This afternoon at a big presentation in San Francisco, Salesforce announced a new version of the Lightning CRM platform that includes built-in Wave analytics, intelligent email from its RelateIQ purchase in July, 2014 and configure-price-quote features from its SteelBrick acquisition at the end of last year.
In addition, the company announced a new built-in phone tool which allows sales people to make a call directly from Salesforce. It may not give it the power of Skype for Business just yet, but it’s a sign that they could be going after that market too at some point. This functionality is built into the application using Twilio’s Voice API.
With all of this new functionality, Salesforce is trying keep customers inside of Salesforce. They can manage the customer relationship. They can provide intelligent integration with email that can drive actions automatically. They can create a quote, send out a contract for signature and even make phone calls without leaving the application.
Then there’s Wave analytics, which offers users quick visual dashboards, charts and graphs to see how well they are doing, what they can do better, where are the best opportunities and all of the metrics a busy sales team needs to do their jobs.
In addition, they have componentized all of this functionality so that customers and third party developers can build all of this functionality into their applications.
The fact that all of this is integrated did not escape CEO Marc Benioff, who pointed out that they were able to incorporate the SteelBrick acquisition directly into their platform so quickly because SteelBrick wasn’t just any third-party app. It was one that had been built on top of the Salesforce platform.
As Benioff pointed out after 17 years, it’s hard to keep changing and growing, but they have done this with this new functionality. Of course, the proof will be in how well these components work together in practice and how deep this functionality goes. It’s one thing to add all of these features, but it’s another to do it with enough depth that they would replace popular alternatives.