Salesforce Customers Investing In Multiple Clouds, Report Finds - InformationWeek

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Salesforce Customers Investing In Multiple Clouds, Report Finds

Bluewolf consulting has released its fourth customer feedback report on Salesforce. It finds that the use of multiple clouds is increasing.

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Bluewolf, a consulting firm that designs enterprise systems around the Salesforce platform, is finding a growing number of Salesforce customers are investing in more than one Salesforce cloud product at a time and starting to invest more heavily in analytics.

However, there's still a long way to go.

Just 6% of Salesforce customers have invested in the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, a new offering launched in November. About 14% are planning to do so over the coming 12 months, according to Bluewolf's fourth annual State of Salesforce report for 2015.

That finding illustrates how Bluewolf is in a position to track the uptake of Salesforce technologies.

Bluewolf was founded as a consulting business 15 years ago and was one of the first to focus on Software-as-a-Service (Saas) technologies. It built up a broad business with Salesforce customers, and has consolidated feedback from 1,500 of them into its State of Salesforce report, with a disclaimer that Salesforce didn't influence its questions, data, or content.

"Bluewolf is the sole producer of this report," it claims.

(Image: Salesforce)

(Image: Salesforce)

Nevertheless, Bluewolf and Salesforce interests are closely intertwined. Bluewolf cites Standard Insurance as an example of how it used the third-party Apttus Quote-to-Cash application on top of Salesforce to build a customer quote tool that cut Standard's time to deliver quotes from three days to a fraction of an hour, it says.

One of Bluewolf's principal findings about the state of Salesforce SaaS is that a growing share of the customer base is using more than one Salesforce cloud service. Salesforce offers the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Wave Analytics Cloud, Community Cloud, and App Cloud, the latter the most recent addition for customizing Salesforce apps or building new apps to work with them.

[Want to learn more about Salesforce Wave Analytics? Check out InformationWeek's coverage.]

Forty-nine percent of Salesforce's customers are using two or more of these cloud services; 22% are using three or more, a doubling of the number in that category from a year ago. That fact, along with a potential 20% of the customer base adopting Analytics Wave over the next 12 months, illustrates how SaaS users find it easy to graft on additional functions once they're familiar with a vendor's user interface and pricing model.

When it comes to IT spending, Bluewolf says 64% of customers reported that they plan to increase their Salesforce budgets over the coming 12 months; 11% said they will increase the Salesforce share of their budget by 50% or more.

Specifically, 86% of the customer base uses the Sales Cloud, according to the Bluewolf sample. Of that share, 53% of these customers plan to increase their use and 44% plan to hold it steady at the present level. Likewise, 51% use the Service Cloud. Of that total, 44% plan to increase their use and 52% plan to remain where they are. The same figures for the Marketing Cloud are: 40% use it, and of those 36% plan to increase use and 61% plan to stay at their present level.

No budget projection was collected for Community Cloud, but 17% of customers currently use it, a figure slated to nearly double to 33% over the next 12 months, according to Bluewolf.

Although it's still early for customers to be using Wave Analytics, 68% of respondents said they wished to increase their use of analytics in some form over the coming 12 months. They cited several barriers to doing so. For example, 30% had difficulty giving their analysts access to different types of data, 28% said "poor or inconsistent" data quality, and 18% had difficulty reconciling data from different sources -- they had no one source of the truth.

Another 12% lacked the time to compose analytics reports; 7% said they lacked easy to use visualization tools; and 5% said they lacked data analysis skills.

Customers Using Analytics

Some respondents said they expect their data integration to improve as they expand their use of the Salesforce platform, but 58% of them made the point that they need to define and share best data analytics practices within

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Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
9/11/2015 | 5:03:25 PM
Data integration is finally built in
One overwhelming advantage that one vendor's software as a service has over other enterprise applications is that the data created by one is easily integrated with the operation of another. That's one of the forces behind the increasing use of Salesforce Sales, Service and Marketing clouds.
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