Earlier this week a hundred attendees crammed into in San Francisco’s Geekdom, for a night of drinks and dashboards, pizza and predictive analytics, networking and next-gen business intelligence. A night perfectly suited for the Salesforce Data Analytics Meetup.

Salesforce’s Alex Toussaint, Sr. Director Product Management for Wave Analytics, and our very own Elliott Yama, VP of Analytics, demoed the latest and greatest of actionable analytics on the Salesforce platform. Here is the rundown of what everyone learned.

The What

The Wave is breaking in the realm of business intelligence (yes, pun intended). Last year at Dreamforce 2014, Marc Benioff unveiled the new Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Analytics Wave. Less than a year later, any and every business user is able to explore any combination of data, get answers instantly and share them across the company. Admins, IT, developers, number-nuts, and data-buffs can now explore the limitless potential of their business’s capabilities in what Toussaint and company affectionately call the Analytics Playground. On the Salesforce platform you can unify silos of information into a singular source of truth, meaning real-time dashboards with actionable data.

Built atop Wave on the Salesforce1 platform is Quote-to-Cash Intelligence, which is revolutionizing the way companies navigate a deal process from initial quote all the way through to revenue recognition. Apttus Quote-to-Cash Intelligence is the only solution that delivers integrated visibility, insight and control across the entire Quote-to-Cash process.

The Where

iphone 6Big data no longer has to be big. Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Quote-to-Cash Intelligence has taken traditional business intelligence (BI) and data aggregation out of large data warehouses and places it at your fingertips. Business users and their teams have advance visibility into changes that impact revenue targets, granular insight into Quote-to-Cash tradeoffs, and immediate control over KPIs and deal drivers from their phones or even their watches. Reps can configure a deal and create a quote in the field with a client. Managers can monitor pipeline and make approvals as they take place, so deals are always moving forward. They can also assess business exposure to risk measured against risk definitions and thresholds for quoting, contracting, order fulfillment, invoicing, and revenue management. You’ll have a constant figure on the pulse of your business, with actionable insight from any device and any desired moment. Which leads us to…

The When

Not only can you react anytime, in real-time, you can stay ahead of change with insight derived from four key analytical capabilities, rooted in overlapping functions of time so you will not only have a 360° degree view of your business performance, but a 360° view of when it took place. You’ll know what happened, what’s happening as it happens, and what is expected to happen, so you can accurately plan and forecast for the future.

      – Helps users understand what has already occurred by laying out relevant summaries and supporting data in formats that are easy to consume both by end user staff and management

II. Predictive Analytics

      – Helps users recognize patterns and detect meaningful trends, and more significantly, generates projections of different developments for different time horizons based on output of the analysis

III. Prescriptive Analytics

      – Delivers granular insights and forecasts on of what is likely to occur, accompanied by relevant, system-driven recommendations on next best actions and tactics to adopt

IV. Cognitive Analytics (Machine Driven)

    – Exploits machine learning to refine trend and pattern analyses on an ongoing, unsupervised basis, to constantly evaluate processes and associate data; and to automatically initiate specific, suitable policies, actions and workflows

The Why

Here are the benefits of Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Quote-to-Cash Intelligence, summed up into three are providing three critical results:

1. Greater Speed & Control – Speed is becoming the market’s key differentiator. But it’s more than just working fast. Advanced analytics are providing greater visibility and control accuracy over the process, allowing companies to be to be more responsive and adaptable than ever before.

2. Empowerment – Decisions can be made by those who need to make them as they need to be made. No longer do you have to log tickets with IT and data analysts. No longer do you have to wait on reports. Work in stride with your business as deals unfold and trends change.

3. More Effective Customer Interaction – We discussed the many benefits from the business side of things, but one of the most important benefits is how you can more effectively acquire, retain and satisfy your customers. With this data you can ask the right questions to uncover new opportunities. Case usage and product data stats can help you hone in on product design gaps With dynamic rules and dynamic CPQ, you can provide the best deal, not just for your margins, but tailor fit to your customer’s needs. You will know where you are meeting customer needs, and where and how you can improve the business.

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