Tag Archives: salesforce

Gaining a Data-First Perspective with Salesforce Wave

Gaining a Data-First Perspective with Salesforce Wave

Data-First with Salesforce Wave

Salesforce.com made waves (pardon the pun) at last month’s Dreamforce conference when it unveiled the Salesforce Wave Analytics Cloud. You know Big Data has reached prime-time when Salesforce, which has a history of knowing when to enter new markets, decides to release a major analytics service.

Why now? Because companies need help making sense of the data deluge, Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff said at Dreamforce: “Did you know 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years? There’s going to be 10 times more mobile data by 2020, 19 times more unstructured data, and 50 times more product data by 2020.” Average business users want to understand what that data is telling them, he said. Given Salesforce’s marketing expertise, this could be the spark that gets mainstream businesses to adopt the Data-First perspective I’ve been talking about.

As I’ve said before, a Data First POV shines a light on important interactions so that everyone inside a company can see and understand what matters. As a trained process engineer, I can tell you, though, that good decisions depend on great data — and great data doesn’t just happen: At the most basic level, you have to clean it, relate it, connect and secure it  — so that information from, say, SAP, can be viewed in the same context as data from Salesforce. Informatica obviously plays a role in this. If you want to find out more, click on this link to download our Salesforce Integration for Dummies brochure.

But that’s the basics for getting started. The bigger issue — and the one so many people seem to have trouble with — is deciding which metrics to explore. Say, for example, that the sales team keeps complaining about your marketing leads. Chances are, it’s a familiar complaint. How do you discover what’s really the problem?

One obvious place to start to first look at the conversation rates for every sales rep and group. Next explore the marketing leads they do accept such as deal size, product type or customer category. Now take it deeper. Examine which sales reps like to hunt for new customers and which prefer to mine their current base. That will tell you if you’re sending opportunities to the right profiles.

The key is never looking at the sales organization as a whole. If it’s EMEA, for instance, have a look to see how France is doing selling to emerging markets vs. the team in Germany. These metrics are digital trails of human behavior. Data First allows you to explore that behavior and either optimize it or change it.

But for this exploration to pay off, you actually have to do some of the work. You can’t just job it out to an analyst. This exercise doesn’t become meaningful until you are mentally engaged in the process. And that’s how it should be: If you are a Data First company, you have to be a Data First leader.

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Posted in Data Archiving, Data First, Data Governance, Data Integration | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Decrease Salesforce Data Prep Time With Project Springbok

Account Executives update opportunities in Salesforce all the time. As opportunities close, payment information is received in the financial system. Normally, they spend hours trying to combine the data, to prepare it for differential analysis. Often, there is a prolonged, back-and-forth dialogue with IT. This takes time and effort, and can delay the sales process.

What if you could spend less time preparing your Salesforce data and more time analyzing it?

Decrease Salesforce Data Prep Time With Project Springbok

Decrease Data Prep Time With Project Springbok

Informatica has a vision to solve this challenge by providing self-service data to non-technical users. Earlier this year, we announced our Intelligent Data Platform. One of the key projects in the IDP, code-named “Springbok“, uses an excel-like search interface to let business users find and shape the data they need.

Informatica’s Project Springbok is a faster, better and, most importantly, easier way to intelligently work with data for any purpose. Springbok guides non-technical users through a data preparation process in a self-service manner. It makes intelligent recommendations and suggestions, based on the specific data they’re using.

To see this in action, we welcome you to join us as we partner with Halak Consulting, LLC for an informative webinar. The webinar will take place on November 18th at 10am PST. You will learn from the Springbok VP of Strategy and from an experienced Springbok user about how Springbok can benefit you.

So REGISTER for the webinar today!

For another perspective, see the “Imagine Not Needing to do a VLookup ever again!” from Deepa Patel, Salesforce.com MVP.

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Posted in B2B, B2B Data Exchange, Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What is the Silver Lining in Cloud for Financial Services?

This was a great week of excitement and innovation here in San Francisco starting with the San Francisco Giants winning the National League Pennant for the 3rd time in 5 years on the same day Saleforce’s Dreamforce 2014 wrapped up their largest customer conference with over 140K+ attendees from all over the world talking about their new Customer Success Platform.

Salesforce has come a long way from their humble beginnings as the new kid on the cloud front for CRM. The integrated sales, marketing, support, collaboration, application, and analytics as part of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform exemplifies innovation and significant business value upside for various industries however I see it very promising for today’s financial services industry. However like any new business application, the value business gains from it are dependent in having the right data available for the business.

