Tag Archives: cloud
Well, so much for conventional wisdom! The scalability of Hadoop, and the emergence of highly elastic Cloud analytic services like AWS EMR and Redshift, Microsoft Azure, and Salesforce Wave Analytics have invalidated the last argument against moving all IT infrastructure to the Cloud. So here’s my own proclamation:
Cloud Analytics is the killer application that will accelerate the coming of a Cloud-only world within the next decade.
At Informatica, we are in the business of data – of ensuring that businesses are able to integrate, relate, manage, and secure their data. In my 10 years at Informatica, I have seen the evolution of different analytics platforms – specialized OLAP databases, columnar databases, analytics appliances, Hadoop, and agile BI applications. However, I am convinced that Cloud Analytics is the end state of Analytics for the coming decades – the omega of Analytics so to speak. The infinite scalability, the unbeatable price performance, and the simplicity of offering domain-specific, and user-specific capabilities through the Cloud makes it an unbeatable choice. Cloud Analytics has not just arrived, but it has made an amazing splash and proven that it is here to dominate.
At Informatica, we have built a Cloud Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) that is designed from the ground up to support the scalability, reliability and security required for Cloud Analytics. Our customers process over 6 Billion transactions every day using the Informatica Cloud; to integrate data into AWS Redshift, Azure, and Salesforce Wave. Use cases range from sales analytics to analysis of IoT data. It’s exciting to see how Informatica Cloud is fast becoming THE Cloud to connect all Clouds to each other (and even to on-premise applications). It will be interesting to see how iPaaS leaders like Informatica partner with Cloud Analytics vendors to move our industry from a “Cloud-first” landscape to a “Cloud-only” future.
The New Data Wizard Is Here: Next Generation Salesforce Data Loader (and a whole lot more) for Business Users Everywhere
This week marks the official launch of the new, free Informatica Cloud Data Wizard on the Salesforce AppExchange. For the last month, we’ve been running the Data Wizard in Beta with customers and partners, and the feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive. The Data Wizard replaces our popular Data Loader app, which has had a long run as one of the AppExchange’s highest rated free data loader apps. When we set out to design the next generation data loader, we wanted to redefine the category, not just roll out another upgrade. To accomplish that, we built the new Data Wizard on our core cloud integration platform, but focused on an even more intuitive, one-click user experience. In the process, we took a simple data-loading tool and turned it into a sophisticated native integration application inside of Salesforce, designed for Salesforce Admins and other business users. The result is something that solves the everyday integration needs of the majority of Salesforce business users and many of the basic use cases for even technical users. That’s welcome news to just about everyone in the Salesforce.com ecosystem – our beta surveys indicated that approximately 50% of Data Wizard beta users spend up to 10 hours a week on integration issues, and17% spend as many as 40 hours.
“Informatica Cloud’s new Data Wizard has been a real joy to work with! As a Salesforce Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner, we work every day with our customers on Salesforce implementation, customization, and integration. The biggest challenge we face is getting data into Salesforce. Because Informatica Cloud’s Data Wizard is natively built into Salesforce, it’s a breeze to load data into it from other sources. What’s more, some of the transformations provided within the Data Wizard help us resolve numerous data quality issues on the fly, which reduces implementation times for our customers.” says Astha Panchal, Integration Specialist, Silverline [put this in a block quote in the blog post]
Astha wasn’t the only Beta tester impressed with the new app’s features, we had a ton of great feedback from Salesforce Sales Consultants, business users from existing Informatica Cloud customers, and SI partners. More than 83% of testers loved the fact that they could access the Data Wizard directly from their Salesforce instance. The same number echoed their approval of the functionality that enables you to export or import a CSV file directly to or from a cloud storage application such as Box.
When we released the Wizard Beta last month, we said the app would change the landscape for data loaders with the three following innovations.
- Easy-to-use Excel-like transformations to eliminate the formatting issues typically associated with moving data in and out of Salesforce.
- Built-in intelligence to automate the mapping of data into Salesforce for a range of common use cases.
- Pre-built integration templates to make it possible to perform app-to-app integrations without any other utility or assistance from IT.
Since the Beta was released last month, users have been putting the Data Wizard and our claims to the test in every possible use case. The results speak for themselves.
