First, don’t let the word “just” in my headline mislead you; Sales and Marketing are and always will be critical to a company’s growth. Advancements in big data and analytics will continue to improve the speed and efficiency with which we evangelize and sell new products and services -- and it’s a beautiful thing.

But it’s nothing new, necessarily. For the past few years, analysts, executives, and geeks like me have been talking about the large and growing impact of advanced analytics on the sales and marketing lines of business.

Here’s what we haven’t been talking about, though: the powerful ways in which analytics are beginning to penetrate entirely new lines of business and industries -- and the fact that purpose-built analytics apps are largely responsible for driving this transformation. With Wave, we are reinventing analytics by arming business users with actionable insights that are embedded into their daily workflows. We’re creating citizen analysts.

And we couldn’t do this without our partners. Today, 20 new Wave Analytics Partner Apps went live in the AppExchange, and with them, the ability to empower every single business user with the insights they need to do their jobs smarter and faster.

Here are three ways Wave Apps are already providing tangible business impact:

1. Wave Apps help retailers prevent inventory theft.

In the retail industry, inventory shrink -- the difference between the amount of inventory a retailer thinks they have and what they actually have -- is a $100 billion dollar a year problem globally. That’s why Lids Sports Group, a leading American specialty apparel retailer with over 1,000 stores, employs a loss prevention team who’s engaged throughout the organization proactively identifying ways to reduce loss. With vast amounts of data stored across numerous back-end systems, providing unified self-service analytics for a traveling team of loss prevention professionals is imperative. ThinkLP, a Salesforce ISV Partner, has just launched a new Wave app that provides insights across all loss prevention related datasets including hundreds of millions of rows of data in order to help identify potential fraud issues such as discount abuse, POS exceptions, refund fraud, and more. Wave’s action framework can instantly alert a loss prevention manager to these exceptions on her mobile device so that she can easily take action from wherever she is, and provide prescriptive actions to store managers to take immediate action. The effects of increased speed to insight and prescriptive analytics yields millions of dollars of savings annually.

2. Wave Apps help the communications industry deliver better customer experiences.
Communications service providers face the challenge of delivering a powerful customer experience that increases loyalty, while continually managing their cost to serve. Achieving this delicate balance requires smart, actionable analytics —and taking action for continuous process

Improvement. A new Wave app from Salesforce ISV partner Vlocity monitors the click-stream from every contact center interaction and generates actionable insight that helps service providers deliver a better experience and make better decisions. Service providers in communications and media can identify the drivers of customer churn, evaluate call handling metrics and the performance of different call scripts and agent teams. And since it’s built on Wave, managers can take instant action.

3. Wave Apps help professional service teams keep client projects on track.

Keeping close tabs on project performance – including delivery, costs, and staffing, reduces risk and boosts client success. Professional services analytics delivers visibility into how projects

are progressing, and flags issues. It’s the key to making on-the-fly adjustments, keeping projects on track and most importantly, maximizing client satisfaction. ISV Partner FinancialForce’s Professional Services Automation (PSA) Wave App delivers dashboards that provide information into every aspect of a services business, with content tailored to every role from VP to Project Manager. Multiple perspectives by customer, regions, practices, and groups from a single project to the entire portfolio make it easier than ever to get business insight, take smarter actions, and improve overall predictability.