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What Is Data Cloud?

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Data Cloud makes it easy for every business to make sense of all their data from any system, channel, or data stream.

Data Cloud is the foundation of Customer 360, giving every team the ability to unlock better customer relationships by acting on unified data.

Data Cloud is a hyperscale data platform built directly into Salesforce – enabling you to  bring together all your company and customer data. Unifying your data onto Data Cloud ensures that every employee can quickly and easily act on comprehensive and near real-time information about your customers and avoid scenarios like these…

Have you ever called a support line and spent unnecessary time talking the agent through your purchase history to get the right level of support? Or how about browsing through an ecommerce site only to see the online retailer recommend the shoes you just bought last week? These are familiar scenarios for most of us. We expect our experiences to be connected, personalized, and updated in near real time. When they aren’t, we’re disappointed.

And the reality is that we shouldn’t be – especially when you consider that globally, data volume doubles every 12 hours. That’s a wealth of data available to businesses that can be used to enhance customer experiences. Data Cloud enables every organization to make sense of all its data, no matter where it comes from – apps, systems, channels, images, and even PDFs.  

Data Cloud brings data together from every step in the customer experience, creating a unified customer profile. Then, that near real-time customer profile can be used to instantly create an unprecedented level of personalization.

Data Cloud demo view.
Data Cloud provides a complete view into all of your data, no matter where it resides.

What is the business impact of Data Cloud?

Here are a few scenarios that show how organizations can use Data Cloud to improve the customer experience:

  • A banking customer has been frequently overdrafting on his debit card. Using Financial Services Cloud and Data Cloud, the bank picks up on this customer’s transaction patterns and starts a personalized marketing journey for them that explains how they might be able to save on fees with a credit card fit for their spending habits. 
  • A customer whose vehicle needs repair reaches out to his dealership. With Data Cloud and Service Cloud together, the dealership accesses the customer’s profile (including warranty information), determines coverage, and creates a service appointment for customer with repair details. The dealer then proactively starts the claim process with insurance as soon as the customer is pre-approved before coming in for their visit. 
  • A customer calls a service hotline about a problem with a product. Because the business uses Data Cloud and Service Cloud together, this triggers an automatic action pausing all marketing and sales interactions until the problem is resolved. As a result, the customer is spared from the kind of everyday, annoying interactions that drive customers away – like getting an email offer to buy the very product the customer is having a problem with.
  • A personalized offer on a website changes instantly because of something the shopper just clicked in a marketing email. Because the company uses Data Cloud and Marketing Cloud, that offer immediately is now more relevant than the one that would have been served before clicking through on the email.  
  • A patient has an urgent healthcare need. When milliseconds matter most, their healthcare provider can deliver proactive guidance and care recommendations with access to near real-time patient data. 

With Data Cloud, organizations across any industry can use a unified profile and real-time data to unlock relevant insights and deliver more personalized experiences. Milliseconds make all the difference in all of these experiences. The cost of not keeping up could be lost sales opportunities, poor reviews on social media, a disconnect in healthcare delivery, and much more.

Is this a customer data platform (CDP)?

Customer data platforms, which have historically been more of a tool for marketers, unite siloed data into a shared view. Data Cloud takes this further by funneling a nearly infinite amount of dynamic data to Customer 360 in near real time and enabling teams to act on it. This means your customer data is continuously updating with new data from any customer touchpoint, faster than ever.

Everything in this unified customer profile record is visible and actionable across Salesforce’s entire suite of products, including all industry solutions. You can also build custom apps that take advantage of Data Cloud, allowing you to meet customer expectations for apps that reflect their behavior in near real time.

Data Cloud supports marketing, sales, service, commerce, Tableau data analytics, MuleSoft integration platform, and more. 

Because Data Cloud can access data in near real time, at massive scale, with unified profiles, it also enables: 

  • Trusted AI solutions that can react to changes to your data, as they happen 
  • Automated workflows that can adapt in an instant based, on new data
  • An unprecedented level of accuracy in analytics 

What’s new and innovative here?

