Ever since the “analytics cloud” was leaked by CEO Marc Benioff on September 15th, technologists and industry experts have been trying to figure out exactly what Salesforce was planning to do. These guesses were exacerbated by the knowledge that Salesforce has long been rumored to be interested in improving its own analytics. After all, they had already acquired a visualization vendor, EdgeSpring, in June 2013.
But until now, the guesses and punditry were based purely on speculation. Now that Dreamforce has arrived, both Salesforce and its partners have started to clarify details about Wave, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, through public interviews and a series of press releases provided by companies joining the “Salesforce Analytics Cloud Ecosystem.” Some wondered if the analytics cloud would directly compete against BI vendors, while other guessed that it would simply be a stronger visualization layer. However, the announcements made this week are starting to provide focus to the true goals of the analytic cloud in a couple of ways.
First, a paragraph that all of these press releases share in common is their description of Wave, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud:
“Wave, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, is the first cloud analytics platform that enables admins, IT and developers to work closely with business leaders to empower everyone to make smarter, data-driven decisions in seconds. Natively integrated with Salesforce1 Platform, Salesforce Analytics Cloud benefits from the trusted platform and enables admins to quickly drag and drop Salesforce data to deploy sales, service and marketing analytics apps. In addition, developers and IT can use new Wave APIs and other data connectors to easily connect to any other data sources to build any custom analytics app for any business function, or embed analytics into an entirely new generation of analytics apps and connected products for customers.”
This initial description indicates that Salesforce is planning to take greater advantage of the sales, marketing, and service data that it already holds, but that partners will be doing a lot of the processing, integration, back-end, and possibly even some front-end work to support this Wave.
Second, there is already a broad ecosystem willing to partner with Salesforce on this new wave. To gain a quick sense of the breadth and depth of this ecosystem, take a look at some of the vendors that have made an announcement on Monday, October 13th: 6Sense, Appirio, Apttus, Betterworks, BMC, C9, Cloud Sherpas, Dell Boomi, Dun & Bradstreet, FinancialForce, FirstRain, Fliptop, Gainsight, Informatica, InsideSales, Kenandy, Lattice Engines, Mindtouch, Model N, Mulesoft, Predixion, PTC, PwC, TalentObjects by Lumesse, and Wise.io.
These vendors break down into several basic categories: sales and marketing metrics, advisory and consultancy firms, customer behavior solutions, integration vendors, enterprise applications, and talent management. All of these capabilities are well established as either part of the direct or indirect services surrounding Salesforce’s core Customer Relationship Management functionality. Because of this, it seems more likely that Salesforce Wave will end up being very focused on line of business analytics rather than the traditional worlds of business intelligence and data management.
What will this mean for your business? In an upcoming Market Alert, Blue Hill will continue to analyze these announcements and discuss how the emergence of Salesforce’s Wave will impact key technical, financial, and operational stakeholders.