Wave Analytics a Business Intelligence Tool

In order to provide insight into your business Salesforce offers two different product solutions: Salesforce Reports & Dashboards and Wave Analytics. If you are evaluating solutions that will help you provide insight into your CRM data or any data that resides within Salesforce, reports and dashboards may be able to meet this requirement. However, if you are looking for insight into your business data across the business where data comes from different sources like ERP, third-party software, you are looking for a Business Intelligence (BI) tool.


Analytics Cloud is a product that has addressed various problems that today’s data analyst, business analysts, and operations managers are faced with. On a single platform, Wave Analytics gathers data from different sources as data sets. Data sets can be created from different sources like: Salesforce Objects, Excel spreadsheets, and using middleware solutions like Informatica, Dell Boomi, and others that help interfacing data from other source systems. The data available in Sales Analytics is real-time. Wave Analytics has a back-end query and analysis interface called “Lenses” that enables end-users to analyzes real-time data slicing and dicing the data in a manner that drives answers to their business questions.

Wave Analytics a BI tool:

Wave is a cloud-based data platform as well as a data-analysis front end, and it's designed to analyze not just Salesforce sales, service, and marketing data, but also any third-party app data, desktop data, or public data you care to bring into the mix.

What can you do with Wave?

Wave Analytics is a self-service analytics application that enables you to visualize and interpret large volumes of data to give you important insights about your organization. How does it work:

  • Gather Salesforce and external data
  • Create aggregate views of Salesforce and external data
  • Load these as datasets into Wave
  • Utilize Lenses to perform queries on your data
  • Slice and dice the data to answer business questions using Wave dashboards

Questions to ask while evaluating between Salesforce Reports & Dashboards and Wave Analytics?

  •  Do all of my data sources reside within Salesforce?
  • Do I need data from third-party apps, social media, ERP etc. to answer the business questions I am faced with?
  • Am I interested in year over year historical data trending and analysis?
  • Do my end-users need to perform data discovery to perform data driven decisions and actions?

If your answers to the above questions require you to extract data from different data sources outside of Salesforce and integrate this data to the sales data that resides in Salesforce to measure different metrics, Wave Analytics is your solution. If you are looking at data that resides completely in Salesforce and users do not need to interact with the Salesforce data dynamically in order to take decisions, Reports and Dashboards will meet your solution requirement.


Following is a dashboard created in Wave that provides insight into Opportunity data by product family and opportunity stage. A Sales Leader may be interested in drilling down into Opportunity data for specific product families. They can easily do this by selecting a product family as a result of which the dashboard data changes to extract only the data that the Sales Leader is interested in.

In order to have visibility to the same level of analytics i.e. to allow an end-user to discover data pertaining to specific product families, you will need to clone a report multiple times and create multiple dashboards when you use Reports and Dashboard. For example, separate reports will need to be created for Product Quantity by Opportunity Stage and Product Quantity by Stage. Cross filters across dashboard components will not be available.

This data will need be extracted into a spreadsheet and combined manually to report on data in 2 reports that use a filter like Product Family.  This makes the data or reports available to leadership static and also increases dependency on IT analysts, Operations Managers etc. Wave is a great tool for self-service data discovery that enables data driven decisions and actions.

CRM manager