Davanti Dreamforce Digest #4: Tableau insights
14th October 2021
Author Alex Waleczek
Salesforce is an important and powerful tool that helps Davanti’s customers get closer to their customers, helping to create connected experiences for meaningful and sustainable outcomes.
A number of the Davanti team attended sessions at this year’s Dreamforce, learning more about updates to the tech stack as well as gaining insights into their particular areas of expertise – and then we asked them to share their insights and highlights as part of this #DF21 Davanti Digest series.
Alexander Waleczek, Davanti’s Analytics Practice Lead & Tableau Ambassador, shares his top data and Tableau insights and takeaways.
Tell us about the sessions you attended and what’s important about the topic of data and Tableau.
I listened to the main Tableau keynote, which gave me a quick download of what’s new, and drilled into some of the some of the specific sessions on the integrations with Tableau and MuleSoft, for instance, to see how the new features work on a use case basis.
This was the first Dreamforce conference where Tableau and Tableau CRM were essentially treated as one product. Last year they announced the rebrand from Einstein to Tableau CRM, and there was always the intention to bring the two together, but this year was the first time we saw this in action.
It was interesting to see how Salesforce positioned Tableau and Tableau CRM within the platform. They drove home the sentiment that it’s not a third-party analytics platform that sits outside Salesforce; it’s right inside the platform. When I need to do something in Salesforce, the information that I need is right there, where I need it, when I need it. This is an important part of Salesforces Customer 360 vision.
Salesforce also announced many more connectors for Tableau to Salesforce. For instance, they now have a native Marketing Cloud Connector, they’ve improved their Datorama connector, and they connect to MuleSoft and the industry clouds. That makes it a lot easier to work with data and those solutions.
Another key announcement was around dashboard starters. Basically, as soon as you get a licence, and access to Tableau you can select the kind of dashboards you want and they automatically populate with your data. This is very helpful, especially if you want very quick insights or you don’t have in-house expertise yet.
Another interesting focus was how Salesforce integrates Slack into the process. What was talked about is the concept of ‘Slack-first analytics’. This basically moves your usage away from your analytics platform so you can get all the insights you need right in Slack. For example, you can use additional Tableau features, and phrase a question in English to get an answer automatically. Take, for example, that my customer churn is too high. I can get notified via a message, directly ask the question, “Which region has the highest churn rate?” and I’ll get a chart back on that. Or I could say, “Okay, explain that to me”, and I’ll receive a message that tells me the trends around those different metrics. From here I can make the changes I need to.
This really drives the sense that analytics is not an external platform – it’s integrated with everything and I can literally communicate with it. I don’t even need to look at dashboards anymore, I don’t need to check my metrics once a day, I’ll simply get a message if something’s not right. If I don’t get a message, everything’s fine, I don’t need to worry about it, and I can focus my attention on other things.
What were your highlights?
I’m excited by how analytics is moving more closely into everyday business practices.
Most companies want to be data-driven – it has been a big buzzword for a while. Traditionally, teams or employees would have to put through a request to the IT team and receive a report of sorts. Tableau and Salesforce took this one step further by enabling any business user the ability to create their own report, but even in this there was a focus on business analytics and reporting.
Now what we’re seeing is that analytics is being brought into processes across the entire platform, so users can gain insights in a very simple and direct way. This could mean pulling historic data, say stats over the last two years for a particular metric, or it be in gaining predictive insights, for instance, data on a customer base or churn rate. In this instance, you may receive an alert that a customer is likely to churn and Tableau CRM will automatically suggest the next best action to react – say a phone call to check in with the customer. This makes analytics very simple and immediate, and it becomes fully ingrained in the workflow.
Another highlight for me is around data flows within Salesforce. What has just been introduced is what’s called ‘data pipelines’, where you can transform your data inside Salesforce and enrich it with external data. This will simplify the handling of data within the platform and makes it even easier to display relevant data to your employees. You can do the whole workflow within Salesforce. This speaks to a need to run on-the-fly insights and calculations on data where it’s stored and managed.
I would say another big focus for the 2021 Dreamforce, and a highlight for me, was to see how unified Tableau and Salesforce is becoming. Initially, Tableau and Tableau CRM were essentially two different products. Salesforce decided to rebrand Einstein to Tableau CRM to demonstrate that they’ve become closer, but they were still two very different products. What’s happening now, however, is that Salesforce is treating it as one product, the Tableau platform. This is emphasised in a lot of the smaller features that were released, with those that were originally only available in one platform now available in both. Going forward, as a Salesforce customer, you will be able to take advantage of features on both of those platforms and not just one. Users will be able to use either Tableau CRM or Tableau depending on what they want to do, without missing out on any specific functions or features.
What are your key takeaways from the sessions?
A key takeaway from this year’s Dreamforce is that Salesforce is really doubling down on the analytics part of the platform.
Historically they had Einstein as an analytics feature, but it wasn’t very strongly positioned and it wasn’t a big focus for them. With the acquisition of Tableau and, by extension, a lot of analytics expertise, it’s become much more of a focus, and you can see this in the announcements they’ve made. I anticipate the focus on data and analytics will continue to grow, and it will become an even bigger part of the platform.
As a Salesforce customer, oftentimes you don’t have a big analytics team or a dedicated data science function. But with these Analytics products, as it develops, you’ll gain access to advanced analytics features without the need for a data scientist. With embedded features and no coding required, this functionality becomes available to you in a few clicks.
Salesforce’s tagline is ‘clicks, not code’. This implies that anybody can harness data analytics. Even if they’re a small company with a small Salesforce footprint, they can achieve what was previously out of reach. It’s becoming easier and easier to get started quickly, get onto the platform and get going. Obviously, if you want to customise and achieve more advanced capabilities, you may need to work with someone who has more experience and knowledge, but overall Salesforce is really bringing down the barrier to entry.
What’s most relevant for New Zealand organisations?
New Zealand organisations should look into what they can do with data – they may be surprised. Even if they’ve had a look into working with Einstein previously, it might be worth looking into it again. These new features and integrations can enhance workflows, and they’re developed and aimed at common use cases.
For example, if you have your customer data in Salesforce, you can develop a model to score your opportunities based on likelihood to close and prioritise based on this. You can also look at predictions and automation, or consider auto-approving certain decisions. This can significantly reduce manual processes that are time-consuming and repeatable. For instance, if TCRM suggests a discount to increase the likelihood to close an opportunity, your company policy might require you to get approval from your manager. Now you can say, what’s the likelihood of closing the deal, and if it’s high you can automatically approve the discount. These actions are also completely auditable so you have a full record of every step taken. Overall, this can reduce effort and time required of the salesperson and free them up to focus on bigger deals.
There are many examples, but on the whole, what we’re seeing is that these features integrate very well with Salesforce, and there’s basically a use case for everybody looking to augment business processes and workflows with advanced analytics to make operations smoother, easier and faster.
What left a lasting impression?
The main focus is that analytics is being integrated into the entire Salesforce platform. We’ll see the big feature releases for Tableau at their conference later in the year, but for now what we can focus on is how data analytics can empower businesses in their everyday operations, and that the benefits of analytics may be a lot closer than some teams may realise.
In his role he is responsible for all things data. Having worked as a consultant with Tableau in the analytics space in New Zealand for the last six years, he is very familiar with the problems companies face when trying to make sense of their data and how to solve them to bring our clients closer to their clients. When he is not working on Tableau for Davanti, he is blogging privately about all things data and hiking New Zealand. You can get in touch with him via our contact form, LinkedIn or Twitter.