There’s plenty of hype around how smart we’ll all be and what great decisions we’ll make when big data driven insights and predictive analytics are, literally, at our fingertips.

And though there are many software and service vendors who promise to deliver them, the reality is that very few, if any, do. Line of business workers, like salespeople, aren’t data scientists or business analysts regardless of what apps they put on their smartphones.

The good news is that Salesforce’s new app called Salesforce Wave Analytics doesn’t promise to do any of that.

I spent a good 45 minutes on the phone with Anna Rosenman, senior director of product marketing for the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, and there wasn’t any mention of terms like big data, Hadoop, algorithm … you get the idea. Sales people need to sell, sales execs need to manage and coach, not worry about advances stats, languages like R and the technology that’s under the hood.

Solving Problems

When Rosenman demoed the Salesforce Wave Analytics App we stepped into sales manager’s shoes and looked at how the app could help us work smarter and hit goals. The buzzwords during the presentation — forecast, pipelines, team performance, quota — this is the language of the workers who will use that app.

Be assured the app is analytical and data driven, just like travel apps like Kayak, music apps like Pandora and shopping apps like Amazon.

It’s that you don’t have to worry about the data or even jockey excel spreadsheets to get the information you need to make decisions. Instead the information comes to you visually. You can explore it, drill down and look at a variety of scenarios to determine what action you want to take.

And get this, once you know what it is you can send a message to the people involved with no more effort than tapping or sending a text.

Now mind you, this is a role-specific analytics app that is practically Plug’n Play. It provides personalized “accelerator templates”, draws information from predefined data flows, surfaces historical analysis and has the ability to recommend and facilitate taking immediate actions like changing close dates and  telling salespeople who to engage with  directly from within the app, saving time.

It’s worth noting that that this app is not the same, and is not meant to be the same, as custom built Salesforce Wave Analytics applications. Instead it’s geared toward small and mid-sized businesses or any company that doesn’t want to or doesn’t have the time and resources to build one for themselves.

Either way, it looks like a big win, especially compared to the alternative — reviewing data at the end of the quarter when the opportunity to take insight based action has passed.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by Port of San Diego.