Around the world, organizations spend tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars every year implementing and supporting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA) software.
They spend these enormous sums of money for one simple reason - they expect to see significant financial returns by gaining control and visibility into their sales cycles and their customer bases. Are they getting the value they expected?
A newly released research report by Dimensional Research suggests that they are not.
"Current State of SFA Business Analytics" Report
This report, "The Current State of SFA Business Analytics", reveals that an overwhelming percentage of SFA customers would receive more value from their SFA investments if only they had easy to use, functionally complete and integrated analysis tools - so that they could perform common business critical functions like pipeline management and history-based forecasting.
Overwhelming Need for Integrated Solutions
By "overwhelming" percentage of Salesforce.com users that aren't achieving what they need from their investment, I mean 90% of Salesforce.com users. That's pretty overwhelming in my opinion.
There are a number of Cloud-based Analytics solutions that can address this issue - For example, leading analytics vendor Birst, who sponsored the Dimensional Research report and made it available to the public free of charge.
What this report tells me is that core business applications (such as SFA, CRM, Help Desk, Financials, Human Resources/Human Capital Management, and so on) REQUIRE integration with other kinds of software in order to realize the full value of the business application. Conversely, as a business application is integrated with an increasing number of "added value" applications and data sources, the value of that business application rises.
It's no wonder that "Silo" software (i.e. business application software that is stand-alone and not connected to any other corporate applications or data) has a rate of failure many times higher than integrated business applications.
In a discussion with Birst CEO Brad Peters on this topic, Brad highlighted one example of how an integrated Cloud Analytics solution helps customers leverage the full value of an SFA platform, "High performing sales organizations want to go beyond just knowing how big their current pipeline is. They need to know how it is changing and how those changes impact revenue. This gives them the forward visibility they require that they just can't get with Salesforce.com alone."
Although Peters comments are specific to a Sales Force Automation platform, the point he makes is 100% valid as applied to a wide variety of different types of business applications.
Such applications - ranging from Help Desk to Human Capital Management to CRM to Accounts Payable would deliver more value when integrated with an easy to use and highly capable Analytics solution such as Birst.
Integration - a Foundation for Adding Value
There are entire software markets that are built around "adding value" to Mega-Applications like SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, and such. The software companies in those markets generate value for their customers by providing leading-edge functionality that the "core" software application lacks.
The ability of those value-added applications to integrated easily and tightly with the "core" business applications is critical to their success.
They need to either have strong integration capabilities embedded into their product, or leverage partnerships with leading (ideally SaaS-based) toolsets like Boomi, Informatica Cloud, MuleSoft Mule iON or SnapLogic in order to deliver rapid time to value.