Tableau vs CRM Analytics: when to use what, and why

Jul 11, 2022
  • sales, marketing and service
  • Tableau
  • data

If you are or have ever been in the market for a tool that would help you visualize data and gain insights, you’ve probably heard of Tableau or Salesforce CRM Analytics (formerly known as Tableau CRM). Perhaps you also know that both tools are owned by Salesforce. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key differences between both solutions, and more importantly, when it makes sense to pick one over the other.

First, let’s cut to the chase by explaining what both solutions are, and what they aren’t. 

  • Tableau is a standalone, self-service business intelligence platform primarily aimed at business users. It consists of multiple products, e.g., Tableau Prep, Tableau Desktop, Tableau Online and Tableau, which help you to respectively prepare, visualize and share your data. 
  • Salesforce CRM Analytics is a Salesforce-embedded analytics and reporting solution that offers insights directly in your CRM workflow and provides live operational data. The bulk of your data will come from your Salesforce environment. However, you can supplement your Salesforce data with data coming from certain external sources. CRM Analytics was formerly known as Einstein Analytics and Tableau CRM, before landing on its current – and admittedly less confusing – moniker. 



Salesforce CRM Analytics


Data modellers, report creators and report consumers

Salesforce users who need insights into their CRM workflows and CRM data

Main use case

Management reporting (not limited to CRM)

Operational reporting (more focused on CRM)


- Self-service analytics

- Powerful visuals

- Ability to connect many types of data sources

- Accessible machine learning, statistics and NLP capabilities

- Live operational data and operational reporting

- Actionability: users can take action on the insights received directly in Salesforce

Extra smart: Einstein Discovery

Additionally, Salesforce also offers a solution called Einstein Discovery. This analytics tool augments your data analysis with the power of artificial intelligence, using machine-learning models and comprehensive statistical analysis. This allows data scientists, analysts and business users to quickly sift through millions of rows of data to find important correlations, predict outcomes, and suggest ways to improve those predicted outcomes. 

For example, instead of telling you that a customer has churned after the fact, it alerts you when they are likely to do so, ultimately giving you the opportunity to take preventive actions. Einstein Discovery can be used as a plug-in both with Salesforce CRM Analytics and Tableau. Just make sure you have the correct licenses. 

Levels of reporting

“The choice between Tableau and CRM Analytics ultimately comes down to the level on which you’re reporting,” says Charlotte Bayart, Data & AI consultant at delaware. “For business reports on a management level, Tableau will most likely be the better choice as there is no need for real-time data. In addition, it allows you to bring multiple data sources together, and its powerful visualizations help you get your point across easily.”

“However, when you need operational reporting on your CRM data to immediately take action, an embedded solution like CRM Analytics is definitely the way to go. Because there are no additonal layers between reporting and data sources, embedded solutions offer more powerful and detailed insights. What’s more, users can take immediate action on insights, without requiring an additional tool. Most of the times it will make perfect sense for an organization using Salesforce as a CRM platform to rely on both tools at the same time.” 

Looking to take your reporting capabilities to the next level? Get in touch with Charlotte Bayart to learn more. 

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