08 July 2015

Analytics Cloud is for everyone. Here’s why.

This post was first published on the Slalom Thinking blog.

Screenshot of Analytics Cloud

For the past few years, we’ve been told that data is all around us, and that we’re now living in a world of “big data analytics.” And yet, there’s a big difference between having data and actually using it to run a business. 90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years, but only 0.5% of it has been analyzed. How do we tap into that unexplored data?

Last year Salesforce released Analytics Cloud at Dreamforce, claiming the product to be “the first cloud analytics platform designed for every business user.” A number of big businesses have signed on, but many have struggled to identify the value in yet another business intelligence initiative. No matter how powerful or easy to install, those legacy data silos or Excel spreadsheets will always require a whole set of BI analysts to extract and report on.

Business users need immediate insight into how they are performing and have the knowledge on how to access that data. Organizations that can drive this kind of real-time analysis and operational integration are the ones that derive the most revenue from their big data projects.

With that in mind, let’s examine the three main reasons why Analytics Cloud is such a big opportunity in our current environment.

1. It provides a 360-degree view.

One of the biggest trends in the CRM space today is the focus on CXM, or customer experience management. CXM takes a holistic view of how customers interact with the company from marketing to sales, service, and beyond. To support this, organizations need to consolidate data from multiple disparate sources, often requiring lengthy and costly conversion and integration with an on-premises server.

By leveraging the cloud-based, schema-free Wave platform with Google-like search capabilities, Analytics Cloud does away with much of this complexity. Once a dataset is loaded and indexed, users can immediately start exploring and augmenting it with other sources. With the advent of the Internet of Things just around the corner, this leads to management gaining a holistic view of the business and acting in real-time on customer insights across channels.

2. It’s whenever, wherever.

As business users become increasingly analytical and data-driven, the tools and information they require must be available and functional wherever they go. With already more than half of all our time online dedicated to mobile devices, Wave was developed specifically with those platforms in mind. Many desktop features are available on a mobile app that couples well with Salesforce’s security infrastructure. This provides a trustworthy and compelling experience no matter which device is used.

Picture this: you receive a large spreadsheet over email that you know contains the information you need, but you’re in the middle of a meeting and don’t have access to your desktop device. With the Analytics Cloud app, you upload that file without involving your IT or BI departments, and immediately start slicing-and-dicing the millions of rows of data in seconds. Before the end of the meeting, you’re presenting snappy animations and transforming the data immediately.

Screenshot of Analytics Cloud

3. It empowers your business.

When data is created at such a rapid pace, the only way to ensure that business decisions are accurately supported is by putting self-service analysis tools directly in the hands of users and managers. This immediate and intuitive experience is the driving force behind Analytics Cloud and many of its recent enhancements.

By providing interactive and engaging visualizations, the product enables users from all levels of the organization to collaborate and share their dashboards with the relevant stakeholders. With insight into both the sales and service organizations, sales reps can easily focus on their highest-value accounts while support agents can view product usage and highlight opportunities for growth.

Data analysts will always be needed to spot complex correlations and design predictive models, but ultimately they are not responsible for presenting and executing decisions based on the analysis. With Analytics Cloud, management can customize and visualize personalized reports in real-time, effectively paving the “last mile” to realizing the promise of big data.

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