How does Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud fit into its new Wave Analytics platform?

On day two of Salesforce’s Dreamforce Conference, CEO Marc Benioff officially unveiled the Wave Analytics Cloud, an all-encompassing data platform that companies can use to house and access data from across all its divisions and practices.

Benioff launched his keynote with a sharp jab at his competitors.

“IBM Cognos, SAP Business Objects and Oracle Hyperion, they’re all still delivering solutions with data products of the past,” said Benioff. “That’s why they are all turning over their CEOs.”

Benioff then introduced the Wave Analytics Cloud, the latest component of Salesforce’s newly oriented Customer Success Platform. That’s a holistic, integrated view of all of product offerings including its Sales, Service and Marketing Clouds as well as its Apps, and Community solutions.

The Wave Analytics Cloud essentially allows all a company’s data sources to be housed in a single, accessible store. That could include sales data, marketing data, HR and services as well as any other inputs that could contribute to business intelligence. 

In a product demo, Salesforce’s president of products Alex Dayon showcased the simple, playful user interface of Wave, which seamlessly displayed all types of data in a number of visualizations. Wave is also optimized for mobile and tablet devices, with an added AirPlay feature that projects the mobile screen onto a TV.

The best way to view Wave Analytics Cloud is as a quick resource for data that can be accessed anytime on any device. It’s especially useful for sales people going out on daily calls with retailers or distributors, or for customer service reps who need to access data from different departments. The search function in the interface proved to be incredibly fast in the demo, and the data representations were easy-to-understand and manipulate. As Dayon explained, the goal was to put analytics in the hands of regular business users, empowering them to make quick decisions wherever they or the customers are, instead of waiting for HQ. “You don’t need a database, this is all unstructured data,” said Dayon. “Every single sales or marketing person can use this platform”

In terms of the marketing cloud, this is simply another place that hosts customer interaction data that is already being gathered in the ExactTarget platform. ExactTarget’s  still remains the place where marketers would access customer data, create segments or journeys and target them using relevant content. However, the Wave analytics could give that same marketer a place to access that data, represent it in visualizations and cross reference it with sales data, all through using their mobile. 

In a sense, we can’t compare IBM’s Watson Analytics or Oracle’s Data Cloud to Wave, since it has a much larger scope than either of those two platforms. IBM and Oracle’s data platforms are geared towards using analytics to optimize marketing and commerce efforts, while Wave is much more of a plug-and-play platform that gathers all types of data from across the company and makes it actionable for regular users.

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