Upcoming Salesforce.com Release Focuses on New Analytics and Chatter Capabilities

Gianluigi is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

On January 11, a sandbox preview for the Spring '13 update is scheduled. In the Salesforce.com Spring ’13 Release Notes posted on salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) website, the company shows much focus on enhancing its core CRM application with new capabilities, which in light of previous developments is needed.

The Updates

The four most important updates as distilled by InfoWorld are:

1. Salesforce will enhance largely their social collaboration and messaging service, called Chatter, which covers areas such as search, content previewing and usability.

It's good that they spend resources on solving this problem because with social collaboration people face a continuous stream of information. The (technological) challenge is how to cope with that in relation to the purpose or need at that specific point of time of that specific person.

2. Another new feature will allow salespeople to run their forecasts by quarters.

3. Analytics will be enhanced due to the upcoming ability to view dashboards from Salesforce.com's Touch mobile interface. Salesforce.com has been challenged by analytics to date, Wang said:

"The reporting engines are good but advanced analytics still require other tools. Analytics has been the stepchild at Salesforce.com but a big opportunity for partners."

This needs focus, also in 2013 big data and data visualisation will get heaps of attention. Some of it is hype, but in the meanwhile data is piling up. See also the first point in relation to social collaboration data.

4. The last major new feature is regarding making online help resources to be found easier. This feature was proposed by a user on Salesforce.com's IdeaExchange site. The Help topics will be organized according to "feature area, user type, and task, so you won't be distracted by information about other features or by topics that are targeted at other kinds of users," the notes mentioned.

Oracle’s Acquisition of Eloqua

In light of Oracle (NYSE: ORCL)’s acquisition of Eloqua (NASDAQ: ELOQ), I think their enhancements in analytics are quite important. As mentioned above this regards to the big data and visualization challenge, but also a unified application suite that is able to offer the full cycle without using other tools is and will become more important in efficient and cost-effective processing and analyzing of data. Oracle is doing everything to make sure their clients will have fewer reasons to ever leave them with their one-stop-shop approach.

Competition

Salesforce’s social CRM might have competition from something called “full-box CRM.” A full-box CRM is pre-filled with “customers” (e.g., sales leads) and this is a big deal when it comes to resource allocation. Currently much of the time is spend on searching for the right people rather than going “outside the box” to find those people. Because all of the data is contained internally the amount of wasted productivity on data entry goes away.

I pointed it also out in this article, competition can be expected from different angles, for example the threat of subsititute products or new entrants.

 

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In relation to Salesforce, Oracle/Eloqua and full-box CRM, this could well be LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD). LinkedIn seems "exceedingly well-positioned to pounce on the full-box CRM opportunity and their recent acquisitions of Connected and Rapportive seems to indicate that they’re positioning to go after this full-force."

The vision and the goal both (social CRM and full-box CRM) want to achieve are the same, they way it is achieved is the differentiator and looking at the time-intensiveness of social media and the efficiency full-box CRM could provide, full-box CRM is an interesting addition to the CRM space.

It's too early to tell what approach is more beneficial, but the stakes are significant, those who can focus more on relationships within a real-time environment ànd is able to be more efficient with big data generation, has a good chance.


GLCuccureddu has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn and Oracle and has the following options: long JAN 2013 $50.00 puts on Salesforce.com. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Salesforce.com and LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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