Salesforce.com today announced a new mobile reports and dashboards tool that runs on their mobile Salesforce1 platform. The goal of the product is to give salespeople access to information on the go, presented to them in a customized fashion to meet the unique needs of each individual user.
Salesforce customers have told them, it’s great to have access to data at their desks, but very often, salespeople are in the field and they need access to information wherever they are. The new Salesforce1 Mobile Reports and Dashboards product is designed to give them the information they need on the fly from their mobile devices.
According to Salesforce, you can create custom dashboards with the data that matters most to you and you can even drill down into the data to see the raw data on which the dashboard was based. Further, you can tap into third-party graphing tools like Google Charts or the open source D3 graphing tool.
As an example, say you’re the sales manager and you want to see your most lucrative opportunities for the month, you can bring up your pipeline dashboard, tap through to the underlying source data, sort by dollar amount and find which ones are most likely your most lucrative opportunities for the month, all from your mobile phone.
The product includes APIs to tap into the third-party products, to bring in data from third-party sources such as SAP’s billing tool and to even embed Salesforce data in a third-party app.
Anna Rosenman, director of analytics at Salesforce says there are a couple of key ideas at work in this product. First of all, they want to give customers access to the data that matters to each individual from a mobile device. As she said, you shouldn’t have to go back to your desk to access this information. Secondly, you can look at the underlying data and even update if need be, and finally you can create a customized view without help from IT.
“The way we think about it is that every action should be an informed action. Information is critical to making the right decision,” she said. And she added, the information is in the data, and SFDC is giving sales people to access to this data on a device they have with them all the time.
They plan to enable this on tablets eventually too, but said they decided to start with the smallest screen first, because they believe it’s easier to start small then scale up to larger screens, then it is to go the other way.
Overall, giving sales people access to data where they are is part of an industry trend giving customers access to more data to help them make informed decisions, whether it’s this tool or the Zendesk Insights tool we reported on last month.
If my statement from May is true that every company is a big data company, then giving users access to crucial data wherever they are becomes increasingly imperative –and that’s precisely what SFDC appears to be attempting to do here.