"I don't want to give them all my data, and they certainly don't want to share all their data," Walker says. "We can let Lattice act as a kind of escrow account. You can imagine the amount of data we have internally about our customers and the products and services they've purchased. It's rich and valuable. But you take a partner like VMware and running their data in tandem with ours makes our data much richer."
Lattice Engine always plays well with other vendors, such as Salesforce.com, he says, and Lattice was also able to feed results into other tools.
"I wouldn't say it was automatic and truly standards-based," he adds. "Lattice is not quite a turnkey, flip-the-switch offering yet. Interoperability and open standards would always help."
Complicated integration projects can sometimes slow deployments, however. It took SourceMedia about three months to complete its integration with Scout Analytics, for example.
"It was slightly more complicated than a regular integration in that we have multiple systems that Scout had to worry about," says SourceMedia's Reinebach.
Scout can pull data from billing systems, internal CRM platforms and outside vendors like Salesforce.com. Scout Analytics also pulls in third-party information, such as databases that can link visitors' IP addresses to the companies where they work, or from vendors that track social media sentiment. The results can also be exported both by individual users, and programmatically through a query language.
Salesforce.com is at the center of many cloud-based analytics projects, because of its dominance in the CRM space.
Rembrandt M&A is the largest adviser for people looking to buy or sell companies in the Benelux region, part of the Netherlands-based Rabobank Group, and a Salesforce.com customer.
"We use CRM in the way it is meant to be used," says Gerrard Snippe, Rembrandt's IT manager. "We attach every email. We log every meeting. We log every phone call. We really try to build a good 360-degree view of our contacts."
Then there are all the knowledge documents, best practices, and templates, plus a third-party database that collects information on all the small firms in the Netherlands.
And where Salesforce falls short, there are many vendors in the Salesforce ecosystem that can help fill in the gaps. For example, for Rembrandt, the challenge was to search through all these documents to create easy-to-use, holistic views of companies, and the solution was a tool from Quebec-based Coveo, which makes indexing technology that can correlate large amounts of data from different channels.
Salesforce.com has been actively expanding its reach lately. It moved into the social analytics space in 2011 when it acquired Radian6. Last fall, the company built on this with an announcement of its Marketing Cloud, with an ecosystem of 20 social analytics vendors. Salesforce.com also offers access to third-party data sets, like Experian's business credit data, and company information from D&B.
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