Salesforce Unveils Wave Cloud Product for Data Analytics

Salesforce.com Inc. is entering a new business, data analytics and business intelligence, seeking to maintain growth and persuade customers to pour more of their information into its data centers.

The company announced Wave, a cloud-based information analytics system, at its Dreamforce conference today in San Francisco, as it branches out from customer-relationship management software. The service lets companies link data from different business departments, like sales, operations or management, into Salesforce’s system, then lets them analyze it visually on mobile devices and computers via the Internet.

Salesforce is aiming to parlay its lead in customer relationship management into a position in the bigger data-analytics market, which IDC projects will grow at an average 9.4 percent a year through 2018. With Wave, companies can spot links between business units, like the relationship between the number of times salespeople have had a successful call with a customer and the failure rates gathered by sensors on the equipment sold to that client.

“We’re very focused on the CRM market today, so launching an analytics cloud is a departure from our core market,” said Alex Dayon, the company’s head of products, in an interview.

Salesforce in August gave a forecast for fiscal 2015 sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates at the time, as companies continue to snap up services delivered via the Internet. The company is now predicted to post revenue growth of 32 percent in the current year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Larger Market

Data analytics holds more potential for sales than customer-relationship management. In 2013, the total market for business-analytics software was $37.7 billion, according to a report from market researcher IDC. By comparison, the CRM market generated about $20.5 billion in revenue last year, according to Gartner Inc.

Development of the product is being led by Keith Bigelow, senior vice president for the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, who previously worked at Business Objects and SAP SE.

Wave is based on technology that San Francisco-based Salesforce acquired when it bought data-analytics startup EdgeSpring Inc. for an undisclosed price in June 2013. The product will be integrated with the technology Salesforce gained with its purchase of RelateIQ Inc. earlier this year, Dayon said.

Data Competitors

Wave will compete with products from data-analysis and business intelligence vendors such as Microsoft Corp., SAP, Oracle Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Tableau Software Inc., and startups such as Platfora Inc. and Interana Inc. Salesforce has lined up partners, including Deloitte LLP, Accenture Plc, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Jitterbit Inc., MuleSoft Inc. and others, to provide data linking and management services, and has signed up independent software vendors like FinancialForce.com Inc. and Predixion Software to add data sources that customers can tap.

The analytics product will be available Oct. 20, and will be sold on a monthly subscription basis. Salesforce isn’t disclosing revenue targets for the new product, said Ashish Patel, a Salesforce spokesman. The existence of the analytics cloud was disclosed last month by Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff in a Twitter posting of a too-detailed picture of the Dreamforce schedule that said “major new product.”

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