Constellation Insights

While the technology isn't entirely new, Salesforce's just-launched Einstein Analytics marks the next path forward in its AI and advanced analytics strategy. 

Previously branded as Salesforce's Wave analytics, the suite "adds a layer of artificial intelligence to the entire analytics workflow, automatically surfacing CRM insights and recommending actions to accelerate sales, improve customer service and optimize marketing campaigns," as the company puts it.

Salesforce has also rebranded its BeyondCore product as Einstein Discovery. It acquired BeyondCore, maker of an automated data analytics platform, last year. Einstein Discovery can analyze data from various sources, such as databases, Hadoop clusters and CSV files, and then derive insights displayed in dashboards it calls "stories," which include explanatory natural language narratives. The capabilities can help sales reps, agents, marketers and other roles improve customer interactions through predictive insights and prescriptive recommendations, Salesforce says.

Einstein Analytics also includes role-specific applications for sales, service and marketing. These existed prior to the rebranding, but going forward Salesforce plans to release more, including ones for industry verticals. It's also possible to build custom analytics applications with design, data preparation and data connection tools.

Salesforce is aligning Einstein Analytics with its Trailhead learning platform; there are a dozen modules available today there for developing analytic apps. It's also leveraging the ISV ecosystem in its AppExchange marketplace, which has generated more than 20 analytic apps so far, according to a statement.

All components of Einstein Analytics are generally available and pricing is as follows:

  • Sales Analytics and Service Analytics are $75 per user, per month.
  • B2B Marketing Analytics is $300 per month, for up to five users.
  • Einstein Discovery is $75 per user, per month.
  • Custom Einstein Analytics Apps are $150 per user, per month.

Salesforce first launched Wave in late 2014, but the analytics suite stumbled out of the gate due to factors such as complex packaging, high pricing and an architecture that was more like a traditional BI platform, not a set of plug-and-play applications. Salesforce ended up rebooting Wave the following year and attempted to remedy those problems.

Now, Einstein Analytics represents a third retrenchment of sorts, but one that will probably stick around for a while, given how much Salesforce has invested in the Einstein brand and underlying technology strategy.

"It made sense for Salesforce to consolidate all things analytics under the Einstein brand," says Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Doug Henschen. "As with Wave, Salesforce customers will Einstein Analytics to get beyond the basic reporting and data visualization built into Salesforce applications. Einstein Analytics supports deeper insight and analysis capabilities. Einstein Discovery adds automated insight, spotting trends, patterns and correlations of interest and offering recommendations with textual analyses that business users can understand. It’s a continuum of capabilities now all under the Einstein brand."

Now it remains to seen whether customers will find enough value in the Einstein Analytics suite, above and beyond Salesforce's core reporting and dashboard capabilities, to make what could be a substantial additional investment on top of their existing monthly rent. One sure way Salesforce can convince them is through numerous customer success stories; it still has several months to get some ready in time for Dreamforce.

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