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Visualize Act CRM Data in Tableau

The CData ODBC driver for Act CRM enables you integrate Act CRM data into Tableau dashboards.

The CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM enables you to access live Act CRM data in business intelligence tools like Tableau. In this article, you will integrate Act CRM data into a dashboard that reflects changes to Act CRM data in real time.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Act CRM data in Tableau due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Tableau to Act CRM, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Act CRM and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze Act CRM data using native Tableau data types.

Connect to Act CRM as an ODBC Data Source

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid Act! user credentials. In addition to the authentication values, see the following:

  • Connecting to Act! Premium

    In addition to the authentication values, the URL to Act! is also required; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/.

    Additionally, you must specify the ActDatabase you will connect to. This is found by going to the About Act! Premium menu of your account, at the top right of the page, in the ? menu. Use the Database Name in the window that appears.

  • Connecting to Act! Premium Cloud

    To connect to your Act! Premium Cloud account, you also need to specify the ActCloudName property. This property is found in the URL address of the Cloud account; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/ActCloudName/.

Note that retrieving ActCRM metadata can be expensive. It is advised that you set the CacheMetadata property to store the metadata locally.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Add Act CRM Data to a Dashboard

  1. Click Connect to Data -> More Servers -> Other Databases (ODBC).
    Select the CData Data Source Name (for example: CData ActCRM Source).
  2. In the Database menu, select CData.
  3. In the Table box, enter a table name or click New Custom SQL to enter an SQL query. This article retrieves the Activities table.
  4. Drag the table onto the join area. At this point, you can include multiple tables, leveraging the built-in SQL engine to process complex data requests.
  5. In the Connection menu, select the Live option, so that you skip loading a copy of the data into Tableau and instead work on real-time data. The optimized data processing native to CData ODBC drivers enables unmatched performance in live connectivity.
  6. Click the tab for your worksheet. Columns are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData driver discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  7. Drop the ActivityDisplayName column in the Dimensions pane onto the dashboard. When you select dimensions, Tableau builds a query to the driver. The results are grouped based on that dimension. In Tableau, the raw query is automatically modified as you select dimensions and measures.
  8. Drag the Subject column in the Measures field onto the Detail and Color buttons. Tableau executes the following query:

    SELECT ActivityDisplayName, SUM(Subject) FROM Activities GROUP BY ActivityDisplayName

    When you select a measure, Tableau executes a command to the driver to calculate a summary function, such as SUM, AVG, etc., on the grouped values. The SQL engine (embedded within the driver) is leveraged to process the aggregation of the data, where needed, providing a seamless experience in Tableau, regardless of the data source.

    To change the summary function, open the Subject menu and select the summary you want in the Measure command.

  9. You can create other charts using dimensions and measures to build SQL queries visually:

With the CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM, you get live connectivity to your Act CRM data, allowing you to build real-time charts, graphs, and more.