by Thor Olavsrud

Salesforce to add Einstein Analytics AI to Tableau platform

Oct 06, 2020
AnalyticsArtificial IntelligenceBusiness Intelligence

Salesforce's Einstein Analytics offering will be rebranded as Tableau CRM and Einstein's AI and machine learning capabilities will be integrated with the Tableau platform in a push to democratize data science.

A virtual brain is wired with technology connections.
Credit: Just Super / Getty Images

When Salesforce completed its $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau Software in August 2019, IT leaders were left wondering what the largest acquisition in Salesforce history might mean. A bit more than a year later, Tableau has provided some insight into its plans, announcing that Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics will be rebranded Tableau CRM and Einstein’s advanced analytics capabilities will be integrated with Tableau’s other offerings.

“Earlier this year we brought together the Tableau and Einstein Analytics teams under one roof,” Adam Selipsky, president and CEO of Tableau, said in a press conference Monday. “All of those resources all report up to me and they have all year. Everything from development to marketing to the Einstein Analytics sales teams. All things analytics are now with us.”

The intent of the move is to make Tableau the analytics brand for Salesforce and integrate all of Einstein Analytics’ advanced analytics capabilities — including predictive and prescriptive analytics — into Tableau’s full range of offerings, including:

  • Tableau Desktop for visual analytics
  • Tableau Prep for visual data preparation
  • Tableau Server for self-managed analytics platform
  • Tableau Online for analytics platform as a service
  • Tableau CRM for native Salesforce analytics

There are currently no planned changes on pricing and packaging for any of the Tableau offerings, said Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer at Tableau.

While Einstein Analytics has been rebranded as Tableau CRM, the Einstein name itself will continue as the moniker for advanced analytics across the range of Tableau’s offerings.

Ajenstat said the integration will be completed in multiple stages. The first fruit of the integration will be Einstein Discovery in Tableau, expected in early 2021. Einstein Discovery is an AI and machine learning platform for predictive and prescriptive analytics.

“It’s this powerful engine that learns as people start using it and can start telling you what might happen, automated insights,” Ajenstat said. “Then it gives you some insights as to what actions you can take to improve the predictions.”

Democratizing data science

Einstein Discovery is intended to help users discover relevant patterns in their data without having to build sophisticated data models or turn to data scientists. It can be used for insight into how to maximize profit or minimize costs, for example. Integrating it with the broader array of Tableau offerings will enable organizations to apply real-time predictive modeling and recommendations to scenarios beyond Salesforce, such as HR.

“What’s the likelihood that an employee will attrit? Or you might want to use it for supply chain analytics and see where there might be defects and predict where the next defects will be,” Ajenstat said. “You can use it for healthcare analytics.”

Users can expect to see Einstein Discovery capabilities integrated with Tableau’s calculation language, dashboards, data prep capabilities and more, according to Ajenstat. Where Tableau has helped democratize analytics by making it easier to self-service, so Einstein Discovery makes data science more accessible across the organization, he said.

“It’s enabling no-code data science, essentially, for as many organizations as possible,” Ajenstat said. “Now, one of the fundamental concepts in Tableau is that we believe in choice and flexibility. So, although we have these capabilities, we also integrate with more sophisticated or specialized technologies. Whether that’s R or Python, or if customers have invested in specific tools, we are continuing to build deep interoperability with all of the various partners and solutions in the market.”

Tableau roadmap

More is on the docket for Tableau in the coming months. Future integration stages will include:

  • Connecting Tableau natively to the Einstein Analytics data store, which will take advantage of the performance optimizations and native Salesforce security integration. Ajenstat expects this integration to be released later in 2021.
  • Data preparation capabilities that read and write to both Tableau and Einstein Analytics, helping to ensure clean and trusted data.
  • Content portability between Tableau and Einstein Analytics to streamline creation of dashboards and make it easier for everyone to access it.

“This is a journey that won’t be done overnight,” Ajenstat said.

The move has coincided with a dramatic uptick in data-driven digital transformation by Salesforce and Tableau customers, Ajenstat added.

“Over the last eight or nine months with COVID, the digital transformation process has accelerated significantly by our customers,” he said. “And every one of those digital transformations are really data transformations. Every one of those engagements that customers have with their own customers is generating more data. And all of that data becomes accessible to be harvested and analyzed and put into action.”