Salesforce Wave: The new Salesforce Analytics Platform

Salesforce Wave: The new Salesforce Analytics Platform

For those who missed the Dreamforce keynotes or the highlights of the marketing and promotional campaigns by Salesforce teams, here is a quick one-line summary – it was all about Salesforce Analytics Cloud.

Salesforce’s new analytics platform- the Salesforce Analytics Cloud powered by Wave platform, is its much awaited offering in its cloud based CRM product and it has already begun to generate a lot of interest. It may not be the best news for all the third party Salesforce analytics solutions but very reliable and comforting news for those who have been looking for a sound analytics platform for Salesforce.

What is Salesforce Analytics Cloud and why is it making waves?

Salesforce Analytics Cloud platform or simply Salesforce Wave is a complete cloud based data analytics platform designed to analyze not just your native Salesforce sales, marketing, and service data but also any other integrated third-party app data, desktop data or public data which you would wish to analyze on your platform.

The Salesforce Analytics Cloud was disclosed at this year’s Dreamforce 2014 conference in an enormous fashion. A complete floor at the Moscone Center was dedicated to this new platform at Dreamforce 2014. There were near about 30 companies on the floor showcasing their Salesforce ecosystem, highlighting how customers can customize and deploy Salesforce Analytics Cloud. Based on those demonstrations I can claim this new platform is going to solve a lot of time and effort by reducing the need to integrate third-party salesforce analytics solutions and dashboard customizations.

“It has the social dimensions of chatter, it has the work flow of the core product, it has the reporting capabilities of the native Salesforce analytics, and now I can change it all on the fly and look at it in different way in the mobile setting!! it’s the missing piece. It’s the key.”

– John Sabino (Senior Vice President General Electric)

With the launch of Salesforce Analytics Cloud platform, Salesforce has completed its SMAC stack (Social, Analytics, Mobile and Cloud). For those who were not able to guess, Salesforce Chatter is the Social part, Salesforce1 is the mobile part and Salesforce in itself is on cloud so it is the Cloud part. Also all these platforms are seamlessly integrated which means you can view your analytics reports on your mobile devices and send them to your colleagues using Salesforce Chatter, right from the mobile device itself.

Features of Salesforce Analytics Cloud

So what’s there on this Salesforce Analytics Cloud platform? Check out the highlights:

Search Based Design

Analysis is not possible until and unless you can search for the data. Based on this principle the Salesforce Analytics Platform is built solely to facilitate user database searches with easy-to-use user interfaces and robust internal search engines.

Flexible NoSQL based database

Salesforce Wave is built using a key-value-store, NoSQL database type. Since NoSQL databases have no predefined schemas or cubes or relational requirements to conform all its data models, users can easily and efficiently bring any third party data into their Salesforce databases.

Easy Data filters and data mashups

You can easily create custom dashboards in the Salesforce Analytics Platform and can intuitively mash different datasets to get the desired analytics picture. The platform went to great lengths to make the actions of measurement, filtering, grouping, viewing and sharing, as user friendly as possible.

Mobile First Platform

All features of the Salesforce Analytics Platform are available on mobile platforms as well. You can easily access you analytics data from your mobile and then even share your data representations and comments with your team right from your mobile.

Complete Seamless Integration

Analytics platform is seamlessly and robustly connected with all Salesforce platforms including Chatter, Salesforce1, and all Salesforce Cloud platforms.

Salesforce Cloud platform is not perfect

Salesforce analytics is a rich, responsive analytics platform which can be easily customized, connected and deployed everywhere instantly including all the mobile platforms. However, just like everything in the world, it’s not perfect. Here are its shortcomings:-

No Native Dataloader

You still need a third party data loader for importing data from external databases. Third party data loaders are not compatible with every database and can be buggy in the best of times. Good automated data loading solutions obviously cost some money on top of the already expensive Salesforce platform.

NoSQL means difficult legacy imports

As said earlier, Salesforce is built using NoSQL database. From our perspective it was an awesome move but not all companies prefer or require NoSQL databases. Also, NoSQL database means that importing databases from legacy relational database can be one big pain.

It’s very expensive

Here’s one good news for Salesforce data analytics providers– Salesforce wave platform is expensive. Pretty handsomely expensive indeed. So as long as you can manage your services under Wave’s fees you got a chance for your business. Salesforce Wave Platform Explorer user licenses will cost 125 USD per user per month where as Builder user licenses will cost 250 USD per user per month. That’s front end cost. It’s not mentioned on Salesforce website but sources tell that for backend infrastructure you may have to shell out $40000 (yep that’s 4 zeros) per company per month. Yes, expensive!

The First Version Blues

The product is still suffering from its first version blues. The actual capabilities of the platform are not well known. The platform boasts about its Salesforce Analytic Query Language(SAQL), a natively developed query language to navigate data. But if life cycles of other query languages are to be compared, SAQL still needs some time to mature.

Need a Salesforce consultant on Wave Platform?

Salesforce Wave Platform sounds promising but because of its price and still relatively unknown capabilities let’s not be too eager to switch to it yet. You need to do proper cost benefit analysis as well as requirement analysis before opting for the platform. We advise hiring experienced Salesforce Consultants to work out the math for you.

When the Salesforce Analytics Cloud platform was unveiled at Dreamforce 2014, Algoworks witnessed it all first-hand understanding carefully the capabilities of the platform. A lot of requests for Consultancy Services on Salesforce Analytics Cloud Platform have been served by us in the recent weeks. You may contact Algoworks for free consultation on of the same.

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Pratyush Kumar

Pratyush Kumar

Co-Founder & Director at Algoworks, Open-Source | Salesforce | ECM
Pratyush is Co-Founder and Director at Algoworks. He is responsible for managing, growing open source technologies team and has spearheaded more than 200 projects in Salesforce CRM alone. He provides consulting and advisory to clients looking for services relating to CRM(Customer Relationship Management) and ECM(Enterprise Content Management). In the past, Pratyush has held consulting roles with various global technology leaders, such as Globallogic & HCL in India. He holds an Engineering graduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.
Pratyush Kumar

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