An analysis and comparison of three powerful data analytics platforms: Tableau, TCRM and Datorama
18th March 2021
Author Alex Waleczek
What are the strengths – and differences – between Tableau, TCRM (Tableau CRM, formerly known as Einstein Analytics) and Datorama?
With a mission to demystify and clarify the strengths and differences between each platform, our resident analytics lead and Tableau expert, Alex Waleczek, rolls up his sleeves and analyses the analytics tools. Here’s his verdict.
Salesforce has a history of buying and integrating companies and products to continually enhance their platform. In the analytics space, the best-known product used to be called Einstein Analytics and was recently rebranded to Tableau CRM (TCRM); this currently sits next to Datorama (acquired in 2018) and Tableau (acquired in 2019).
To avoid confusion in this article, I will use TCRM when talking about Tableau CRM, and Tableau when referring to the standalone product Salesforce acquired.
At the time Salesforce acquired Tableau, many people wondered why Salesforce would need another analytics platform, alongside two platforms which are advertised as doing analytics as well.
Two years on since Tableau joined Salesforce, this can still cause a lot of confusion. I recently started working on the Salesforce platform and ran into the same questions and decided to investigate.
What are the differences between Tableau, TCRM and Datorama?
When would I use which platform?
And why would somebody move to or adopt an additional platform if they have already invested in one of them?
To find the answers I needed, I played around with all three platforms, saw their capabilities and observed how people use them in production. I talked to Salesforce and Tableau employees, consultants and clients and I think I’ve now got answers to all the questions above. Here they are…
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: There is some overlap between the three platforms. All three can be used to create visualisations, integrate data and use AI to drive decision making.
The difference lies in how much each platform focuses on each of these areas and exactly what you want to visualise, integrate or decide upon.
We start with Tableau because Salesforce is using the brand synonymously with ‘Analytics’. This is further confirmed by their integration of TCRM and Tableau, on an internal, organisational level as well as at a product level. In the next releases you will be able to use TCRM predictive models right inside Tableau dashboards and calculations.
Over the coming months and years, it’s likely we’ll see TCRM and Tableau move closer and potentially even become a single platform.
Today Tableau’s focus is to combine virtually any enterprise data sources and provide instant insights through human analysis. Tableau often refers to “insights at the speed of thought”, and if you compare the approach between TCRM and Tableau, you will understand what it means – you can think of a question and, in most cases, you’ll be able to break down the data to find an answer in minutes, if not seconds.
On the other side, TCRM excels at ‘automated discovery’.
Salesforce describes this as an “additional teammate who does overtime”.
TCRM can crawl through vast amounts of data and describe in natural language why a KPI is lower than expected and which dial to adjust to bring it back up again. It doesn’t replace a data scientist, but it makes the initial discovery much quicker for a data scientist to take over to interpret the results and integrate them in other models.
Tableau does provide a rudimentary version of the TCRM capabilities called ‘Explain Data’ and TCRM does allow you to visualise data, but none of them can compete with their counterpart in those areas.
These two platforms work really well on their own for most types of data. If the data is stored in a tabular format in a database system or a file, we will be able to access, combine and analyse it.
Datorama is a specialised platform for marketing data.
If you need to analyse your marketing data, you will benefit from Datorama. If you don’t work with marketing data, you won’t. The problem with marketing data today is that it comes in a multitude of formats, spread throughout different platforms and can be insanely difficult to harmonise. Additionally, accessing this data is usually done via APIs, which often means custom development and frequent adjustment to API changes are needed.
Datorama addresses all these challenges. If your company uses Google Analytics to track traffic on your website, Google AdSense to run ads and LinkedIn for customer engagement, then you will need to deal with at least three different APIs. And in reality it will be even more than that, because each provider will have different APIs for different aspects of their data.
Instead of managing all of this in-house, Datorama allows you to connect to virtually any platform with a few simple parameters. It takes care of any technical complexity and even harmonises the data so that you can store it cleanly in just one dataset. Any changes to APIs will be implemented by Datorama and remain invisible to you.
Datorama also provides AI capabilities customised to the marketing domain that you will struggle to easily recreate with TCRM.
It also provides visualisation capabilities but, like TCRM, these can’t compete with Tableau’s expertise. Instead, you can easily connect Tableau to your Datorama data and analyse it manually or use a TCRM model to investigate.
While these three tools appear to significantly overlap, in reality, each of them is a very powerful tool for a specific purpose, none of which can be replaced by any of the others. Your specific use case and requirements will dictate which tool you need.
- Datorama will connect and prepare all your marketing data.
- TCRM will automatically analyse your data and enrich your workflows in Salesforce and
- Tableau will integrates and combines data from across the business to make it easily accessible and understandable.
If you would like to know more about any of these platforms or talk through how each might work for your organisation, we’d love to talk. You can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.