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A Comparison of Salesforce Reports & Dashboards v’s. Tableau

In our data-driven world, businesses rely heavily on analytics to drive decision-making processes. Two popular tools in our domain are Salesforce Reports & Dashboards (standard and free for all Salesforce Customers) and the more advanced Tableau. There are others of course, for example, Business Objects and PowerBI.

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In this article we compare the features of these tools and explore how exporting data captured by Improve Usage Tracker can enhance the granularity of insights and analytics.

Usage Tracker uses the ‘Position Detector’ component from Improved Help to capture user behaviour within your Org on pages, sub pages, custom flows, knowledge articles, reports and dashboards, basically anywhere you can deploy the component. The Usage Tracker dashboard element is a pre-packaged Salesforce Reports & Dashboard, which is used to illustrate the captured user interaction data in a standardised format based on what businesses have told us they are interested in monitoring.  The Reports and Dashboard can be fully customised depending on your requirements.

Many customers ask us for heatmaps. Usage Tracker can see when a user has landed on a page and how long they have spent there. With standard Salesforce reports and dashboards, there are some limitations and heatmaps are not currently available.

By exporting the data and by using an alternative BI / data visualisation tool such at Tableau (below) you can use the well structured data that Usage Tracker captures to visualise your data in this way. This report below is showing where a user spends most of their time (on which Objects / Tasks) day by day for the month of October…

Salesforce Reports & Dashboards

Salesforce offers robust reporting and dashboard capabilities built directly into its CRM platform. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Reports: Salesforce Reports allow users to analyse data from various standard and custom objects within the Salesforce platform. Reports can be customised with filters, groupings, and charts to visualise data in a meaningful way.
  • Dashboards: Salesforce Dashboards provide a high-level overview of key metrics and KPIs. Users can combine multiple reports onto a single dashboard and arrange them according to their preferences. Dashboards offer real-time insights and can be shared with team members.


Tableau is a standalone data visualisation tool known for its powerful analytics and ease of use. Key features include:

  • Data Connectivity: Tableau can connect to a wide range of data sources, including databases (Salesforce CRM), spreadsheets, and cloud services. This flexibility allows users to analyse data from multiple sources in one cohesive dashboard.
  • Advanced Visualisations: Tableau offers a vast library of visualisations, including interactive charts, maps, and dashboards. Users can create complex visualisations with ease and drill down into the data for deeper insights.
  • Scalability: Tableau is highly scalable and suitable for organisations of all sizes. Whether it’s a small team or a large enterprise, Tableau can handle large volumes of data without compromising performance.

Exporting Data for Granular Insights

While both Salesforce and Tableau excel in data visualisation, exporting data captured by Improve Usage Tracker can provide an additional layer of granularity to analytics. Here’s how:

  • Detailed Usage Tracking: Improve Usage Tracker captures detailed well structured usage data, including user interactions, session durations, and feature utilisation. By exporting this data into Tableau, analysts can gain insights into how users are engaging with the platform at a granular level.
  • Behavioural Analytics: Analysing user behaviour can uncover patterns and trends that are not apparent from standard reports and dashboards. For example, analysts can identify which features are most commonly used, which pages have the highest engagement, and where users are encountering obstacles.
  • Custom Metrics: Improve Usage Tracker allows for the tracking of custom metrics tailored to specific business objectives. Exporting this data into Tableau enables analysts to create custom dashboards and visualisations that align with the organisation’s unique needs.

So, while Salesforce Reports & Dashboards and Tableau are both powerful tools for data visualisation, exporting data captured by Improve Usage Tracker enhances the granularity of insights and analytics. Exporting the data will also free up your Salesforce storage utilisation, which is not cheap!

By leveraging detailed usage data and behavioural analytics, organisations can gain a deeper understanding of user interactions and drive informed decision-making processes.

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