The reality is, SaaS adoption by financial institutions has not been as quick as other industries due to privacy concerns, regulations that govern what data can reside in public infrastructures, ability to customize to fit their business needs, cultural barriers within larger institutions that critical business applications must reside on-premise for control and management purposes, and the challenges of integrating data to and from existing systems with SaaS applications.  However, experts are optimistic that the industry may have turned the corner. Gartner (NYSE:IT) asserts more than 60 percent of banks worldwide will process the majority of their transactions in the cloud by 2016.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges and what’s required to overcome these obstacles when adopting cloud solutions to power your business.

Challenge #1:  Integrating and sharing data between SaaS and on-premise must not be taken lightly

For most banks and insurance companies considering new SaaS based CRM, Marketing, and Support applications with solutions from Salesforce and others must consider the importance of migrating and sharing data between cloud and on-premise applications in their investment decisions.  Migrating existing customer, account, and transaction history data is often done by IT staff through the use of custom extracts, scripts, and manual data validations which can carry over invalid information from legacy systems making these new application investments useless in many cases.

For example, customer type descriptions from one or many existing systems may be correct in their respective databases however collapsing them into a common field in the target application seems easy to do. Unfortunately, these transformation rules can be complex and that complexity increases when dealing with tens if not hundreds of applications during the migration and synchronization phase. Having capable solutions to support the testing, development, quality management, validation, and delivery of existing data from old to new is not only good practice, but a proven way of avoiding costly workarounds and business pain in the future.

Challenge 2:  Managing and sharing a trusted source of shared business information across the enterprise.

As new SaaS applications are adopted, it is critical to understand how to best govern and synchronize common business information such as customer contact information (e.g. address, phone, email) across the enterprise. Most banks and insurance companies have multiple systems that create and update critical customer contact information, many of them which reside on-premise. For example, insurance customers who update contact information such as a phone number or email address while filing an insurance claim will often result in that claims specialist to enter/update only the claims system given the siloed nature of many traditional banking and insurance companies. This is the power of Master Data Management which is purposely designed to identify changes to master data including customer records in one or many systems, update the customer master record, and share that across other systems that house and require that update is essential for business continuity and success.

In conclusion, SaaS adoption will continue to grow in financial services and across other industries. The silver lining in the cloud is your data and the technology that supports the consumption and distribution of it across the enterprise. Banks and insurance companies investing in new SaaS solutions will operate in a hybrid environment made up of Cloud and core transaction systems that reside on-premise. Cloud adoption will continue to grow and to ensure investments yield value for businesses, it is important to invest in a capable and scalable data integration platform to integrate, govern, and share data in a hybrid eco-system. To learn more on how to deal with these challenges, click here and download a complimentary copy of the new “Salesforce Integration for Dummies”

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Posted in B2B, Cloud, Financial Services | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The State of Salesforce Report: Trends, Data, and What’s Next

A guest post by Jonathan Staley, Product Marketing Manager at Bluewolf Beyond, a consulting practice focused on innovating live cloud environments.

Guest blogger Jonathan Staley

Guest blogger Jonathan Staley

Now in its third year (2012, 2013), The State of Salesforce Annual Review continues to be the most comprehensive report on the Salesforce ecosystem. Based on the data from over 1,000 global Salesforce users, this report highlights how companies are using the Salesforce platform, where resources are being allocated, and where industry hype meets reality. Over the past three years, the report has evolved much like the technology, shifting and transforming to address recent advancements, and well as tracking longitudinal trends in the space.

We’ve found that key integration partners like Informatica Cloud continue to grow in importance within the Salesforce ecosystem. Beyond the core platform offerings from Salesforce, third-party apps and integration technologies have received considerable attention as companies look to extend the value of their initial investments and unite systems. The need to sync multiple platforms and applications is an emerging need in the Salesforce ecosystem—which will be highlighted in the 2014 report.

As Salesforce usage expands, so does our approach to survey execution. In line with this evolution, here’s what we’ve learned over the last three years from data collection:

Functions, Departments Make a Difference

Sales, Marketing, IT, and Service all have their own needs and pain points. As Salesforce moves quickly across the enterprise, we want to recognize the values, priorities, and investments by each department. Not only are the primary clouds for each function at different stages of maturity, but the ways in which each department uses their cloud are unique. We anticipate discovery of how enterprises are collaborating across functions and clouds.

Focus on Region

As our international data set continues to grow we are investing in regionalized reports for the US, UK, France, and Australia. While we saw indications of differences between each region in last year’s survey, they were not statistically significant.

Customer Engagement is a Top Priority

Everyone agrees that customer engagement is important, but what are companies actually doing about it? A section on predictive analytics and questions about engagement specific to departments has been included in this year’s survey. We suspect that the recent trend of companies empowering employees with a combination of data and mobile will be validated in the survey results.

Variation Across Industries

As an added bonus, we will build a report targeting specific insights from the Financial Services industry.

