Salesforce Reveals Gen-2 Wave Analytics Cloud

Almost a year after Salesforce dived into the realm of analytics and big data processing, the CRM giant on Monday unveiled the second-generation version of Wave, its analytics cloud, offering partners and customers the ability to initiate actions and better visualize data and a range of third-party analytic tools.

Anna Rosenman, senior director of product marketing for the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, told CRN that the coming year will be one defined by analytics -- and Salesforce has now positioned itself to be a dominant force in that realm.

"When we launched Wave, we were really entering a market new to Salesforce," Rosenman told CRN. "And it was really a market, in our opinion, and our customers' opinion, that was really in need of disruption."

[Related: Salesforce Delivers First App Built On Its Shiny New Wave Analytics Platform]

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Wave was in development for two years before its launch, she said. In that time, "we saw a lot of analytics tools in the market that weren't meeting the needs of a very important customer -- the business user," Rosenman told CRN.

The tools and platforms that were available all seemed to have been designed for data scientists and pro analysts. They weren't simple and easy to use; they weren't mobile, she said.

With Wave, companies are "starting to arm their front-office employees with analytics and data in a way that before was impossible," Rosenman told CRN.

Since the platform's launch a year ago, Salesforce has received a large amount of feedback from customers about how it can continue innovating, she said.

Salesforce just completed its "Summer of Apps" with the introduction of the Sales Wave and Service Wave mobile apps. Those tools allowed customers to turn data into insights. Looking ahead, 2016 will be about turning insights into actions, she said.

Wave Actions does just that by offering functionality that empowers Wave Apps users to immediately initiate actions that push directly into the Salesforce platform, she said.

The second innovation new to Wave allows customers to better visualize data. Wave Visualizations allows key metrics to appear as attractive visual representations inside reports and dashboards. And customers can embed Wave dashboards or charts directly into Salesforce objects. The visualization capability works across the entire Salesforce platform, including with the Lightning application building tool released a few weeks ago.

"We took the reports and dashboards from all the clouds, and gave them all the same charts that customers love in Wave," Rosenman told CRN.

Finally, a number of Salesforce technology partners have built with the Wave Analytics Platform, and are now ready to deliver analytic apps that extend Salesforce's analytics cloud.

"Wave was designed to make analytics consumer-friendly, beautiful, easy to use," Rosenman said. "From the moment we announced wave, we had a number of partners that jumped into our ecosystem head-first."

Mike Martin, solution architect at Appirio who's been honored as a Salesforce MVP, told CRN the Indianapolis-based systems integrator is looking forward to bringing to its customers the new capabilities.

"Since its launch, Salesforce Analytics Cloud has provided a fast platform for customers to slice and dice live data sets," Martin said.

The introduction of actionable intelligence and deeper integration with the core Salesforce CRM product will "allow our customers to act on Salesforce data stored within Wave Analytics, creating tasks, calls and follow-up records to improve productivity," Martin told CRN.

"Analytics and data are the great equalizer," Rosenman told CRN. "The more insights, the faster you can get answers, the more you understand your business, customers, technology, product and services you can deliver, the more you can thoughtfully pivot your strategy and also your day-to-day habits," Rosenman told CRN.