We released the new Data Wizard with more than 300 built-in transformations. And Beta users have been taking advantage of them to do everything from synchronizing and conversion of data to concatenation and cleansing of their data on the fly, right from the Data Wizard application. User after user has expressed how important this is to them. One use case that has stood out has been the concatenation of address data. Many Beta testers have been using the function while importing lead address data into Salesforce, to ensure bad addresses or routed to the right queue and handled correctly.
Another innovation users are taking advantage of is the built-in intelligence. Many non-native applications code the date field as a string, which causes the Salesforce import to fail. Without the Data Wizard, restructuring the date field for Salesforce requires outside intervention, and additional time and inconvenience. With the Data Wizard, the date string is automatically transformed and brought into the opportunity object and validated, with no muss or fuss, or outside assistance.
Before the Data Wizard came along, app-to-app integration was something you could only get by using an integration app outside of Salesforce. Not so anymore. As the multitude of Beta testers have just discovered, the Wizard’s built-in integration templates allow you to accomplish many of the most common app-to-app integrations while importing your data into Salesforce. That, as many Beta users can attest, has come in very handy with the NetSuite to Salesforce use case in particular. As anyone who has ever tried to bring data from NetSuite into Salesforce knows, the shipping and billing address fields don’t match and getting them to align is no easy task. By leveraging our Cloud platform’s pre-built integration templates, the Wizard abstracts away the complexity of the transformation. With just the click of a few buttons, the user can take what are two separate objects in NetSuite and quickly and correctly restructure it as one object for Salesforce. Now when users invoice or ship from NetSuite, they can be assured they are pulling the correct shipping and billing address for that business or location from the master in Salesforce.
Now that the Data Wizard is out for general release, we’re already working on the next enhancements. Future releases will feature a fourth innovation in data intelligence: data management. Soon, in addition to data integration, you’ll be able to sync and cleanse data right from the Data Wizard interface. In the meantime, we invite you to take advantage of the three innovations in data intelligence available now, free from the Salesforce AppExchange.
I enjoyed reading this story this week in the WSJ talking about data and how it is being used by startups with an example of how the company Chubbies is using modern data management tools. Unlike the story my belief is that the new era of data management tools is net job creator and not a job eliminator as comes across in the title (Data is The New Middle Manager)
There were a number of interesting statements and suggestions based on data (and we think they meant data mangaement tools) that included:
- Startups today are flatter than other companies
- Access to data management tools is more pervasive today, especially in startups
- Employees at startups are move empowered to make decisions compared to main stream companies
First, from my own experiences working at startups and large Fortune 100 companies these three bullet points are not new when comparing startups and large companies. However, taking the startup focus away the observations about the access and use of enterprise data management tools is still very important. The main aspects that the article highlights includes the following:
- Small companies have access to ever more powerful data management tools every bit as good (or better) than large companies
- The latest data management tools are easier to learn and easier to use so that just about any employee can get up to speed
- It is easier to provide access to the latest in data management tools do to newer technologies
These last items are where the article is very accurate with what many companies and people are seeing. It really is possible to get some very good data preparation tools, data quality tools, and full blown data management capabilities for a fraction of what they would have cost even 5 or 10 years ago. In addition these tools are more easy to learn and more easy to be made available. This is good in a world where as much as many people hate to admit it Excel is still king because it is the good enough tool that many people can learn.
My point of view would be the data management story is less about startups vs large companies and far more about there being far greater access to powerful data management tools. Some that I would point out that provide different types of data management tools from full platforms to specific industries and use cases.
- DataBricks : data visualization and big data processing
- Informatica Rev : do it yourself data preparation
- Salesforce Wave : for anyone using Salesforce.com an integrated analytics platform
- Radian6 : social media monitoring platform for marketing professionals
- Yodlee : financial management analytics
- BigML : data decision support platform with predictive analytics
At Informatica, we use Marketo as the engine to power our multi-channel prospect, customer and partner marketing efforts. So much so that Earle Carlson from Informatica’s marketing team was selected as a finalist for a 2015 Marketer of the Year – Enterprise “Revvie” award! In speaking with Earle and his team, they attribute their success to a focus to ensure Great Data is always poured into the Marketo engine and to the seamless integration of Marketo with Informatica’s front office and analytics systems.