We Need Your Help

Our dataset depends on input from Salesforce users spanning all functions, roles, industries, and regions. Every response matters. Please take 15 minutes to share your Salesforce experiences, and you will receive a personalized report, comparing your responses to the aggregate survey results.

Click the Banner to take the Survey

Click the Banner to take the Survey

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Posted in Cloud, Cloud Application Integration, Cloud Computing, Cloud Data Integration, Cloud Data Management, SaaS | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cloud Day Tidings and Tidbits at Informatica World 2014

With practically every on-premise application having a counterpart in the SaaS world, enterprise IT departments have truly made the leap to a new way of computing that is transforming their organizations. The last mile of cloud transformation lies in the field of integration, and it is for this purpose that Informatica had a dedicated Cloud Day this year at Informatica World 2014.

The day kicked off with an introduction by Ronen Schwartz, VP and GM of Informatica Cloud, to the themes of intelligent data integration, comprehensive cloud data management, and cloud process automation. The point was made that with SaaS applications being customized frequently, and the need for more data insights from these apps, it is important to have a single platform that can excel at both batch and real-time integration. A whole series of exciting panel discussions followed, ranging from mission critical Salesforce.com integration, to cloud data warehouses, to hybrid integration use cases involving Informatica PowerCenter and Informatica Cloud.

In the mission critical Salesforce.com integration panel, we had speakers from Intuit, InsideTrack, and Cloud Sherpas. Intuit talked about how they went live with Informatica Cloud in under four weeks, with only two developers on hand. InsideTrack had an interesting use case, wherein, they were using the force.com platform to build a native app that tracked performance of students and the impact of coaching on them. InsideTrack connected to several databases outside the Salesforce platform to perform sophisticated analytics and bring them into their app through the power of Informatica Cloud. Cloud Sherpas, a premier System Integrator, and close partner of both Salesforce.com and Informatica outlined three customer case studies of how they used Informatica Cloud to solve complex integration challenges. The first was a medical devices company that was trying to receive up-to-the-minute price quotes be integrating Salesforce and SAP, the second was a global pharmaceuticals company that was using Salesforce to capture data about their research subjects and needed to synchronize that information with their databases, and the third was Salesforce.com itself.

The die-hard data geeks came out in full force for the cloud data warehousing panel. Accomplished speakers from Microstrategy, Amazon, and The Weather Channel discussed data warehousing using Amazon Web Services. A first-time attendee to this panel would have assumed that cloud data warehousing simply dealt with running relational databases on virtual machines spun up from EC2, but instead participants were in enthralled to learn that Amazon Redshift was a relational database that ran 100% in the cloud. The Weather Channel uses Amazon Redshift to perform analytics on almost 750 million rows of data. Using Informatica Cloud, they can load this data into Redshift in a mere half hour. Microstrategy talked about their cloud analytics initiatives and how they looked at it holistically from a hybrid standpoint.

On that note, it was time for the panel of hybrid integration practitioners to take the stage, with Qualcomm and Conde Nast discussing their use of PowerCenter and Cloud. Qualcomm emphasized that the value of Informatica Cloud was the easy access to a variety of connectors, and that they were using connectors for Salesforce, NetSuite, several relational databases, and web services. Conde Nast mentioned that it was extremely easy to port mappings between PowerCenter and Cloud due to the common code base between the two.

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Posted in Cloud Computing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside Dreamforce ’13: Why sales may be building 360-degree customer views outside Salesforce

I had a disturbing conversation at Dreamforce. Long story short, thousands of highly skilled and highly paid financial advisors (read sales reps) at a large financial services company are spending most of their day pulling together information about their clients in a spreadsheet, leaving only a few hours to engage with clients and generate revenue.

Not all valuable customer information is in Salesforce

360_degree_city-1024x640

Are you in sales? Your time is too valuable to squander on jobs technology can do. Stop building 360-degree customer views in spreadsheets. Get it delivered in Salesforce.

Why? They don’t have a 360-degree customer view within Salesforce.

Why not? Not all client information that’s valuable to the financial advisors is in Salesforce.  Important client information is in other applications too, such as:

  • Marketing automation application
  • Customer support application
  • Account management applications
  • Finance applications
  • Business intelligence applications

Are you in sales? Do you work for a company that has multiple products or lines of business? Then you can probably relate. In my 15 years of experience working with sales, I’ve found this to be a harsh reality. You have to manually pull together customer information, which is a time-consuming process that doesn’t boost job satisfaction.

Stop building 360-degree customer views in spreadsheets 

So what can you do about it? Stop building 360-degree customer views in spreadsheets. There is a better way and your sales operations leader can help.

One of my favorite customer success stories is about one of the world’s leading wealth management companies, with 16,000 financial advisors globally.  Like most companies, their goal is to increase revenue by understanding their customers’ needs and making relevant cross-sell and up-sell offers.

