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Salesforce.com Takes Wraps Off 'Wave,' Its First Foray Into Red-Hot Analytics Market

Salesforce.com is jumping into the market for cloud-based business analytics for the first time, and partners say new Wave technology could dramatically expand their business scope.

Salesforce.com is diving into the red-hot market for big data analytics technology with Wave, a new cloud-based service that promises to let customers tap into the mountains of data they're generating and get their jobs done faster.

Wave, which made its debut at the opening of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco Monday, is the vendor's bid to simplify big data analytics and make it more easily accessible to sales, services and marketing workers.

The big data craze has made organizations aware of the value that lies within large data stores. But many organizations are still scrambling to get a handle on how to use it, and that's the problem Wave was designed to address.

Related: 7 Ways Hewlett-Packard Plans To Keep Pace With Industry Changes

Wave is a search-based platform that handles any type of data that businesses need to work with, from SAP and Workday to unstructured data such as emails, videos and social media data, Anna Rosenman, director of the Salesforce Analytics Cloud business, said in an interview last week.

"The key to that is making it easy for customers to use this data," Rosenman told CRN. "Wave is a platform for all your business data."

Wave, the culmination of a two-year engineering effort, is designed to be easily accessible on mobile devices. Salesforce.com expects partners and customers to use Wave to build mobile apps that pull in data from multiple different sources, said Rosenman.

Salesforce.com has a big ecosystem already set up around Wave, which includes ISVs, "predictive" partners, consulting partners and integration partners, said Rosenman.

Two Salesforce.com partners told CRN they think Wave could lead to a significant expansion of business opportunities.

"Our addressable market might have just doubled," said Malcom Smith, director of the data and integration practice at Cloud Sherpas, an Atlanta-based Salesforce.com partner.

Smith said he's bullish on Wave because analytics is a huge market and his customers are eager to use the technology.

"When we spoke with customers during the pre-release stage, they were very happy to hear that Salesforce is doing an analytics product on its own platform, as opposed to doing it through a third party," Smith said.

Chris Barbin, CEO of Appirio, a San Francisco-based Salesforce.com partner, told CRN he believes Wave could potentially account for half of the revenue Appirio generates with the vendor.

But Barbin said Appirio initially will go to market with a handful of Wave-related offerings, as it works with customers to develop strategies for using analytics technology. "We don't want to do analytics for analytics' sake," he said.

PUBLISHED OCT. 13, 2014

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