Salesforce pulled a surprise earlier today with a partnership announcement in the BigData space, by announcing a partnership with a number of key BigData players.

So let’s dissect the press release in our custom style (can be found here):

SAN FRANCISCO, May 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the Customer Success Platform and world's #1 CRM company, today announced Salesforce Wave for Big Data—enabling business users to unlock value from big data and gain new customer insights with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud. With leading innovators Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks, New Relic, Informatica and Trifacta joining the Analytics Cloud Partner Ecosystem, companies can now deliver big data analytics to business users and transform every customer relationship.

MyPOV – With the announcement Salesforce fills a gaping hole it had in the initial launch of Wave back at Dreamforce in 2014 (my takeaway here). Good to see Salesforce address it now, with a plethora of providers coming together. That by itself may well be the biggest feat of Salesforce by itself in the short run: Getting vendor that compete with each other every day to play well in a press release and announcements. If anything shows the attractiveness of the Salesforce ecosystem it is this.

The digital universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply 10-fold between 2013 and 2020—from 4.4 trillion to 44 trillion gigabytes[1]. This torrent of Web searches, clicks, tweets, mobile app usage and connected sensors is creating new opportunities for companies to reinvent themselves through data analytics. However, legacy analytics software was never designed to manage the volume, variety or velocity of big data.
MyPOV – In other words – Salesforce cannot ignore the need to integrate with relevant BigData.

Fortunately, advancements in processing speeds, bandwidth and storage have led to the rise of technologies that are breaking new ground with big data. Innovators such as Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks and New Relic are now making it possible for developers, IT and data scientists to compute and process any data at massive scale. Despite this progress, the value of big data largely remains out of reach for sales, service, marketing and other business professionals—where its potential to inform every tactical and strategic decision may have the most impact on customer success and business performance.

MyPOV – Always good to move data closer to the consumers, and Salesforce has a lot of consumers for that data from a CRM angle. But the opportunity lies in the weakness of the current providers, that have not matured enough to make their offerings affordable, digestible and usable (ADU) for the business end users. So Salesforce has a limited window to enrich its overall offerings and Wave with the BigData capabilities. On the flipside we know all the mentioned partners, and they are well aware that the race for the business end user is on the way and are equally planning their moves. 

Salesforce Analytics Cloud Delivers Big Data for the Rest of Us

Salesforce Analytics Cloud, powered by the Wave Platform, was designed to empower everyone to explore all forms of data, uncover new insights and take action instantly from any device. And with Salesforce Wave for Big Data, leading innovators Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks and New Relic are joining the Analytics Cloud Partner Ecosystem to extend the volume, variety and velocity of big data to the business user—unlocking its value to transform every customer relationship. Now sales, service, marketing and other business professionals can discover correlations and patterns across any combination of transactional data—such as CRM, ERP, finance, and HR systems—and unstructured or semi-structured big data sets, all from within the Analytics Cloud.


MyPOV – The value proposition is clear, of course with (this is Salesforce) a heavy dose of marketing and chutzpa. What Salesforce is doing is accessing the data from BigData clusters and bringing them to the Wave data store. However, it does not provide one of the key BigData capabilities – which is all about querying all kinds of ‘crazy’ questions in the hunt of insights. With Salesforce moving the data into Wave, it takes out a lot of the flexibility that BigData / Hadoop had. On the positive side for Salesforce users, it becomes easy connected with the business data. 

[Updated 5/29/2015 - Salesforce not surprisingly sees this differently: 

Our intention of moving to our own data format, is to provide far more flexibility in querying of data, such that you will answer far crazier questions than you can with a more structured, tabular, data system. And, in fact, our system is designed to provide that response while connected to a fully interactive UI. Which means that our response has to come back very quickly. Hadoop is designed as a batch-mode, delayed response environment.

MyPOV - Salesforce is correct that there is a delay with Hadoop. And while progress with Spark et al makes it faster it will likely not be as fast as what Salesforce does and plans with Wave. But the key is not necessarily speed - but also insight - so getting a valuable insight albeit small trumps no insight delivered fast.]

For example:

· Google offers a set of cloud big data services to ingest, process, store and analyze billions of rows and quickly run advanced queries without having to manage any infrastructure. Using Salesforce Wave for Big Data, a marketing manager can analyze the correlations between customer profiles in Salesforce and actual customer engagement data from the Google Cloud Platform—such as purchases, clickstream and mobile app usage—to optimize marketing spend and increase customer acquisition.


MyPOV – A good example for the value Google brings to Salesforce, information on usage of Google Cloud Platform. There is more to the partnership, as Google may play into the DaaS domain. Google Analytics (of websites) would be very interesting for marketers. Presence and location are key for sales people. Usage stats of Android apps and phones are key for service users.

· Cloudera enables companies to deploy an enterprise data hub, a secure analytics platform powered by Apache Hadoop, to store, process and analyze any data type at scale. Now a marketing executive will be able to identify patterns between a product usage logs from Cloudera alongside CRM demographics to target the right customers for a loyalty campaign.

MyPOV – Good angle with data hub and security, something that Cloudera has worked on very well (my Progress report from the analyst summit is here) and the examples are good from a CRM context perspective.

· Hortonworks provides an enterprise-grade data management platform based on 100 percent Apache Core that enables companies to use the power of Hadoop-drive analytics to optimize the performance of Hadoop cluster. Now a retail bank associate can explore massive amounts of operational, transactional and balance data to understand local economic trends to provide better banking services and counsel to each customer.

MyPOV – No surprise – Hortonworks uses their 100% Apache Core differentiator, and the retail banking offering equally offers value for CRM / Salesforce.

