Salesforce Aims to Bring Big Data Insights to Sales and Marketing with New Partnerships. How Will it Work?

Salesforce has recently announced an expansion of its Analytics Cloud platform, forming partnerships with leading firms in the cloud and big data industries such as Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks, Informatica, Trifacta and New Relic. Aiming to put greater customer insights at the fingertips of sales professionals, Salesforce Wave for Big Data enables customers to unlock value from analytics in order to transform customer relationships, the company said. The Analytics Cloud is based on the company’s Wave platform, which was launched last October, and updated with mobile capabilities earlier this year. According to Salesforce, the company was hearing from customers that they wanted to bring other types of data into Wave besides what was available on the Salesforce platform:  “We live in a hyper-competitive world, and big data must deliver big value across every part of the business,” said Keith Bigelow, SVP & GM of Analytics Cloud, Salesforce. “Salesforce Wave for Big Data will connect the Analytics Cloud to the industry’s most comprehensive ecosystem of big data innovators—now every company can extend any data source to business users to transform every customer relationship.”

But wait, creative Wave users were already able to pull this type of data into Wave. Why is this ‘news’?

Well, while it was possible for users to obtain that type of data prior to these ‘connectors’, it was a lot of work, and to the average user would usually deem unnecessary, considering the amount of time and expertise it required. With this expansion, Salesforce aims to bring big data analytics and insights to every user with the click of a button: the integration with Google, for instance, can have marketing managers use Salesforce Wave for Big Data to analyze the correlations between customer profiles in Salesforce and actual customer engagement data from the Google Cloud Platform, such as purchases, clickstream and mobile app usage. Equipped with that information, the manager could better optimize marketing expenditures and boost customer acquisition, Salesforce said. With the Hortonworks integration, on the other hand, a retail bank associate could explore volumes of operational, transactional and balance data stored in Hadoop to better understand local economic trends and provide new services. So, while I suppose Salesforce will try to make it as user-friendly as possible, these big data platform tend to fit more with data scientist and developers. Do average Wave users even know what questions to ask in order to access the right data? They might not know what types of information exist within a big company or what tools IT is even using. It seems that for that purpose Salesforce also announced partnerships with data preparation providers Trifacta and Informatica, which will transform big data into a usable form for business customers. Both firms provide tools that take and process data from Hadoop. Trifacta enables users to discover, structure, clean and enrich data, while Informatica provides a library of prebuilt data integration transformation capabilities. Salesforce says more than 80 partners have joined the Analytics Cloud ecosystem, which is now generally available in English; additional language support is forthcoming, it says. The Analytics Cloud mobile app is available on Apple iOS for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, with additional device support in the works.    
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.