Cloud software vendor Salesforce is announcing today that financial-planning software startups Anaplan and Host Analytics have signed on as partners for Salesforce’s recently released business-analytics cloud service. With the new partnership in place, managers will be able to make financial projections and ask questions of the data right from within Salesforce.
And that means Salesforce is making its analytics cloud useful for more types of business functions. By partnering with more types of software sellers, Salesforce is fulfilling its vision of having its analytics cloud come in handy for much more than just analyzing data already inside of Salesforce’s sales, service, or marketing systems.
The news comes six months after Salesforce announced the analytics cloud, under the name Wave, at its Dreamforce conference. At the time, Salesforce said that it had signed up several types of partners, integration software vendors, system integrators, and even predictive-analytics startups. Today’s planning partnerships mark the first extension of the analytics cloud since then.
And Salesforce will continue to expand it later this year, Keith Bigelow, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce analytics cloud, told VentureBeat in an interview this week.
“Behavior will be more of what you’ll see us talk about,” Bigelow said.
But today’s announcement is not too shabby on its own. Now financial wonks inside of companies will be able to make various adjustments to their financial forecasts and then communicate with salespeople already using Salesforce based on their findings. And the salespeople can make various visualizations and financial projections, too.
This part of Salesforce was first publicly unveiled — in a tweet, in fact — last year. But its origin actually goes back to 2012, when Bigelow, formerly of SAP’s Business Objects, first approached Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff with a business plan in hand.
“The basic argument was we have petabytes of data, we have more than 100,000 customers, and they very much want us to enter into analytics,” Bigelow said. Benioff liked the idea, and Bigelow’s fledgling team got the go-ahead to start hiring. They picked up predictive analytics capability through the acquisition of early-stage startup Prior Knowledge, and got more talent through two acquisitions in 2013. And then came the launch of the analytics cloud in October 2014.
Bigelow, who said he checks the analytics cloud to do his own work every day, wouldn’t say how many customers the analytics cloud has racked up so far. But he did name a couple: Akamai and Equinix.
Bigelow seems convinced that companies will like the idea of making financial planning more collaborative and accessible.
“I don’t think guessing is the solution most companies want to choose for their strategy of what to do next,” he said.