Salesforce has spent billions of dollars in the last 18 months acquiring several software and data integration companies, like Datorama and Mulesoft, the latest being a $15.3B purchase of data visualisation company Tableau.
The CRM giant is collecting “pieces” of the enterprise data system puzzle, and showing just how valuable the capability is, according to Paul Harapin, Vice President and General Manager, APJ, of rival SaaS company Domo.
“You’ve got to connect to data, you’ve got to be able to store that data somewhere and be able to enable access at sub-second response time [and] you’ve got to be able to prepare the data,” Harpin told Which-50.
It is a challenging but increasingly necessary operation, Harapin says, further complicated by the increasing volume and sources of data. He says some Domo clients are dealing with typical operational data from ERP and CRM systems but must also integrate external data from Facebook, IoT devices, and even weather data.
“You name it, data is everywhere. And then you have to provide a high level of governance and control around that data,” Harapin said.
“Lots of companies have been very successful, taking small pieces of this problem, and just doing one thing.”
Harapin says Domo offers all those pieces in one “social view” of data, through its platform, underpinned by its “Seven Samurai” approach to data and systems integration.
This year the company signalled a push into automating the processes resulting from the data integration, collaboration and alerts, announcing several new features at its annual user conference, Domopalooza, in Utah in March.
“Now that we’ve built that platform, we’ve now started to layer capability across [it]. Which is data science, IoT [and others],” Harapin said.
“We call it Mr. Roboto, which is one of the seven samurai, which is the artificial intelligence, machine learning component.”
The APJ GM argues this gives customers a great deal more data access and governance controls in an open environment, but importantly, it delivers them quickly. Harapin says many customers are extracting value within days rather than the years required of traditional BI programs.
He added, Domo’s underlying philosophy, which remains with the new automation and data science tools, is to be “able to run your business from your phone”.
The examples he used was an event automatically triggering an update of Salesforce fields, and automating stock orders when levels fall below a certain threshold. Harapin said he expects customers to use a combination of the manual approach and the new automation tools.
“Some things you’ll say, ‘when this happens, just do it’. But if this happens, I want to manually decide what I want to do.
“So that’s the journey that we’ve we’ve started off with a lot of the announcements that we’ve put out at Domopalooza.”
During the event Domo unveiled its “Business Automation Engine”, an orchestration layer in the Domo platform that uses machine learning and advanced alerting capabilities to help organisations coordinate “intelligent, event-based workflows” which the company says will “shorten the time from insights to action”.
Domo is a company which traditionally markets itself on transparency and data governance, and the new automation tools will likely present some new risks. Harapin said ultimately customers have control of the automation capabilities and it was a market demand Domo couldn’t ignore.
“I think [more automation is] something that’s going to happen. And that’s a non-stoppable wave that’s coming through. As long as you’ve got the controls and systems and someone in place that’s relevant to that decision [it is safe].”