For most marketing organizations, getting to “Great Data” and “Fully Integrated” is no small task. Marketers are awash with the daily deluge of campaign, customer, or survey data. Campaign effectiveness is poor due to bounced emails and mailings. Integrating Marketo with applications beyond Salesforce can take too long given the backlog of IT requests, costing marketing the agility required in today’s market. Marketing leaders lack comprehensive reporting and analytics due to the bottlenecks in assembling data from multiple systems making it difficult to understand campaign or program outcomes.
With these challenges in mind, Informatica has partnered with Marketo to deliver solutions that help marketing organizations maximize their investment in Marketo. These solutions are tailored to different Marketo users, from the campaign manager, marketing operations, Marketo implementers or IT. They include:
Rev for Marketo – a tool marketers use to turn campaign, customer and survey data into Great Data for use within Marketo. Rev removes the frustration and pain caused by the data deluge.
Informatica DaaS for Marketo – Data Services for marketing operations to validate email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses and to enhance data with business attributes or target customers through SMS. These solutions for Marketo allow marketers to ensure Great Data is fueling their campaigns and programs.
Informatica Cloud Connector for Marketo – A new connector built on Marketo’s REST API that connects/integrates Marketo (leads, lists, activities and other objects) to the wide array of 150+ cloud and on-premise applications supported by Informatica Cloud. Informatica Cloud Connector for Marketo reduces the cost, complexity and time to integrate Marketo into business processes and analytics.
If you’re coming to the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit this week, visit us at Moscone Center West, Booth #221 to see these solutions in action. Or to learn more how you can to pour Great Data into the Marketo engine or to integrate Marketo with on premise and Cloud applications, visit the Informatica for Marketo microsite, or search the Launchpoint Marketplace in the category that pertains to your needs.
An increasing number of companies around the world moving to cloud-first or hybrid architectures for new systems to process their data for new analytics applications. In addition to adding new data source from SaaS (Software as a Service) applications to their data pipelines, they are hosting some or all of their data storage, processing and analytics in IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) public hosted environments to augment on-premise systems. In order to enable our customers to take advantage of the benefits of IaaS options, Informatica is embracing this computing model.
As announced today, Informatica now fully supports running the traditionally on-premise Informatica PowerCenter, Big Data Edition (BDE), Data Quality and Data Exchange on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute (EC2). This provides customers with added flexibility, agility and time-to-production by enabling a new deployment option for running Informatica software.
Existing and new Informatica customers can now choose to develop and/or deploy data integration, quality and data exchange in AWS EC2 just as they would on on-premise servers. There is no need for any special licensing as Informatica’s standard product licensing now covers deployment on AWS EC2 on the same operating systems as on-premise. BDE on AWS EC2 supports the same versions of Cloudera and Hortonworks Hadoop that are supported on-premise.
Customers can install these Informatica products on AWS EC2 instances just as they would on servers running on an on-premise infrastructure. The same award winning Informatica Global Customer Service that thousands of Informatica customers use is now available on call and standing by to help with success on AWS EC2. Informatica Professional Services is also available to assist customers running these products on AWS EC2 as they are for on-premise system configurations.
Informatica customers can accelerate their time to production or experimentation with the added flexibility of installing Informatica products on AWS EC2 without having to wait for new servers to arrive. There is the flexibility to develop in the cloud and deploy production systems on-premise or develop on-premise and deploy production systems in AWS. Cloud-first companies can keep it all in the cloud by both developing and going into production on AWS EC2.
Customers can also benefit from the lower up-front costs, maintenance costs and pay-as-you-go infrastructure pricing of AWS. Instead of having to pay upfront for servers and managing them in an on-premise data center, customers can use virtual servers in AWS to run Informatica products on. Customers can use existing Informatica licenses or purchase them in the standard way from Informatica for use on top of AWS EC2.
Combined with the ease of use of Informatica Cloud, Informatica now offers customers looking for hybrid and cloud solutions even more options.
Read the press release including supporting quotes from AWS and Informatica customer ProQuest, here.
