona for the Use Case in Salesforce?

In the previous two questions, you determined that the data for your use case doesn’t live in Salesforce today, but that you will bring it into Salesforce soon. Now, you need to determine whether the persona for the use case is in Salesforce. Essentially, do the users that will use the visualization have Salesforce licenses.

If you answered Yes, you should use Einstein Analytics. Einstein is the best tool because you can easily embed your analytics into Salesforce, and use the Einstein Action framework to take direct action within Salesforce. For example, if the use case is to gain a 360-degree view into customers and the persona is sales reps, sales reps can use the Action framework to automatically create Opportunities, Cases, and Tasks and Events when interacting with the visualization.

If you answered No, use Tableau instead. If the personas aren’t in Salesforce, they won’t be able to interact with the visualization and gain insights from the data, so it is better to integrate the data into Tableau, have the users live there, where they can interact with and gain insight from the visualizations.

Examples of ‘Yes’ – the Persona is in Salesforce

  • Sales Reps that use Sales Cloud
  • Service Call Center Reps that use Service Cloud Console

Examples of ‘No – the Persona ISN’T in Salesforce

  • Doctors and Nurses that use an EHR such as Epic
  • Global users when only North American users have been rolled onto Salesforce

YES or NO

SUMMARY

WHEN TO USE EINSTEIN

Use Salesforce Einstein when the data lives in Salesforce and the persona is in Salesforce. Also, if the data doesn’t live in Salesforce today, but you can use one of Salesforce’s external connectors, you should still use Einstein, as long as the persona is in Salesforce. Similarly, if the persona isn’t in Salesforce today but can use Salesforce for something other than analytics, get them licenses to both Salesforce and Einstein.

WHEN TO USE TABLEAU

Use Tableau when the data for the use case isn’t in Salesforce and you can’t use one of Einstein’s external connectors to get the data into Salesforce. Also, it is better to use Tableau if the persona isn’t in Salesforce.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS?

While our team uses this Flowchart to help customers choose which tool is best for them for their use case, there are other considerations when implementing Salesforce or Tableau that go into our recommendation.

  • Need for Predictions or Machine Learning: If you’re looking to implement a machine learning use case, both Salesforce and Tableau have great predictive capabilities. For logistic and linear regression use cases, we’ve been building models in Einstein Discovery and embedding it into Tableau, which you can see an overview of in a previous blog. For other use cases, or if you want to stay within Tableau entirely, TabPy is a great tool to create your predictive model. Stay tuned for more blogs on this topic in the near future!
  • Data & Integration Strategy: In short, both Einstein and Tableau have great integration capabilities and the source of your data plays a key role in deciding between Einstein and Tableau. We discuss the current and planned architecture and data landscape to inform our conversations. This will impact the recommended approach.

Resources

Clinical Trials Patient Withdrawal Einstein Predictions in Tableau

About Us

SpringML is an advanced analytics services firm leading data-driven digital transformation journeys. We are a Salesforce Silver Partner with a sizable Einstein Analytics Champions team, providing end-to-end advanced analytics, data and workflow integration services with Tableau and Mulesoft. We unlock the power of data to transform your business one use case at a time. Start your journey with us. For more information feel free to contact us at [email protected].