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FirstTouchScreenShotSmart mobile business analytics apps, pervasive business intelligence, and “big data” platforms are three of Forrester’s top 15 emerging technology trends. Now thanks to Salesforce and FirstRain, building smart mobile apps for businesses to activate all that data just got a lot easier and more powerful.

How simple? Think clicks, not code.

Last last year, Salesforce released its Touch Platform to extend its business intelligence, analytics, and data platform to mobile apps. It’s a powerful, write-once deploy-anywhere platform that makes quick mobile development easy for companies that use Salesforce, because it’s built around the idea that you can develop with your mouse, not your keyboard.

Today, FirstRain is bringing that platform alive with its first third-party enterprise integration: a drop-in HTML5 component that offers advanced in-app business analytics.

“We provide customer intelligence to enterprise sales teams at the world’s largest companies,” FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher told me last week. “GE Capital says we make the middle 70 percent of their sales team as well informed as the top 10 percent.”

Businesses can use Touch Platform to create apps for their in-house needs via drag-and-drop functionality. Companies can build apps for specific workflows, type of jobs, or classes of employees quickly and easily — a SalesForce representative told me the goal was to “democratize programming so that even business analysts can build and deploy apps themselves.”

That platform, however rich it is with Salesforce data and tools, becomes richer when other companies develop for it, building unique components that those same business analysts can then use in their apps … which is exactly what FirstRain has done.

FirstRain’s business is providing business intelligence on your customers — and your customers’ customers. The goal is that sales teams have a wealth of information about who they are approaching for a sales call, knowing not just how their products work, but also how their products would fit into their prospects’ corporate strategy.

Now, Salesforce customers can build that power into custom apps for their sales reps via drag-and-drop.

“The best sales teams know how to challenge the customer,” Herscher says. “The top 10 percent do this automatically, but the middle 70 percent doesn’t … so we automate the experience.”

Many of FirstRain’s customers, she says — companies like HP, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, and Qualcomm — are equipping their teams with Salesforce for customer relationship management, a selling methodology tailored to their industry and company, and FirstRain for customer intelligence.


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