So much happened in this year’s main Dreamforce Keynote that I can’t hope to describe it all. I’d really recommend watching the archived footage for yourself. Seldom has a software presentation been as action-packed: a luxury yacht, drone-delivered Coca-Cola, Will.I.Am. Even The Beach Boys (yes, really). But amid all the hoopla something very important happened to the world of business. This is what I want to focus on.
Described as the worst kept secret of recent years - not least because our CEO was so excited about it that he tweeted it ahead of time - Salesforce launched Wave: The Analytics Cloud. Ordinarily it would be hard to inspire much excitement about analytics, regardless of all the hype around Big Data. Numbers, graphs, dashboards and spreadsheets. But we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the stuff that actually drives most of our decisions.
According to a recent report from McKinsey Global Institute, decisions based on data-driven insights result in 23 times greater likelihood of customer acquisition, six times greater likelihood of customer retention and 19 times greater likelihood of profitability. As dry as this can all seem, we cannot deny that it fundamentally drives the way we move our business forward day to day. Yet it remains so elusive! Most employees don’t have access to a company’s vast reservoirs of data, and if they do they often lack the complex skills needed to manipulate it into what they need. Worse still, they rarely have access to it when they need it the most - on the road.
The Salesforce Analytics cloud is a product designed for everyone, and it is designed to work on mobile devices” Marc Benioff
Wave changes all of that, and I now understand why Marc was so excited about it he couldn’t keep it to himself! During a demo run by long-time Salesforce stalwart Alex Dayon in his characteristic French accent, we were shown the Dynamic Visualisation Engine where info is displayed in a way that helps you learn as you go. The interactive visualisation looks and feels more like a game than a graph - it actually does look fun to use. The high speed search-based query index displayed the free-form navigation of any type of data, structured or unstructured. Furthermore, it can draw data not just from Salesforce, but from SAP, Oracle and Microsoft too. The Analytics apps you can design so easily are mobile first which means they work across all devices, platforms and form factors - performing in a way that brings out the best of your hardware.
As Alex said, sales is team work and so we were also shown how well integrated the apps were with Chatter to make collaboration in real-time with your team on each and every data-point was easy and intuitive - and again mobile-friendly.
The mobile theme kept emerging. We all know how important having your finger on the pulse is when you are out of the office, as Ulrik Nehammer, the CEO of Coca-Cola Germany told the gripped Dreamforce audience during this brilliant video,
The office is the most dangerous place to make a decision”
Probably the highlight of the Wave demo was when Alex stepped aboard a luxury yacht nonchalantly deposited in the Moscone Centre Keynote Hall for a sales meeting with a representative from Brunswick boats - owner of the yacht and an important customer. With the words “...sometimes the mobile is a small screen to tell a big story” the Hawaiian Shirt-clad Frenchman Airplayed his Wave dashboard onto an LCD screen aboard the boat.
(Picture: courtesy of Charlie Isaacs)
A cute stunt admittedly, but one that demonstrated well the need we increasingly have to get easy access to numbers immediately, remotely and in a way that is easy to ask for and understand. With all this, Wave really is "analytics for the rest of us" as John Sabino, SVP Commercial Excellence - GE Capital, said in this video.
With the Internet of Things about to generate 50 times more product data by 2020, we are about to be hit by a wave (‘scuse the pun) of analytics and the companies and organisations that are able to best grasp what this data means, quicker than their competitors, will win.
Take a look at this exciting demo and decide for yourself...like me I hope you are hit by a wave of optimism about the future!
(Or take some time to watch the action yourself!)
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