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Tableau Offers Integration Roadmap For Salesforce Einstein Analytics

Product development plans to be detailed at today’s virtual Tableau Conference make clear that Tableau, acquired by Salesforce last year for nearly $16 billion, will be the business analytics brand for the cloud software company going forward.

Salesforce Einstein Analytics, the cloud giant’s business analytics software prior to its $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau Software last year, is being merged into Tableau’s product line, according to a product roadmap set to be unveiled Tuesday at Tableau’s annual conference.

Einstein Analytics will be renamed “Tableau CRM” and will become part of Tableau’s product portfolio. The software’s underlining artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, which will retain the Einstein Analytics name, will be incorporated within a number of Salesforce and Tableau products.

Earlier this year the Einstein Analytics development team was moved into Tableau and operates under Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, Slipsky disclosed Monday in a press briefing prior to the official announcement of the Tableau-Einstein Analytics integration plans.

[Related: The Big Data 100 2020]

Altogether the moves go far in answering questions of Salesforce’s long-term plans for Tableau and how the Einstein Analytics and Tableau products will be positioned. They also signify that Tableau, which operates as a Salesforce subsidiary, will remain the business analytics operation of Salesforce rather than be subsumed by Salesforce.

“It really highlights the importance that Tableau is now the analytical brand for Salesforce,” said Francois Ajenstat, Tableau’s chief product officer, during the press briefing.

Since the acquisition the Salesforce-native Einstein Analytics has been positioned as the best product for customers working specifically within the Salesforce environment with Salesforce data, while Tableau is marketed for customers working in heterogeneous environments with data from multiple sources.

That distinction doesn’t change with Einstein Analytics being renamed “Tableau CRM.” But Tableau will more tightly integrate that software with its own products including Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Prep and Tableau Online and bring more of the AI and machine learning capabilities in Einstein Analytics into its Tableau offerings.

“Over time these capabilities are going to work more seamlessly together and they’re going to unlock really amazing experiences,” Selipsky said during the press briefing.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tableau is holding this year’s annual customer conference virtually – cheekily renamed “Tableau Conferenceish.” Some 120,000 Tableau users have registered for the event that begins today with a series of keynote speeches.

Selipsky, in the press briefing, previewed his planned keynote focus on the importance of data and data analytics in what has been an eventful 2020 including the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing economic recession and protests over the “the fight for racial equality,” the CEO said.

“This year, every story was a big data story,” Selipsky said, pointing to efforts to collect and analyze data about coronavirus infections in an effort to “flatten the curve” and stem the spread of the pandemic. Data and analytics were also key as the economic impact of the pandemic – including widespread layoffs – took hold and the government launched financial initiatives to lessen the damage.

In March, Tableau worked with a number of technology partners, including Snowflake, Starschema, DataBlick, MapBox and Path, to create the COVID-19 Data Hub – a dashboard resource site that provided visualizations of data being collected by Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization about the spread of the virus and the public health response.

“I’ve got to say that 2020 really demonstrated the power of data,” Selipsky said. “We, meaning the world, have never relied on data more to help make sense of a crazy world that’s been so out of control. Data saved many, many lives. It goes far beyond simply driving understanding.”

Selipsky said statistics and analytics can even be used in understanding issues of racial justice. “We’re not there yet, but data is showing promise as a powerful tool. We’ve always believed that data can transform the world in so many ways and that hasn’t changed.”

Tableau executives will provide additional details on the Tableau-Einstein Analytics integration at the Tableau Conference-ish on Tuesday. That includes demonstrating the new Einstein Discovery product integration, which will provide AI-powered analytics to enable real-time predictive modeling and recommendation capabilities across the Tableau platform and help business users discover relevant data patterns. Einstein Discovery is slated for release in early 2021.

The Tableau-Einstein Analytics integrations also include connecting Tableau natively to the Einstein Analytics data store to take advantage of the performance optimizations and native Salesforce security integration, according to Chief Product Officer Ajenstat.

More long term, Tableau will develop data preparation capabilities that read and write to both Tableau and Einstein Analytics for ensuring clean, trusted data for analysis. And Tableau will create content portability between Tableau and Einstein Analytics to streamline dashboard creation.

Tableau’s software also will be integrated with the Salesforce Customer 360 services and API platform, Ajenstat said, and with the Salesforce Datorama marketing intelligence and analytics software.

“This combination will deliver the most complete analysis platform on the market,” Ajenstat said.

Tableau also will provide a Tableau connector for MuleSoft, the API management and application and data connectivity hub that Salesforce acquired in 2018 for $6.5 billion.

Selipsky said Tableau and Salesforce channel partners can continue working with the vendors’ products without disruption during the integration work. In the end the integration work will create a broad business analytics and CRM portfolio that solution providers can offer their customers.

“I think there will be more opportunities for partners over time because, if we do our job right, we will make it easy for them to be involved with Tableau, as well as Tableau CRM, and give them more options that they can be working with their customers on,” the CEO said.

At the conference Tableau executives are also expected to offer details of other upcoming Tableau system enhancements including developing Tableau Prep Builder to work 100 percent within a browser in the upcoming Tableau 2020.4 release and providing centralized row-level security in a 2021 release. Automated data quality warnings and integration with the Slack collaboration platform are also on tap.

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