customer experience, Will Salesforce's RelateIQ Acquisition Patch its Data Analytics Gap?

Salesforce's $390 million acquisition of RelateIQ this week strengthens the CRM giant's customer data analytics offerings and could boost its marketing suite, industry analysts told CMSWire.

Salesforce Founder and CEO Marc Benioff (left) on Monday gobbled up the Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider that claims it's known for driving "relationship intelligence," rather than "relationship management."

"Salesforce needed to deepen its analytics offerings significantly, and this acquisition will do that," Michael Fauscette, group vice president of SBS for IDC, told CMSWire this week. "In particular, marketers/companies are looking for insight on prospects and customers to better market, sale and service those relationships."

Big Data Player

RelateIQ is a big data analytics platform that will increase salesforce.com's capabilities and help provide a much better customer data analytics offering, Fauscette added. 

But R Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst of Constellation Research, said the challenge with all cloud companies, including Salesforce, remains analytics.

"While Salesforce has done a great job with reporting to do real analytics, prediction, you have to go to Birst or Good Data in the cloud or take the data out of the cloud back into an operational data store like Teradata or Oracle or IBM or Microsoft," Wang Said. "This defeats the point of having it all in the cloud."

Wang pointed out that Salesforce acquired EdgeSpring last summer. How that fits into this week's RelateIQ acquisition will be interesting, said Wang, who added, "From our research, we understand that EdgeSpring is the core of what will become the Analytics Cloud, a key part of building out the big data and analytics strategy for Salesforce."

Ultimately, Salesforce's move is "much needed" and a "very smart" one. Salesforce has to stay ahead of customer needs.

Further, they must "raise total addressable market so that shareholders don't ask them to show a profit," Wang said.

"Basically, this lets them stay focused on growth ahead of profits," he said.

CRM Innovation

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Andy Byrne, CEO of Clari, a Sequoia-backed new entrant bringing data science to CRM, said Salesforce would be wise to fully leverage its newly gained technology and employees.

"The most successful tend to let their new companies continue to operate at the pace they did when they were independent, fueling their fire and innovation rather than hindering it with too many current standards and regulations," he said.

What is the next wave of CRM that is going to shake up the market? In other words, what innovation is going to rule?

Byrne says that customers want solutions that extend machine learning and data science to provide real time, predictive ​​insight into how deals are managed and executed​.