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Salesforce Wave – the analytics tool to woo the marketers?

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13th Oct 2014
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Back in September, Marc Benioff dropped the bomb on Twitter regarding Salesforce’s big announcement for this year’s Dreamforce extravaganza. Now it’s official – the company has launched its ‘sixth cloud’, a data analytics platform called Wave, on the eve of the event’s kick-off.

The platform will integrate with Salesforce1 and provide a drag-and-drop dashboard experience for businesses to glean more insight from their data, through different devices.

So is this good news for marketing professionals? Salesforce’s rhetoric has shifted towards its Marketing Cloud in the build-up to this year’s Dreamforce, and although some industry commentators suggest the product will serve as a tool for sales professionals to join up the dots of their customer data, there’s also a feeling that this will be just as beneficial for marketers.

“We’re very focused on the CRM market today, so launching an analytics cloud is a departure from our core market,” said Alex Dayon, the company’s head of products, in an interview via Bloomberg – suggesting that the topic of ‘who for’ is yet unclear.

What is clear is that data analytics is big business. In 2013 the market was reported to total $37.7 billion, while in comparison, CRM generated $20.5 billion in revenue – not a figure to be scoffed at, but at the same time, proof that data tools require some level of stand-alone focus.

“Salesforce is disrupting the analytics market, just as we disrupted the CRM industry 15 years ago,” the enigmatic CEO said in his press statement. “We’re not only connecting companies with customers in a whole new way with our Customer Success Platform, we’re empowering companies to know their customers like never before with the groundbreaking Wave Analytics Cloud.”

The data analytics war is on. IBM recently confirmed that it would be making its supercomputer, Watson, available as an analytics tool for business users, while Adobe has been taking big strides in its drive towards putting data insights at the centre of its Marketing Cloud, ever since it acquired Omniture back in 2009.   

As a result, Boris Evelson, VP and principal analyst for Forrester, believes Salesforce’s entrance into the market is timely:

"Much has been made of Salesforce.com being late to the analytics market," Boris Evelson said.

"However, a new analytics product would immediately move to the short list of every company working on SFDC BI-based initiatives because it provides seamless out-of-the-box integration with SFDC data. But will a new product from SFDC in the analytics space move it to market leader? We recommend a wait-and-see attitude out of the gate."       

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