Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff probably didn’t feel like he was stepping out on a ledge when he launched Wave, his company’s analytics cloud just over one year ago. In fact, he was so excited about the wins that it might bring to his customers that he broke the embargo on his own news almost 12 hours ahead of schedule with a tweet.

He had good reason to be excited, it seems. Not only is Salesforce’s Analytics business booming, but a “culture of analytics” is emerging worldwide, according to Anna Rosenman, senior director of product marketing, Salesforce Wave Analytics Cloud at Salesforce.

She based her statement on the findings of Salesforce’s inaugural “State of Analytics” report (registration required). Researchers surveyed more than 2000 business leaders worldwide in its preparation.

Analytically Empowered

“Companies will analyze more data and from more sources than ever before,” Rosenman told CMSWire, commenting on the survey findings. Not only that, but the time when everyone inside a company is “armed with analytics” is also fast- approaching, she said.

In that world, accessing analytics might be as simple as asking your watch or your phone a question like “What does my sales pipeline look like?”

The answer could be gleaned from just a few sources, but chances are better that it would be based on many. In fact, the survey found that the number of data sources analyzed by companies will jump 83 percent over the next five years. 

Not only that, but 90 percent of the organizations surveyed indicated that analytics are important to driving their overall business strategy and improving operational outcomes.

Insight without action, however, is relatively worthless and can not only be detrimental to your company’s performance, but also to your career. The survey found that employees at high-performing organizations are 4.6 times more likely than under-performers to make ongoing data-driven decisions. On the other hand, under-performers are 5.7 times more likely than high performers to use gut instincts. 

There’s little question that analytical tools are becoming more and more accessible to front line workers, but there’s something else that seems to be going on. Workers are becoming more data-savvy. This is key because, according to the researchers who conducted the survey, high performing organizations will analyze more than 17 different kinds of data, nearly double the number analyzed by underperformers. Not only that, but high performing organizations are three times more likely than under-performers to glean value from analytics in 10 or more disciplines.

The Third Wave is Now

Yesterday’s data, yesterday’s access points, yesterday’s reports and analytical tools are not without their uses, but business is done in real time. So it’s no surprise that the survey indicated that high performing organizations were nearly five times more likely than under-performers to say that mobile capabilities for exploring and sharing data are critical when selecting an analytics tool. Mobile reporting tools were preferred by high-performing organizations as well.

Several years ago, analytics expert Tom Davenport declared that the third wave of (democratized) analytics was upon us. Salesforce’s Analytics survey provides the data needed to establish that we have arrived.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  james j8246