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Visualize FinancialForce Data in Tableau

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

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

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live FinancialForce data in Tableau due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Tableau to FinancialForce, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to FinancialForce 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 FinancialForce data using native Tableau data types.

Connect to FinancialForce 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.

There are several authentication methods available for connecting to FinancialForce: login credentials, SSO, and OAuth.

Authenticating with a Login and Token

Set the User and Password to your login credentials. Additionally, set the SecurityToken. By default, the SecurityToken is required, but you can make it optional by allowing a range of trusted IP addresses.

To disable the security token:

  1. Log in to FinancialForce and enter "Network Access" in the Quick Find box in the setup section.
  2. Add your IP address to the list of trusted IP addresses.

To obtain the security token:

  1. Open the personal information page on FinancialForce.com.
  2. Click the link to reset your security token. The token will be emailed to you.
  3. Specify the security token in the SecurityToken connection property or append it to the Password.

Authenticating with OAuth

If you do not have access to the user name and password or do not want to require them, use the OAuth user consent flow. See the OAuth section in the Help for an authentication guide.

Connecting to FinancialForce Sandbox Accounts

Set UseSandbox to true (false by default) to use a FinancialForce sandbox account. Ensure that you specify a sandbox user name in User.

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 FinancialForce Data to a Dashboard

  1. Click Connect to Data -> More Servers -> Other Databases (ODBC).
    Select the CData Data Source Name (for example: CData FinancialForce 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 Account 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 BillingState 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 Name column in the Measures field onto the Detail and Color buttons. Tableau executes the following query:

    SELECT BillingState, SUM(Name) FROM Account GROUP BY BillingState

    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 Name 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 FinancialForce, you get live connectivity to your FinancialForce data, allowing you to build real-time charts, graphs, and more.