But, the financial advisors needed an up-to-date view of the “total customer relationship” with the bank before they talked to their high net-worth clients. They wanted to appear knowledgeable and offer a product the client might actually want.

Can you guess what was holding them back? The bank operated in an account-centric world. Each line of business had its own account management application. To get a 360-degree customer view, the financial advisors spent 70% of their time pulling important client information from different applications into spreadsheets. Sound familiar?

Once the head of sales realized this, he decided to invest in information management technology that provides clean, consistent and connected customer information and delivers a 360-degree customer view within Salesforce.

The result? They’ve had a $50 million dollar impact annually and a 30% increase in productivity. In fact, word spread to other banks and the 360-degree customer view in Salesforce became an incentive to attract top talent in the industry.

Ask sales operations to give you 360-degree customer views within Salesforce

I urge you to take action. In particular, talk to your sales operations leader if he or she is at all interested in improving performance and productivity, acquiring and retaining top sales talent, and cutting costs.

Want to see how you can get 360-degree customer views in Salesforce? Check out this demo: Enrich Customer Data in Your CRM Application with MDM. Then schedule a meeting with your sales operations leader.

Have a similar experience to share? Please share it in the comments below.

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Posted in Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customers, Data Integration, Data Quality, Financial Services, Master Data Management, Operational Efficiency, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

With MDM Day, We’ve Tripled Expectations!

Last week I talked about Informatica World 2013, and how MDM is poised to be a major attraction. Now I know I was right, because the registrations are pouring in. Take MDM Day, the pre-conference event exclusively for our Master Data Management (MDM) customers and partners: So far, we’ve exceeded our attendance expectations threefold – to almost 350 people! This is exciting for us, but it’s also a clear sign of just how important MDM is in today’s IT infrastructure.

Here’s a bit about what we have planned for MDM Day:

In the morning, three Informatica MDM customers will present: Thomson Reuters, Lawson Products, and Allergan. Thomson Reuters will discuss how the company got its CxOs on-board with MDM, Lawson Products will recount a complete transformation in product data management, and Allergan will share insights on delivering repeated business value with MDM.

After each customer presentation, we’ll host an in-depth panel discussion led by both the customer and systems integration partners, which will be open to participation from the audience. These sessions will be highly interactive, allowing attendees to learn firsthand what worked and what didn’t, from some of Informatica’s most successful MDM customers.

In the afternoon sessions, attendees will be able to learn directly from Informatica MDM product management and development teams. We’ll demo the latest capabilities of MDM 9.5.1 and 9.6, including Salesforce MDM, and unveil some exciting new MDM advancements that are currently under development. Informatica MDM experts will discuss important architectural considerations in implementing Universal MDM, including Heiler PIM integration, and introduce ways to derive the most value from Universal MDM implementations.

We’ll cap off the day with roundtable discussions, providing customers with many opportunities to discuss their projects with Informatica development, product management, professional services, and support. Customers will be able to ask questions about new releases, features, and the MDM product roadmap, and they’ll have an opportunity to provide input for future versions. We’ll also offer a roundtable dedicated to discussing partner needs and ways to better support customer success.

I’ll look forward to seeing you at MDM Day!

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Posted in Master Data Management, Product Information Management | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Archiving Salesforce Data

I’ve been approached by a number of customers who are looking to archive data from their Salesforce application.  There are two primary drivers I have heard cited:

  • The need to manage the retention of Salesforce data and easily find and access it for legal eDiscovory
  • Storage cost reduction for data that’s no longer active

(more…)

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Posted in Application ILM, Cloud Computing, Data Archiving | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Can A Single View of Your Customer Helps You Better Manage your Customer Service? (Part One)

One thing we all have in common in this modern world, is that we have all, at some point in our lives, been on the receiving end of poor customer service.

Don’t get me wrong, a career in customer service is not an easy one, and I’m sure there are many service providers out there who have been wrongly on the receiving end of an angry customer, for reasons out of the businesses hands, that’s another topic in itself. It is hard, however, to ignore that one thing companies often fail on heavily is providing a timely, easy to access and appropriate level of service for their customers. (more…)

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Posted in Cloud Computing, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Your SaaS Applications Also Need Archiving

Just like your on-premise database applications like E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel and custom applications, SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Oracle CRM On Demand, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Eloqua and others will experience large data growth causing performance issues and increasing costs.

As data grows in your SaaS applications, the performance of accessing transactions and reporting will degrade.  Your SaaS vendors will also require more time, effort, and cost to maintain and manage this data. Backups, upgrades and replication of these environments will take longer and application availability will be impacted due to longer maintenance windows. Your SaaS application vendors will require more storage to house the additional data and this cost will be passed on to you. (more…)

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Posted in Application ILM, Data Archiving, SaaS | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment