Salesforce Makes Splash With Wave for Big Data

Salesforce on Thursday launched Wave for Big Data, a tool that will help marketers and salespeople leverage customer data in the Salesforce Analytics Cloud.

Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks, New Relic, Informatica and Trifacta have signed on to the Salesforce Analytics Cloud Partner ecosystem.

Powered by the Wave platform, the Analytics Cloud will let business executives discover correlations and patterns across any combination of transactional data, such as CRM, ERP, finance and HR systems, as well as unstructured or semistructured big data sets.

“The goal for Salesforce Wave for Big Data is to give our customers as many options as possible to bring in the big data sources that may be relevant for them as they’re engaging with customers,” said Anna Rosenman, senior director of product marketing for the Analytics Cloud.

Each use case is different. In some instances, it may be preferable to use an ETL or data prep tool, such as Informatica or Trifacta, to bring data into the Analytics Cloud. In others, it might be preferable to use Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks, or New Relic to connect directly to the big data platform where the data is managed and processed.

Salesforce is working with its partners to build connectors and native integrations, Rosenman told CRM Buyer.

Working With the Analytics Cloud

A business user can bring both CRM data from Salesforce and product usage logs from, for example, Cloudera, into the Analytics Cloud and explore them in a single dashboard side by side — even on a smartphone — to get better insights into which cross-selling or upselling strategies would be most effective, Rosenman said.

The Analytics Cloud is designed around business users, while Cloudera is designed “primarily for data scientists, IT and developers,” and sales reps “would have no clue how to use a Cloudera solution,” she added.

“Cloudera is a Hadoop distribution that allows organizations to collect, store and process unlimited data,” said Clarke Patterson, senior director of product marketing at Cloudera.

Cloudera Enterprise “will work in combination with Salesforce Analytics to allow analytics on a much broader set of customer data than was previously possible,” he told CRM Buyer.

The integration with Salesforce Analytics Cloud “will enable a direct connection to Google Cloud Platform’s big data services,” Adam Massey, director of global cloud ecosystem and partnerships at Google, told CRM Buyer.

More About the Analytics Cloud

The Analytics Cloud was designed from the ground up to be open. Its ecosystem now encompasses more than 80 partners. It is generally available in English, and additional language support is in the works.

Salesforce in February released a mobile version of the Wave platform for iOS, and the Analytics Cloud mobile app is available for the iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch.

“Ultimately, we are driven by our customers, and so we have launched our first mobile app on iOS,” explained Rosenman. “We will continue to explore expanding to other mobile operating systems based on customer demand.”

Salesforce is targeting all types of customers, she noted.

Hello Brave New Data World

“This is a very important announcement, because it begins to bring structure to analytics and concretely demonstrates how many niches there are in the space,” remarked Denis Pombriant, principal at Beagle Research Group.

“It de-monolith-izes analytics,” he told CRM Buyer.

Analytics “has for a long time meant one thing applied to almost any need — sort of like that man with a hammer seeing the world’s problems as a nail,” Pombriant observed. “Now there are specific analytics solutions for specific business requirements, and the beginnings of analytics processes or analytics support for varying business processes.”

For example, marketers might want transaction data for analysis while service people might want uptake or use data.

Further, different business processes might have different time horizons, which support for specific processes can accommodate, Pombriant suggested, noting that “marketers want data instantly, while service people may need to look at a broader time span.”

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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