At the recent Bosch Connected World conference in Berlin, Stefan Bungart, Software Leader Europe at GE, presented a very interesting keynote, “How Data Eats the World”—which I assume refers to Marc Andreesen’s statement that “Software eats the world”. One of the key points he addressed in his keynote was the importance of generating actionable insight from Big Data, securely and in real-time at every level, from local to global and at an industrial scale will be the key to survival. Companies that do not invest in DATA now, will eventually end up like consumer companies which missed the Internet: It will be too late.
As software and the value of data are becoming a larger part of the business value chain, the lines between different industries become more vague, or as GE’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt once stated: “If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up today as a software and analytics company.” This is not only true for an industrial company, but for many companies that produce “things”: cars, jet-engines, boats, trains, lawn-mowers, tooth-brushes, nut-runners, computers, network-equipment, etc. GE, Bosch, Technicolor and Cisco are just a few of the industrial companies that offer an Internet of Things (IoT) platform. By offering the IoT platform, they enter domains of companies such as Amazon (AWS), Google, etc. As Google and Apple are moving into new areas such as manufacturing cars and watches and offering insurance, the industry-lines are becoming blurred and service becomes the key differentiator. The best service offerings will be contingent upon the best analytics and the best analytics require a complete and reliable data-platform. Only companies that can leverage data will be able to compete and thrive in the future.
The idea of this “servitization” is that instead of selling assets, companies offer service that utilizes those assets. For example, Siemens offers a service for body-scans to hospitals instead of selling the MRI scanner, Philips sells lightning services to cities and large companies, not the light bulbs. These business models enable suppliers to minimize disruption and repairs as this will cost them money. Also, it is more attractive to have as much functionality of devices in software so that upgrades or adjustments can be done without replacing physical components. This is made possible by the fact that all devices are connected, generate data and can be monitored and managed from another location. The data is used to analyse functionality, power consumption, usage , but also can be utilised to predict malfunction, proactive maintenance planning, etc.
So what impact does this have on data and on IT? First of all, the volumes are immense. Whereas the total global volume of for example Twitter messages is around 150GB, ONE gas-turbine with around 200 sensors generates close to 600GB per day! But according to IDC only 3% of potentially useful data is tagged and less than 1% is currently analysed. Secondly, the structure of the data is now always straightforward and even a similar device is producing different content (messages) as it can be on a different software level. This has impact on the backend processing and reliability of the analysis of the data.
Also the data often needs to put into context with other master data from thea, locations or customers for real-time decision making. This is a non-trivial task. Next, Governance is an aspect that needs top-level support. Questions like: Who owns the data? Who may see/use the data? What data needs to be kept or archived and for how long? What needs to be answered and governed in IoT projects with the same priorities as the data in the more traditional applications.
To summarize, managing data and mastering data governance is becoming one of the most important pillars of companies that lead the digital age. Companies that fail to do so will be at risk for becoming a new Blockbuster or Kodak: companies that didn’t adopt quickly enough. In order to avoid this, companies need to evaluate a data platform can support a comprehensive data strategy which encapsulates scalability, quality, governance, security, ease of use and flexibility, and that enables them to choose the most appropriate data processing infrastructure, whether that is on premise or in the cloud, or most likely a hybrid combination of these.
March 20th 2015 was the official start of spring and to be honest, it couldn’t have come soon enough for us folks in the North East. After a long, cold and snowy winter we’re looking forward to the spring thaw and the first green shoots of burgeoning life. Spring is also the time that we like to tackle new projects and start afresh after our winter hibernation.
For those of us in technology new spring projects often reflect the things we do in everyday life. Naturally our mind turns at this time to spring cleaning and spring training. To be honest, we’d have to admit that we haven’t scrubbed our data in three months so data cleansing is a must, but so too is training. We probably haven’t picked up a book or attended a seminar since last November. But what training should we do? And “what should we do next?”
Luckily, Informatica is providing the answer. We’ve put together two free, half day training seminars for cloud application owners and Salesforce practitioners. That’s two dates, two fantastic locations and dozens of brilliant speakers lined up to give you some new pointers for what’s coming next in the world of cloud and SaaS.
The goals of the event are to give you the tools and knowledge to strengthen your Salesforce implementation and help you delight your customers. The sessions will include presentations by experts from Salesforce and our partner Bluewolf. There will also be some best practices presentations and demonstrations from Informatica’s team of very talented engineers.