· New Relic delivers a software analytics platform that provides real-time insights on the performance of a company's Web and mobile apps. As a result, companies can better understand how customers are engaging with their digital brand, including clickstreams, mobile activity, end-user experiences and transactions. Now correlations between customers' behavior on a retail mobile app and history of customer purchases can be visualized together to enable a sales rep to improve cross-selling strategies.

MyPOV – NewRelic is a little of a surprise to be in this mix, good for the vendor. The more technical web site statistics will help service and sales users in Salesforce.

Analytics Cloud Brings Together Business Users, Data Scientists and IT to Define New Data-Driven Customer Strategies

To enable data scientists and IT to transform big data into a usable form for business users, leading data preparation providers Informatica and Trifacta have also joined the Analytics Cloud Partner Ecosystem.

· Informatica delivers a leading cloud-based data integration and data preparation platform that enables citizen integrators, business analysts and IT developers to access, integrate and correlate transactional data, interaction data, and even machine data, at petabyte scale, for analysis within the Analytics Cloud.


MyPOV – No surprise to see Informatica here, the vendor has bet early on Salesforce and is the probably the #1 integration player for Salesforce, good for both vendors to join the effort (my takeaways of the recent Informatica World is here).

· Trifacta removes the burdens of working with big data by empowering data analysts and IT to discover, structure, clean and enrich data of all shapes and sizes in Hadoop, making it easier than ever to bring big data insights into the Analytics Cloud.

MyPOV – Good for Trifacta to have made it in the announcement, as the smallest vendor of the party. And Trifacta is featured prominently in the demos of Salesforce, good for the vendor.

"We live in a hyper-competitive world, and big data must deliver big value across every part of the business," said Keith Bigelow, SVP & GM of Analytics Cloud, Salesforce. "Salesforce Wave for Big Data connects the Analytics Cloud to the industry's most comprehensive ecosystem of big data innovators—now every company can extend any data source to business users to transform every customer relationship."

"We're excited to join forces with Salesforce because it will enable Salesforce customers to easily make use of Google Cloud Platform and leverage the scale, speed, ease of use and power of Google Cloud Platform's big data services such as Google BigQuery and Google Cloud Dataflow," said Adam Massey, director of cloud ecosystem, Google. "This collaboration will provide customers with a complete view of their business and a fine-grained understanding of their customer interactions."

"Organizations are looking for new ways to capture and analyze the vast amounts of human and machine data," said John Kreisa, vice president of strategic marketing, Hortonworks. "Combining the power of the Salesforce Analytics Cloud with the Hortonworks Data Platform gives enterprises the ability to capture and analyze all of their data for new insights."

"We believe the New Relic Software Analytics Platform and the Salesforce Analytics Cloud will deliver powerful insights about companies' app performance, customer experience and business success," said John Gray, SVP of business development, New Relic. "Together we aim to enable companies through data-driven decision-making to build new digital experiences and connect with their customers."

"We live in an age of customer engagement where businesses are engaging with their customers through multiple social and mobile channels and trying to predict their interests and buying behavior," said Ronen Schwartz, vice president and general manager, Informatica Cloud. "This requires the preparation, integration and analysis of transactional data in CRM and ERP systems in conjunction with the clickstream and machine data generated by users on these social and mobile channels. The combination of Informatica Cloud and Informatica Rev delivers the only cloud native big data preparation and integration platform capable of dealing with this variety, complexity and scale of data for downstream analysis in Salesforce Analytics Cloud."

"We're extremely excited to partner with Salesforce and enable its users to wrangle the different shapes and sizes of big data for analysis in the Analytics Cloud," said Dan Niemann, vice president of worldwide field operations, Trifacta. "As organizations continue to expand their use of data to deliver competitive advantages in the market, the ability of these companies to empower business users to drive their own analysis of big data is critical to success. With this integration, business users are now able to prepare raw, complex data at scale using Trifacta and seamlessly deliver the output to the Analytics Cloud for downstream analysis."


MyPOV – The usual quotes – no commenting needed.

Analytics Cloud Ecosystem Extends Analytics for Every Business Need

Powered by the Wave Platform, Analytics Cloud brings together a dynamic user experience, indexed search and a powerful computing engine to explore any data source. Designed from the ground up to be open, more than 80 partners have now joined the Analytics Cloud ecosystem to extend analytics for every conceivable use case and enable data-driven companies to connect with customers in a whole new way.


MyPOV – Considering that Wave only started about 9 months ago it is an impressive ecosystem that has been created by the power of the Salesforce brand and customer community.

Pricing and Availability

· Salesforce Analytics Cloud is generally available in English, with additional language support forthcoming.

· The Analytics Cloud mobile app is available on Apple iOS for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, with additional device support forthcoming.

MyPOV – While Salesforce is doing well on platform support – it needs to move beyond English to share the advances to its worldwide user community – better sooner than later.

Overall MyPOV

An impressive feat by Salesforce to get an illustrious ensemble of partners together. And making newer advances in technology like BigData available to business users is a good and key move.

On the concern side, Salesforce has chosen a traditional approach with loading the BigData into the Wave Store. These ‘coexist & extract’ approaches with BigData have been around since a long time (think of the classic data warehouse), but are recently on the retreat, the most notably being SAP (see latest blog here). The fundamental question is – can vendors ‘pump’ relevant data into their stores as fast as business users want to see it. We asked Bigelow and currently Wave gets refreshed hourly. That was more than good enough 5 years ago – even more than could be done then. And for now certainly a good enough update frequency for most CRM use cases.

On the positive side, user experience and speed of response are very good, and will likely delight users. Salesforce has done a good job of enriching its business data inside of Salesforce with BigData stored in Hadoop clusters with other vendors, now many of them partners.