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September 27, 2016updated 13 Jan 2017 12:03pm

UK businesses continue Salesforce innovation despite data challenges

Businesses are increasingly looking at intelligent applications to increase their chances of success.

By James Nunns

Imperfect data isn’t slowing down the rate of innovation for Salesforce users despite it being a key struggle.

Although a correlation could be expected to be seen between having perfect data and achieving outcomes that is not being seen, at least for Salesforce customers who are continuing to move ahead with the data they have at the moment.

Glen Stoffel, SVP, Strategic Development at Bluewolf, told CBR: “This speaks to the fact that people can sometimes get caught up in the analysis, don’t necessarily need perfect data to test out and innovate.”

This is in light of the fifth annual, ‘The State of Salesforce Report’ from Bluewolf, which found that 57% of UK companies say their data standards are substandard and 27% say that poor or inconsistent data quality is the biggest barrier to deriving business insights from Salesforce.

Businesses are continuing to increase investment in actionable analytics.

Businesses are continuing to increase investment in actionable analytics.

 

Rather than showing that this means that the data isn’t really important, it highlights that insights and correlations can often be found in smaller amounts of data, so only basing decisions off the perfect data set may not be necessary.

Businesses are also not only relying upon data to help them out, they are more increasingly looking at intelligent applications.

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In the UK, 44% of companies have now integrated one or more Salesforce clouds, compared to 36% globally. While bad data and a lack of integration can hinder businesses achieving their goals, it has been found that the more intelligent the applications are, the more likely they are to succeed.

This has resulted in 62% of UK companies decided to increase investment in analytics in the coming year, and 75% of companies globally increasing investment in analytics citing revenue gains as a measurable business outcome attributable to their use of Salesforce.

Stoffell said: “Everything from territory and route optimisation, which account will go to next and for what reason, call thinner, next best call and for what reason, cross sale and up sale. Those are the types of things where people are looking for help and intelligence to aid customer next best action.”

Over half of the companies surveyed described their most important applications as intelligent with the report saying that the best companies are focused on translating collections of data into intuitive, automotive experience that can, “power incredible customer moments.”

Sean Hoban, CEO at UK headquartered Salesforce partner Kimble Applications, a specialist in Professional Services Automation said he agreed that the trend now is moving to ‘systems of intelligence’ rather than ‘systems of engagement’.

He said: “These so called systems of intelligence though are more augmented intelligence, as opposed to true artificial intelligence systems with machine learning. Systems of intelligence are really just spotting trends or anomalies in data (through analytics), and prompting users to take action on this insight. Kimble is an example, as we are doing this for project managers, and guiding them to take action (actionable insights), by using charms, a bit like a petrol warning light on your car dashboard telling you to fill up with petrol, when certain data conditions are met . A lot of systems are just surfacing the data, and not translating that data into action, so I question whether the 52% of companies really do have intelligent systems, or whether they just have better data presented, so that they can apply human intelligence more effectively. The key to real systems of intelligence is the domain knowledge being encapsulated within the system/application, and knowing what to analyse. True self-learning applications are probably more likely/achievable where there is a large volume of transactions – e.g. Marketing applications.”

The picture being painted by the report is that the UK is moving ahead of many other countries when it comes to adopting Salesforce technology. On mobile 77% of companies say they can access Salesforce, compared to 70% globally.

Integrate clouds to improve employee experience.

Integrate clouds to improve employee experience.

However, being a fast adopter is only one piece of the puzzle as integration is key. So far 58% of companies have integrated, or plan to integrate Salesforce clouds, for those that haven’t integrated them data becomes less of a competitive asset.

The report found that 39% of those who have integrated cite data as a strategic asset, while only 28% of those who haven’t integrated can say the same.

The report is based on the insights of 1,700 Salesforce customers worldwide, including nearly 100 UK respondents.

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