Salesforce Reels BeyondCore Into Its Cloud


Salesforce has inked an agreement to acquire BeyondCore, a data analytics firm that already has integrated its latest release with Salesforce, the companies said Monday.

BeyondCore will become part of the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, extending smart data discovery and advanced analytics capabilities across the entire Salesforce Customer Success Platform, according to BeyondCore CEO Arijit Sengupta.

The acquisition will boost the Analytics Cloud's artificial intelligence efforts, according to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

"There are several ways to look at this," said Denis Pombriant, principal at Beagle Research Group.

One possibility is that "Salesforce sees a need for multiple kinds of business intelligence to support its multiple hardware platforms, uses, etc.," he told CRM Buyer.

Another is that it could be "buying up the best ideas with the idea of munging them together into the ultimate BI facility," Pombriant said.

Finally, it could be that Salesforce "isn't sure what it's looking for and is buying R&D as it tries to figure things out," he suggested.

Its application automatically analyzes data from databases, Hadoop or CSVs (comma-separated value files) using descriptive, diagnostic, prescriptive and predictive analytics for statistically significant insights in minutes, according to the company.

Users can share Microsoft Word, PowerPoin, and HTML reports in seconds.

BeyondCore's Dynamic Dashboard examines new and emerging statistically relevant patterns, and points out the most impactful insights.

The company holds more than 20 issued and pending patents, and its product has been used in 23 Fortune 500 firms.

"Salesforce already offers a highly usable solution that's largely used by its preexisting customers to analyze and track sales and services," noted Anne Moxie, a senior analyst at Nucleus Research.

BeyondCore will let Salesforce "attract net new customers with more enhanced functionality," she told CRM Buyer, "approaching them from an analytics-first perspective" that's competitive with standalone analytics vendors.

"Instead of having to spend additional time and effort on building some of these more advanced capabilities internally, Salesforce will be able to quickly leapfrog over competition in a market where there's an arms race to acquire some of the best startups in the industry," Moxie suggested.

Salesforce "is continuing to build and acquire technologies that help them grow their vision around the intelligent customer management platform," said Alan Lepofsky, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.

BeyondCore "helps sales reps visualize trends and patterns in their customer data, enabling them to focus on areas that need attention," he told CRM Buyer.

Salesforce two years ago launched its analytics cloud, Salesforce Wave, and last year employed it in a push into big data.

Wave "is supposed to be the flagship tool," Beagle's Pombriant noted. This "would support the notion of buying up R&D to build a mega facility."

Salesforce earlier this year purchased MetaMind, an AI company, and just last month closed its acquisition of Demandware, an e-commerce firm.

"MetaMind is more about language and image analysis, which will help to power next-generation user interfaces and customer interactions," said Doug Henschen, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.

"BeyondCore is much closer to Salesforce PredictionIO ... another machine learning-focused company acquired in February ... and RelateIQ, which became SalesforceIQ," he told CRM Buyer.

Analytics "is an enabler of better sales, marketing, commerce and service," Henschen observed.

"Machine learning is an enabler of faster, deeper, and -- with BeyondCore -- more automated analysis of data," he explained. "Deep-learning-based language and image analysis is an enabler of more human-friendly interfaces and interactions, and faster and better understanding of textual and image-based content."

Salesforce clearly is moving toward delivering automated predictive and prescriptive insights, Henschen said.

Next will be "embedding such insights -- or even better, recommendations -- directly in the context of their day-to-day applications, so [companies] can quickly act on the insight without visiting a separate analytical interface. Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are also headed in this direction," he added.

"Only time will tell how soon Salesforce can bring its many acquisitions together," Henschen said, "to continuously and automatically deliver fresh insights and recommendations right within the context of its sales, service and marketing applications."

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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