We are happy to offer some insights on Salesforce drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. Earlier this year we published the Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Business Intelligence 2019, the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. We then developed three additional Value Indexes on Analytics and BI focusing on mobile, embedded and collaborative capabilities. Because each is a critical aspect of modern business intelligence, we developed specific criteria for each in order to provide an in-depth look at features geared specifically to mobile, embedded and collaborative use.
In all of our Values Indexes we utilize a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for analytics and business intelligence. We evaluated Salesforce.com and 14 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and on data derived from our benchmark research on analytics and business intelligence.
Salesforce Einstein Analytics is a public cloud service. The architecture is based on accessing Salesforce data and loading other data into the Salesforce platform.
Salesforce Einstein Analytics performed best in Adaptability, where it ranks sixth with good capabilities for integration into business processes and other applications. The company also continues to be a leader with some of its collaboration features. In addition, Salesforce provides some interesting interactive tools for TCO/ROI analysis to help justify investments in its products.
MOBILE ANALYTICS & BI
Salesforce offers native mobile applications of Einstein Analytics for both iOS and Android devices. The company’s mobile applications are designed to be easy to use, but the breadth of analytic functionality is more limited than in the offerings of other vendors we evaluated. As a result Einstein Analytics ranks 11th overall in this Value Index.
Salesforce has been a pioneer in collaboration capabilities and has brought many of those capabilities to the mobile platform. However, mobile users may need to access information when offline or disconnected. Additional visualizations on the mobile device such as geographic maps would also be helpful.
EMBEDDED ANALYTICS & BI
Salesforce does a good job embedding and delivering its capabilities within Salesforce applications in a way that makes it easy for line of business personnel to take advantage of them. However, this assessment considers the broader set of requirements for embedding analytics into other applications and creating completely custom applications. As a result, Einstein Analytics ranks 12th overall in the Value Index.
Salesforce has a strong commitment to the developer community with its Lightning Platform and Heroku products. However, better forecasting, planning and scorecarding capabilities would be valuable components to embed in analytic applications.
COLLABORATIVE ANALYTICS & BI
Salesforce was an early pioneer in bringing collaboration to business applications. It ranks the highest in social-media-style interactions, offering the ability to initiate discussions as well as post and annotate documents. Salesforce also succeeds in extending those capabilities to mobile devices and Einstein Analytics provides good personalization capabilities. However, Einstein Analytics lacks some of the analyses that help support collaboration and communication within the organization. Better scorecarding and strategy management capabilities would be valuable in helping facilitate better communication of an organization’s progress toward its goals and strategy.
As a result, Einstein Analytics ranks 9th overall in both the Value Index and the Capability category.
The company has continued to expand its analytics capabilities and is becoming more competitive in this market, but still lacks some of the advanced analytics and communication capabilities we sought in this Value Index. Better data modeling and data access would help improve its Capability score.
This assessment was based on the Summer ’18 release. Since we completed our evaluation, Salesforce released the Winter ’19 version. The new version includes a number of features that make it easier to learn the product including in-app videos and a Learning Adventure App. A number of navigation and visualization enhancements have been made including conversational queries, which enables the user to begin to type a query and then select from offered options. The new release also includes enhancements for application developers and administrators. Salesforce recently announced that it intends to acquire Tableau to bolster its portfolio of analytics and BI.
This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of analytics and business intelligence software in the industry. Technology buyers can learn more about how to use our Value Index by clicking here and included vendors that wish to learn more can click here. Read the report here.