Salesforce recently launched Wave, a new Business Intelligence & Analytics platform. With more than approximately 25 million users and 100,000 customers, Salesforce users are surely excited with the news about Wave, with hope and optimism that it will enhance their BI and analytics capabilities.
Gartner analysts wrote shortly following the announcement of Wave that “Salesforce.com’s entry into the BI and analytics market is likely to accelerate cloud BI adoption by BI and analytics leaders,” and that “Wave’s launch will offer an alternative to existing cloud BI offerings for BI and analytics leaders whose companies need to integrate and analyze salesforce.com data.”
So with that said, I wanted to take a quick look at 3 of the most important about Wave that you should be aware of.
The User Experience
Anna Rosenman, Director of Salesforce Analytics Cloud, said that the focus of the design of Wave was to ensure an “addictive and intuitive experience”. Experience is a core part to an interface – it can either make or break programs. Thus, Salesforce has spent a significant portion to improving graphic design and enhancing the user experience, taking care to avoid rows and columns that may turn off potential users. Customers are increasingly becoming bored with traditional set ups and are looking for new ways to visualize and conceptualize data. With the introduction of Wave and its reimagined visual interface, it paves a new generation of more user friendly design. The interface was programmed to be mobile first, thus creating the app in a visually appealing way that works well on mobile. It shows enough information without cluttering up the space that a mobile device can provide. It is set up in a way that even those unfamiliar with technology will be able to navigate around the app, which is crucial to retaining users. It is also possible to customize Wave extensively to a user’s liking, further strengthening the user experience.
Wave is based on a NoSQL database, which means that you can use any third party app data, public data or desktop data. Since Salesforce does not have its own data-integration tools, this capability of drawing in third party apps becomes valuable, as businesses can use integration partners to help with this process.
Furthermore, prior to the release of Wave, Salesforce only ran about 3000 servers globally. This is equivalent to the size of a single Facebook Hadoop cluster. This was a downside as it was not nearly as powerful or capable as what was required from its customers. However, with Wave, a Salesforce engineer wrote a High Scalability stating, “15, 000+ hardware systems and more than 22 petabytes of raw storage capacity”, which is a significant upgrade from the relatively small capabilities that Salesforce used to have. Although, it does not reach the peak that big companies like Google and Microsoft can withstand, the dramatic expansion of Wave highlights that Salesforce acknowledges that more space is required in order to serve its users and store and analyze their data.
Moreover, Wave integrates well with Chatter, Data.com data and Radian6 social data, showing the immense capabilities that Wave holds.
Wave Is Secure And Cloud-Based
Although many competitors have critiqued Wave as a simple data-visualization tool that exists solely for sales data, this perception – at least at first glance – seems to be inaccurate. Wave includes a back-end data-management service, alongside a developer/power user and end-user-facing query-and-analysis lense. These services work together to allow users to be capable of data exploration and dashboards, so users can report issues and bugs and note key performance indicators.
Wave also includes all the security solutions from the Salesforce platform, which has been regarded as highly secure. For instance, Eric Johnson, a VP of commercial sales, asserted that Wave was able to meet the standards of data security and data privacy requirements, such as being able to analyze confidential data and maintain it on the business’ side of the firewall.