Salesforce tailors new analytics apps for specific roles

The first app in the series to arrive is Sales Wave Analytics, which targets salespeople

Furthering its push to deliver user-friendly analytics across the enterprise, Salesforce on Thursday unveiled a new series of apps that are each tailored for a specific business context and role.

Earlier this year the company rolled out a collection of mobile updates to its Wave Analytics Cloud offering, and last month it added a new tool focused on big data. Now, the new line of Wave Analytics Apps is intended to extend the Analytics Cloud further with prepackaged templates designed to empower business users in particular job functions with the ability to find context-specific meaning in their data.

The apps will instantly populate CRM data into role-specific accelerator templates for quick deployment, Salesforce said. They'll also uncover historical trends and year-over-year comparisons from any device. Because Wave Analytics Apps are natively integrated with the Salesforce1 Platform, predefined data flows will not only enable changes made in the app to be reflected automatically within Salesforce, but will also update all corresponding metrics in Salesforce related to the changes.

The first to arrive in this new line of apps will be Sales Wave Analytics, with a focus on giving salespeople new tools for managing forecasts, pipelines, team performance and more.

Preconfigured templates included in the app will give users the ability to explore all Salesforce sales data, spanning pipeline management and forecasting, quarterly business reviews and team performance. A sales operations executive could use the tool to instantly conduct a real-time pipeline analysis and cross reference it with product sales performance from her mobile phone to determine whether forecasts need to be reset, for example.

Salesforce holds a "home court advantage" in this area thanks to the integration it can offer at multiple levels, including data assets, tools such as Chatter and its platform as a whole, said Howard Dresner, chief research officer with Dresner Advisory Services.

The company is making big promises, but it should be able to deliver on them, Dresner added.

"If they deliver everything they're saying they will -- all the integration, real best practices and the ability to deploy quickly -- it's compelling," he said.

Of course, it is just a first offering, Dresner pointed out. Still, "it draws a line in the sand."

Now in pilot testing, Sales Wave Analytics is expected to be generally available in English later this year on a monthly, per-user subscription model; pricing will be announced at that time. It will be available on iOS for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch as well. Additional language and device support will follow. A Wave Platform license is not required.

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