Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion about harnessing the power of big data and using analytics to further the goals of businesses. The problem is that it has been difficult to access the key information that is typically stored in multiple databases to use analytics in a meaningful manner. Access was often restricted to only the most technical-savvy users, while others had to wait for assistance or hire someone to develop reports or queries.
Why Focus on Analytics?
Traditionally, the most successful businesses have been those who could gain the best insight from historical data. Although this aspect of marketing analysis is still important, it is no longer sufficient by itself. The pace of business has increased dramatically in recent decades, and success now requires predictive analysis as well. Furthermore, customers today expect to receive a personalized experience, regardless of the channel. The only way to truly accomplish these tasks is to have a holistic view of the business and its customers — and to have it in near real-time.
Salesforce has taken a major step toward democratizing analytics with its Analytics Cloud, dubbed Wave. Wave was developed as a mobile-first platform with a user interface inspired by those used in video games. What this means is that it is device-independent, fast and easy to learn. Salesforce Wave makes it possible for all users to have access to the data they need — when they need it — but that is only part of what the platform can offer.
Spans Multiple Organizations or Lines
In the modern world, it is common for an enterprise to have multiple companies, locations or product lines. Various Salesforce apps may be used that have been customized to meet specific needs. In the past, consolidating data to generate a complete view of customer transactions, campaign effectiveness or other pertinent information has been difficult or impossible. Salesforce Wave uses a NoSQL database that is capable of storing any data, whether structured or unstructured. This allows data sets to be joined regardless of the source.
Integrates with Back-end Databases
Virtually any legacy database can be integrated with Wave. There is no need to migrate existing data to Salesforce — there are numerous configurations for data residing in Salesforce, including an option to keep all data on-premises. Data such as customer preferences, demographics and purchase history can remain intact, but it can be easily accessed by those who need the data, regardless of their current location.
Helps Align Sales and Marketing
Keeping sales and marketing properly aligned has historically been a challenge. Salesforce Wave simplifies the task with a variety of reports to measure leads and campaign success. Sales managers can easily determine what is in the pipeline, view KPIs by rep, accurately forecast sales or quickly view emerging trends.
Designed to Optimize Display for Device
Mobile-first development allows displays that automatically adjust for the device currently in use. Dashboards, reports and queries display differently, depending on device. For example, on a desktop screen, a report might feature three different types of graphs, such as a pie chart, bar and line graph, as well as a key to interpret the colors. On a smartphone, the display might show only one type of graph and buttons to switch to a different graph. Regardless of device, drilling down, running “what-if” scenarios or changing reports is easy, thanks to the user-friendly navigation layout.
Salesforce Wave has the potential to significantly alter the world of business intelligence. Instead of restricting access to analytics to the few, Wave gives the “power to the masses.” Users who need the data immediately no longer need to wait for IT to provide them data that is likely stale by the time it is received. Furthermore, the ability to retrieve data from various sources brings an end to compartmentalized data that is impossible to integrate for a complete picture. In short, Salesforce Wave allows users to leverage data to its utmost — and after all, is that not the reason behind collecting the information in the first place?