Just glance at the seminar summary and you’ll see what we mean:
Session 1: Understand the Opportunity of Every Customer Interaction
In this session Eric Berridge, Co-founder and CEO of Bluewolf Inc. will discuss how you can develop a customer obsessed culture and get the most value from every customer interaction.
Session 2: Delight Your Customers by Taking Your Salesforce Implementation to the Next Level
Ajay Gandhi, Informatica’s VP Product Marketing is next up and he’s going to provide a fabulous session on what you look out for, and where should you invest as your Salesforce footprint grows.
Session 3: Anticipate Your Business Needs With a Fresh Approach to Customer Analytics
The seminar wraps up with Benjamin Pruden, Sr. Manager Product Marketing, at Salesforce. Ben’s exciting session touches on one of the hottest topics in the industry today. He’s going to explain how you can obtain a comprehensive understanding of your most valuable customers with cloud-analytics and data-driven dashboards.
I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a pretty impressive seminar and well worth a couple of hours of your time.
The New York event is happening at Convene (810 Seventh Ave, 52nd and 53rd ) on April 7th. Click here for more details and to reserve your seat.
The San Francisco event is a week later on April 14th at Hotel Nikko (222 Mason Street). Make sure you click here and register today.
Come join us on the 7th or the 14th to learn how to take your cloud business to the next level. Oh, and don’t forget that you’ll also be treating yourself to some well-deserved spring training!
The emergence of the business cloud is making the need for data ever more prevalent. Whatever your business, if your role is in the sales, marketing or service departments, chances are your productivity depends a great deal on the ability to move data quickly in and out of Salesforce and its ecosphere of applications.
With the in-built data transformation intelligence, the Data Wizard (click here to try the Beta version), changes the landscape of what traditional data loaders can do. The Data Wizard takes care of the following aspects, so that you don’t have to:
- Data Transformations: We built in over 300 standard data transformations so you don’t have to format the data before bringing it in (eg. combining first and last names into full names, adding numeric columns for totals, splitting address fields into its separate components).
- Built-in intelligence: We automate the mapping of data into Salesforce for a range of common use cases (eg., Automatically mapping matching fields, intelligently auto-generating date format conversions , concatenating multiple fields).
- App-to-app integration: We incorporated pre-built integration templates to encapsulate the logic required for integrating Salesforce with other applications (eg., single click update of customer addresses in a Cloud ERP application based on Account addresses in Salesforce) .
Unlike the other data loading apps out there, the Data Wizard doesn’t presuppose any technical ability on the part of the user. It was purpose-built to solve the needs of every type of user, from the Salesforce administrator to the business analyst.
Despite the simplicity the Data Wizard offers, it is built on the robust Informatica Cloud integration platform, providing the same reliability and performance that is key to the success of Informatica Cloud’s enterprise customers, who integrate over 5 billion rows of data per day. We invite you to try the Data Wizard for free, and contribute to the Beta process by providing us with your feedback.
Last week was Informatica’s first ever Data Mania event, held at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. We had an A-list lineup of speakers from leading cloud and data companies, such as Salesforce, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Tableau, Dun & Bradstreet, Marketo, AppDynamics, Birst, Adobe, and Qlik. The event and speakers covered a range of topics all related to data, including Big Data processing in the cloud, data-driven customer success, and cloud analytics.
While these companies are giants today in the world of cloud and have created their own unique ecosystems, we also wanted to take a peek at and hear from the leaders of tomorrow. Before startups can become market leaders in their own realm, they face the challenge of ramping up a stellar roster of customers so that they can get to subsequent rounds of venture funding. But what gets in their way are the numerous data integration challenges of onboarding customer data onto their software platform. When these challenges remain unaddressed, R&D resources are spent on professional services instead of building value-differentiating IP. Bugs also continue to mount, and technical debt increases.
