At Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce.com has announced a major move into the analytics market with Wave, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud.
“This is the biggest announcement we have made in years,” said Anna Rosenman, Director of SalesForce Analytics Cloud. “We are entering an entirely new market.”
Rosenman said that traditional business analytics tools are ill-equipped to handle today’s masses of unstructured data.
“For decades, analytics has been about rows and columns,” she said. “Now, much of the data isn’t traditional. It’s coming on social networks. The traditional solutions can’t ingest unstructured or multi- structured data. None of them have connected all these different data types to people who need them quickly and immediately.”
Rosenman said that two years ago, Salesforce.com considered whether they could do for analytics what they did for the cloud. The result was a two year engineering mission, Project Wave, which will go live October 20.
Wave, Rosenman said, is completely different from any other cloud analytics platform out there.
“It is designed for the everyday business person, not PhDs,” she said. “It is for any data, structured or unstructured, and it is designed for smartphone and tablet form factors.
Rosenman said the design principle behind Wave is also unique.
“It borrowed from the form factor of games like Angry Birds, and this is applied to the platform, so it is an intuitive rather than static response,” she said. Like Google, it can handle unstructured or multi structured data by using what Rosenman called a search-based capability.
“The core of the platform is an inverted index combined with a columnar store, which we built with or own technology, which creates a massively parallel processing cloud scale infrastructure,” she said. Indexed search and a powerful computing engine are combined into a single, vertically-integrated cloud analytics platform that creates a dynamic user experience. Rosenman compared it to using a consumer travel app where users can filter commercial flights or hotels in seconds. A demo of Wave showed the relative ease by which users can build and deliver mash-ups of third party data sources into a single dashboard, to identify data correlations that ignite business actions.
Wave also enables social collaboration, and dashboards can be shared via Salesforce Chatter or kick off new workflows and tasks based upon the insights.
Rosenman said Wave was also designed for modern mobile form factors.
“We are going to market with a passion for all things mobile,” she said. “The interface is not a 17 by 11 paper smooshed into a phone.”
Wave will go to market through an ecosystem of partners – over 30 at launch – including integration partners, consulting partners, predictive partners who build Wave on top of their own solutions, and ISV partners who embed it within their solutions.
Data integration experts include Dell Boomi, Informatica, Jitterbit and MuleSoft have joined the ecosystem to enable customers to seamlessly integrate any structured or unstructured data sets, including on-premise SAP and Oracle data or machine and social data. System integration partners include Accenture, Appirio, Deloitte and PwC. Independent software and predictive analytics vendors include Axeda, Dun & Bradstreet, FinancialForce and Predixion.
“There’s a huge amount of opportunity for partners because it’s a completely open platform with a variety of use cases,” Rosenman said.
“SIs bring a world of best practices into this market, and Wave is idea for VARs and SIs who can take advantage of the new technology,” she added. “We worked closely with big integrators on this.”
Wave becomes Salesforce’s sixth cloud, and while it obviously is optimized for Salesforce CRM users, it will integrate with any vendor’s CRM platform.
“You don’t have to be a Salesforce1 customer to use Wave,” Rosenman said. “It can be combined with any CRM product, but it is native to Salesforce, with excellent sharing functions.”