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Salesforce Expands Analytics Cloud with Big Data Partners

Salesforce is expanding its Wave Analytics Cloud service by partnering with Big Data players so ordinary business users can easily crunch numbers from new data sources above and beyond the company's traditional customer relationship management (CRM) base.

Although capable of analyzing data from any source, the Salesforce cloud service, introduced last fall, has specialized in working with CRM, sales, service and marketing data generated from the Salesforce platform. Now, new connectors simplify the process of analyzing data from the broader Big Data arena, using tools such as Apache Hadoop and the Google Cloud Platform.

This broader Wave ecosystem has spawned the new Salesforce Wave for Big Data.

"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," the company said in a news release today.

Helping to hook into these Big Data sets will be major Hadoop distributors Cloudera Inc. and Hortonworks Inc., along with Google Inc., New Relic Inc., Informatica Corp. and Trifacta Technologies.

Salesforce provided examples of how each vendor can contribute to its analytics cloud initiative. "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," Salesforce said. "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."

On the Hadoop side of things, both Cloudera and Hortonworks are joining in the effort. "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," Salesforce said. "Now a marketing executive will be able to identify patterns between a product usage log from Cloudera alongside CRM demographics to target the right customers for a loyalty campaign.

"Hortonworks provides an enterprise-grade data management platform based on 100 percent Apache Core that enables companies to use the power of Hadoop to drive analytics to optimize the performance of Hadoop cluster," Salesforce continued. "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."

New Relic provides an analytics platform for gleaning insights from Web and mobile apps, while Informatica provides a data integration and data preparation platform, and Trifacta helps analysts "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."

"Trifacta's partnership with Salesforce extends the breadth of analysis businesses can perform in the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, Trifacta CEO Adam Wilson said in an e-mail to this site. "By empowering all users to access and wrangle the rich data stored in Hadoop along with their Salesforce CRM data, we're enabling organizations to uncover insights that lead to new sources of value. This closely maps to a growing trend we're seeing in the Big Data space where the initial group of technical users is expanding to include a new class of data-driven business professionals. When diverse data from Hadoop is brought to the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, the insights available to these users grows exponentially."

As Wilson alluded, the new Salesforce offering the latest among many similar initiatives the industry has taken to simplify Big Data analytics and put business insights and data-driven decision-making tools into the hands of more everyday business users beyond the specialized universe of data scientists and developers.

Salesforce noted how technological advancements have given rise to tools such as those provided by its partners to help developers and data scientists break new ground in Big Data analytics.

"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."

The Salesforce Analytics Cloud, the company said, "was designed to empower everyone to explore all forms of data, uncover new insights and take action instantly from any device."

The long list of companies promising similar benefits to the ordinary user includes Basho Technologies Inc., Metanautix Inc., Datameer Inc., Lavastorm Analytics, Oracle Corp. and many more.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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