In the middle ages barbers cut hair and performed surgery (because they had the tools) – the results were not good

Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Tableau combines the top CRM with the top dashboard creation tool – match made in heaven, right? Well, maybe not. Anyone who has worked in a large enterprise can tell you that the proliferation of Salesforce reports and analytic dashboards has reached a tipping point where they are, for the most part, being ignored by most people. I know this because throughout my career, I have frequently had the role of having to interpret the many dashboards and reports (like reading tea leaves) to pull out the one or two actionable key insights for the management team that actually align to our KPIs. Simply put, no important decision maker I have ever worked with has ever had the time to stare at hundreds of metrics across a dozen dashboards to notice when a critical change occurs and then map it to actions – it’s mythology.

The problem is these two industry-leading tools have done such a good job of making it easy for everyone to create reports and dashboards that literally everyone can and does create them. That means you end up with more reports and dashboards than can possibly be consumed. This is the equivalent to analytic spam, and actually increases the noise while reducing the signal and the perceived value of any singular dashboard or report. I’m a liberal guy who loves the idea of democratizing just about everything, including the creation of dashboards and reports (in theory) – but in execution, I now believe these are specialized skills that are best left to trained analysts.

Simply having access to tools does not make us qualified to use them. Imagine going to Supercuts and having them take out your appendix. Scary thought, but that is how surgery used to be done. In the Middle Ages, barbers (yes, the people trained to cut your hair) frequently performed surgery because they had sharp tools lying around readily available to cut things. Perhaps not surprisingly, mortality rates were brutally high, with many patients dying on the table from blood loss.

Modern enterprises risk “bleeding out” if they do not cut through the noise of analytic spam and rediscover the signals that tie directly to their KPIs. In the hands of well-trained analysts, Salesforce reports and Tableau dashboards can be part of the solution, but still require interpretation – and they stop short of prescribing action. What is needed is an insights-delivery layer that sits on top of Salesforce and Tableau and monitors when key changes in dashboards or reports have occurred that impact KPIs and require action. These actions should then be delivered to those who can execute on them via email, text, or Slack, and logged in a Trello-style actionboard to manage follow through and measure impact.

RelayiQ is rapidly making great strides in solving this problem, first through our insight delivery tools built on Tableau and SalesForce, and now through our development of data-driven actionboards. Salesforce and Tableau are amazing tools, but need to be better aligned to enterprise KPIs and tied to actions and measurable results for analytic reports and dashboards to regain trust as valued tools. As huge Salesforce and Tableau fans, we are excited to bridge this gap!

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