With the arrival of the “write to CRM Analytics from Tableau Prep” feature, Salesforce is pushing the integration with Tableau further once again. In this blog we’ll have a look at what it takes to write the famous Superstore dataset (in this case the Superstore flow) to CRM Analytics in the Salesforce CRM. If you don’t know what CRM Analytics is yet, make sure to check it out first!
CRM analytics is the Salesforce native analysis tool that can help you to build dynamic dashboards and reports in your Salesforce CRM cloud and train and deploy predictive models inside or outside your Salesforce Cloud.
Tableau Prep: output possibilities
Tableau Prep historically has been positioned as your “last mile” data transformation tool. A tool that helps you to clean, join and fix your data right before you start vizzing in Tableau Desktop. This certainly was the case back when the only output possibility was the creation of a local file (.csv) or a published data source on your Tableau Server.
With the arrival of the possibility to schedule your prep flow to run automatically on a Tableau server, in combination with the ability to connect to published data sources on a Tableau Server, and the power to write to other external databases, one can get creative with the use of Tableau Prep in the datastack, beyond the ‘last mile transformation’ purpose.
Requirements to write to CRM Analytics
Let’s have a look at what it takes to write your dataset to CRM Analytics. First of all, this feature only makes sense:
- If you are using one of the Salesforce Clouds at your company (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Experience Cloud)
- If you are using CRM Analytics as an analytics or visualization tool within your Salesforce ORG (Dashboarding, Reports, Predictive Modeling, etc.)
- If your Salesforce user has the CRM Analytics User license with the right permissions attributed.
If you are new to CRM Analytics you might be wondering where the dataset actually ends up in the tool. Let’s open up the default Superstore flow and adjust its output node to “Save output to CRM Analytics”.
Data flows are beautiful, don’t you think?
You will be asked to authenticate the CRM Analytics output connection in your browser. Just login with your Salesforce user and click “allow”. After that you can close your browser and continue in Prep.
Enter your credentials and click “Allow”
In the output node you need to specify a few things. First you select the Salesforce ORG for which you just authenticated (multiple connections are possible). After that, you can choose the app (“project folder”) where you want to write your dataset to. If the dataset does not exist yet, you can create it by inputting a dataset name.
Select the output location of your ORG
Let’s run that flow..
We now can navigate to our Analytics Studio (login via www.salesforce.com) and to the specified app we saved the dataset to (‘My Shared App’). Guess what: our dataset is waiting for us there! With our Superstore dataset in our Salesforce ORG we can now go and explore or visualize it with CRM Analytics in your trusted Salesforce CRM.
The dataset was outputted to the “Shared App” location
Previewing the data in CRM Analytics using a lens
Writing your data to CRM Analytics with Tableau Prep: why?
- “Write to CRM Analytics' virtually extends the input connectors that CRM Analytics has today. Tableau Prep has dozens of input connectors and outperforms the amount of input connectors of CRMA. Leveraging this in an industrial way does imply you have both a Tableau Server and a Salesforce ORG with management add-on to schedule your prep flows writing to CRM Analytics on a schedule.
Tableau Prep has more input connectors that CRM Analytics
- Validated and trusted published data sources on your Tableau Server can easily be shared with ‘Salesforce only’ users, people who work, breathe, live in the Salesforce ecosystem (note: CRMA currently can only connect to Tableau Online as input connector, not your on premise Tableau Server). Users for whom it makes more sense to start exploring their data from within the environment they are most comfortable with.
The new output connector is great for bringing valuable datasets to your CRM Analytics users as of today. Companies making use of both Tableau Server and Salesforce Clouds will instantly find use-cases which will create valuable insights as a result of this new feature.
However, with ever growing versatility in terms of input and output connectors that Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep and CRM Analytics have, it becomes more important than ever to get a very clear view on your overall data flow architecture. In a situation where Tableau Server, the Salesforce Clouds, Tableau Prep, Tableau Desktop ànd CRM Analytics can basically can sync both ways, the evergreen question will remain relevant for your company still:
How will you organize your data today and tomorrow?
Answering that question is beyond the scope of this blog but one thing that you needto keep in mind is that CRM analytics is not a data warehouse and should not be treated as one. The default storage limit of the Analytics Studio is 250 million rows (adds up with the amount of user licenses bought).
Whilst this is definitely enough to set up all your data sets needed for a mature reporting body within your Salesforce cloud, we would strongly recommend looking into other platforms such as Snowflake when considering building an actual data warehouse that deals with all your storage needs and has a place for all your historical (Salesforce) data.
Want to know more about how CRM Analytics works? Keep an eye on our blog section, There is plenty more to come on the usage of CRM Analytics.