There are two major things that differentiate Data Cloud. 

The first is that Data Cloud is natively built into the Salesforce Platform. This allows your organization to map data from any system to the Salesforce metadata model. Once mapped, all of a company’s data can be activated using low-code and no-code tools, thereby enabling workflows, automations, AI, and analytics.

Other customer data platforms on the market focus only on marketing or commerce. That represents a fraction of the interactions customers have with your brand. It’s impossible to give your customers the experiences they’re looking for when you’re basing your engagements on only a fraction of what your company knows about them.

The second differentiator is that Data Cloud is built to handle massive scales of data in near real time, which means it collects and unifies data in milliseconds and lets brands act instantly. The action could be a product offer for something a customer is looking at right now (versus something they already purchased last week), or a service interaction for a problem a customer is having at that moment – creating a new level of customer experience that has not been possible until now. From a service rep who doesn’t know a customer is calling about a purchase they made yesterday, to marketing emails advertising a credit card the customer already has, people experience the impact of this “data disconnect” every day. 

Near real-time, connected data that uses the advantages of the Salesforce metadata model is a game changer in all these scenarios. And Data Cloud is the first product to provide that.

How does Data Cloud work?

Data Cloud is part of the Einstein 1 Platform, the engine that powers the entire Customer 360. The addition of Data Cloud into the Einstein 1 Platform enables you and your team to gain a complete understanding of your customer, based on insights from all of your data. Data Cloud has four key capabilities that make this possible:

Details on how Data Cloud works on granular level.
With Data Cloud, your organization can build powerful, comprehensive profiles of your customers.

1. Data Cloud connects to every data source

First, Data Cloud lets you easily combine your data on Salesforce with data from any other external source to create a trusted, comprehensive view of your customer. Use pre-built connectors or our zero-copy integrations to quickly pull in data from across your enterprise that’s trapped in platforms like AWS, Snowflake, and Google Big Query.

2. Data Cloud harmonizes your data

Next, since Data Cloud is purpose-built on Salesforce, it helps you take advantage of integrating all your data to our standard metadata model. Once integrated into the model, companies can access and use any of this data directly inside Salesforce applications — like Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. Unlike other data solutions that are difficult to use when harmonizing disparate data into a singular model, Salesforce makes data harmonization incredibly easy through point-and-click mapping and pre-configured Data Bundles that automatically map your data for you.

3. Data Cloud makes it easy to activate your data

Finally, with Data Cloud, teams can transform messy, hard-to-use data that’s scattered across your enterprise into a unified resource. Data Cloud makes it easy to use your data to build data-driven automations and business processes. With seamless integrations to both Salesforce applications and popular external destinations, like first-party advertising platforms, teams can activate experiences powered by Data Cloud in virtually any environment where their work takes place.

4. Data Cloud creates comprehensive and accurate profiles for every customer

Once you’ve harmonized your data in Data Cloud, you can now develop a complete understanding of your customers by creating Unified Profiles. The profiles represent a single accurate and comprehensive record for every customer that will update over time, as more data is collected. And with Data Cloud’s Identity Resolution capabilities, companies can create flexible rule-sets to ensure they aren’t double counting or misidentifying customers.

How does Data Cloud keep data secure and what data ethics standards are in place?

The Salesforce vision for Data Cloud is to lead the industry on privacy and data ethics via best-in-class consent management, policy automation, and more. In collaboration with our Office of Ethical and Humane Use, Data Cloud is designed with privacy and data ethics best practices from the ground up. Most importantly, the Salesforce Platform adds a layer of data policy management to Data Cloud to make it possible for customers to keep their data safe and meet regulatory compliance requirements globally.

Sanjna Parulekar
Sanjna Parulekar Vice President, Product Marketing

Sanjna leads product marketing for emerging products at Salesforce.

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