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Subscript vs Tableau: Which is Better for Analyzing B2B SaaS Metrics

The pros and cons of using a BI tool for your SaaS metrics

There’s no denying that data-driven businesses perform better.

According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23x more likely than their peers to acquire customers, 6x more likely to retain customers, and 19x more likely to be profitable. Easy access to data allows business leaders to make better decisions, increase efficiency, and uncover new opportunities for growth.

That’s why it’s no surprise that business intelligence tools like Tableau have become so popular. Having access to large amounts of business data—and being able to visualize that data in graphs and charts—is both powerful and extremely helpful.

But, where should you track your B2B SaaS metrics?

So, when companies are looking for software to track their B2B SaaS metrics, it makes sense that they’d consider building their dashboards in Tableau. After all, it’s a tool they’re already familiar with.

But, is it the right choice?

In this post, we’ll break down the pros and cons of using a tool like Tableau to track B2B SaaS metrics. And, we’ll see how it stacks up against a purpose-built solution like Subscript.

Let’s explore!

Pros and cons of using Tableau for your B2B SaaS metrics

✅ Pros:

  • It’s extremely flexible: With the right people and resources, you can do just about anything in Tableau. It will provide your company with a blank canvas to analyze all of your data.
  • One tool for the entire company: Because of its flexibility, it has the potential to be the single source of truth for everything related to data in your business. Your teams can get in the habit of going to Tableau when they need to answer a question with data.
  • No need to buy additional software: If you’re already paying for Tableau, then it gives you a place to track your B2B SaaS metrics that doesn’t require purchasing another piece of software.

🚫 Cons:

  • Takes too long to get insights: Because Tableau is so flexible, it isn’t specifically tailored to the nuances of B2B SaaS businesses. So, to build your first B2B SaaS dashboards, you’ll need to create a long list of requirements for your data team. Once prioritized, it will likely take the team months to build what you need, and you’ll undoubtedly have to make compromises along the way. Then, anytime you want changes to what’s been built (for example, maybe there’s a type of analysis you didn’t think of earlier) then you’ll need to wait for your data team to re-work everything for you.
  • Costly: There’s no way around it, building this in Tableau is a significant investment of resources. You and your data team will invest months up front, and then you’ll need the ongoing resources to maintain what was built and make improvements over time.  
  • No specialized support: After all that time and effort, your custom BI dashboard still won’t be as powerful as a dedicated solution that was built from the ground up to be user-friendly for B2B SaaS leaders. And, you won’t have the peace of mind of knowing that a team is completely dedicated to making sure your B2B SaaS metrics are accurate so you have confidence when presenting your information.

Pros and cons of using Subscript instead of Tableau

Subscript is a data platform similar to Tableau, but it was built exclusively for leaders who want to dive deep into their B2B SaaS metrics. Subscript doesn’t try to be everything for everyone. Instead, it aims to be the best tool possible for a very specific audience.

✅ Pros

  • A modern tool custom-built for B2B SaaS: You get a leading-edge tool that’s always improving and was custom-built for your use case by experts in B2B SaaS. All of the metrics you might need are immediately at your fingertips, so you don’t have to think of everything to include in a custom Tableau dashboard.
  • Save time and get insights faster: When you use Subscript, you don’t have to wait months to have a Data Engineer build a custom dashboard—and then wait again every time you need to make updates or resolve errors. This means you can free up time for your data team to work on other projects. Plus, your finance team will no longer have to worry about wrangling data and instead can spend their time quickly uncovering insights. On average, finance teams save 20+ hours each month by using Subscript.
  • Reduced risk: The Subscript team is focused on making sure your data is accurate so you don’t risk presenting incorrect metrics to your board, executive team, or potential investors.

🚫 Cons

  • Another tool to purchase: Subscript is a standalone platform that’s only used for B2B SaaS metrics, so you won’t be able to simply purchase one tool that works for everyone and every use case in the company.

Let’s get into the details: Subscript features

We’ve described Subscript as a modern tool that was custom-built for B2B SaaS, but what exactly does that mean? And, what are the benefits to you?

Here are some features that every Subscript customer has access to that are difficult (or impossible) to replicate in Tableau.

💡 Automatic business insights

Subscript Insights will automatically tell you the types of customers that have a higher or lower NRR (Net Revenue Retention) for your business.

For example, if there’s an industry you serve with a below-average NRR, Subscript will tell you. It’s like magic!

Subscript automatically surfaces insights to help you guide your business.

🚨 Alerts to ensure your data is accurate

Inaccurate B2B SaaS metrics are dangerous to your business! They can lead to bad decisions, wasted time, and distrust from your board. That’s why Subscript will automatically alert you if any of your data looks unusual. You’ll have peace of mind and know that your metrics are accurate.

Subscript alerts you when data looks inaccurate.

🍴 Slice and dice your metrics with ease

Sure, knowing how much churn you had in a quarter is important. But, it’s not very helpful unless you know where that churn came from. Did large customers churn, or was it your smaller ones? Did customers churn off a specific product? Or, were they all in a certain geo?

Subscript makes it easy to examine your data from different angles so you don’t just know what happened, but you also know why it happened.

It's easy to slice and dice your B2B SaaS metrics in Subscript.

👷 Dive deep into your data

When you see an interesting piece of data in Subscript, you can click on it to get more information.

For example, you can click on your ARR number to see how much of it came from Existing, Upsell, New, Downsell, Churn, etc.

Then, you can click on your Upsell number to see those specific customers and discover what their revenue story has looked like over time.

Then, you can click on any of their contracts to get the details of the agreement.

It's easy to dive deep and "double click" into your data with Subscript.

🔲 Toggle between different ways of looking at your metrics

B2B SaaS businesses don’t always want to look at their metrics in exactly the same way.

For example, sometimes you want to look at CARR, and other times ARR will be more helpful.

Sometimes you’ll want to roll up all your metrics to a parent account, and other times you’re more interested in how each individual customer is performing.

Or, sometimes you’ll want to know your NRR when you include your usage-based revenue, and other times you’ll want that number to only consider your contractually recurring revenue.

That’s why there are toggles built into Subscript so you can easily look at your business in the way that makes the most sense for the question you’re trying to answer.

Toggles are built into dashboard so you look at your data the way that makes the most sense for your business.

👨 Understand how cohorts of your customers grow over time

In Subscript, it’s easy to build a cohort chart that shows you the monthly Net Revenue Retention of a group of customers based on when they started. Then, you can slice and dice that data by Size, Industry, Product, Geography, etc to know what actually impacts your NRR.

Quickly understand how cohorts of your customers are growing over time.


Tracking B2B SaaS metrics in Tableau is convenient if you’re already using the software. However, that doesn’t always make it the right choice.

Many companies will find that, despite the convenience, sticking with Tableau can be costly and can make it more challenging to uncover critical insights about the business.

Ready to learn more about Subscript?

If you’re interested in a modern way to track and share your B2B SaaS metrics that’s more robust than a spreadsheet—and more specialized than Tableau—then we’d love to talk!

Let us show you around the Subscript dashboard.