Enter the Informatica Cloud Connector SDK. Built entirely in Java and able to browse through any cloud application’s API, the Cloud Connector SDK parses the metadata behind each data object and presents it in the context of what a business user should see. We had four startups build a native connector to their application in less than two weeks: BigML, Databricks, FollowAnalytics, and ThoughtSpot. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
With predictive analytics becoming a growing imperative, machine-learning algorithms that can have a higher probability of prediction are also becoming increasingly important. BigML provides an intuitive yet powerful machine-learning platform for actionable and consumable predictive analytics. Watch their demo on how they used Informatica Cloud’s Connector SDK to help them better predict customer churn.
Can’t play the video? Click here, http://youtu.be/lop7m9IH2aw
Databricks was founded out of the UC Berkeley AMPLab by the creators of Apache Spark. Databricks Cloud is a hosted end-to-end data platform powered by Spark. It enables organizations to unlock the value of their data, seamlessly transitioning from data ingest through exploration and production. Watch their demo that showcases how the Informatica Cloud connector for Databricks Cloud was used to analyze lead contact rates in Salesforce, and also performing machine learning on a dataset built using either Scala or Python.
Can’t play the video? Click here, http://youtu.be/607ugvhzVnY
With mobile usage growing by leaps and bounds, the area of customer engagement on a mobile app has become a fertile area for marketers. Marketers are charged with acquiring new customers, increasing customer loyalty and driving new revenue streams. But without the technological infrastructure to back them up, their efforts are in vain. FollowAnalytics is a mobile analytics and marketing automation platform for the enterprise that helps companies better understand audience engagement on their mobile apps. Watch this demo where FollowAnalytics first builds a completely native connector to its mobile analytics platform using the Informatica Cloud Connector SDK and then connects it to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online using Informatica Cloud’s prebuilt connector for it. Then, see FollowAnalytics go one step further by performing even deeper analytics on their engagement data using Informatica Cloud’s prebuilt connector for Salesforce Wave Analytics Cloud.
Can’t play the video? Click here, http://youtu.be/E568vxZ2LAg
Analytics has taken center stage this year due to the rise in cloud applications, but most of the existing BI tools out there still stick to the old way of doing BI. ThoughtSpot brings a consumer-like simplicity to the world of BI by allowing users to search for the information they’re looking for just as if they were using a search engine like Google. Watch this demo where ThoughtSpot uses Informatica Cloud’s vast library of over 100 native connectors to move data into the ThoughtSpot appliance.
Can’t play the video? Click here, http://youtu.be/6gJD6hRD9h4
The problem many banks encounter today is that they have vast sums of investment tied up in old ways of doing things. Historically, customers chose a bank and remained ’loyal’ throughout their lifetime…now competition is rife and loyalty is becoming a thing of a past. In order to stay ahead of the competition, gain and keep customers, they need to understand the ever-evolving market, disrupt norms and continue to delight customers. The tradition of staying with one bank due to family convention or from ease has now been replaced with a more informed customer who understands the variety of choice at their fingertips.
Challenger Banks don’t build on ideas of tradition and legacy and see how they can make adjustments to them. They embrace change. Longer-established banks can’t afford to do nothing, and assume their size and stature will attract customers.
Here’s some useful information
Accenture’s recent report, The Bank of Things, succinctly explains what ‘Customer 3.0’ is all about. The connected customer isn’t necessarily younger. It’s everybody. Banks can get to know their customers better by making better use of information. It all depends on using intelligent data rather than all data. Interrogating the wrong data can be time-consuming, costly and results in little actionable information.
When an organisation sets out with the intention of knowing its customers, then it can calibrate its data according with where the gold nuggets – the real business insights – come from. What do people do most? Where do they go most? Now that they’re using branches and phone banking less and less – what do they look for in a mobile app?
Customer 3.0 wants to know what the bank can offer them all-the-time, on the move, on their own device. They want offers designed for their lifestyle. Correctly deciphered data can drive the level of customer segmentation that empowers such marketing initiatives. This means an organisation has to have the ability and the agility to move with its customers. It’s a journey that never ends -technology will never have a cut-off point just like customer expectations will never stop evolving.
It’s time for banks to re-shape banking
Informatica have been working with major retail banks globally to redefine banking excellence and realign operations to deliver it. We always start by asking our customers the revealing question “Have you looked at the art of the possible to future-proof your business over the next five to ten years and beyond?” This is where the discussion begins to explore really interesting notions about unlocking potential. No bank can afford to ignore them.