Wave also met a crucial criterion for Colangelo. It must be accessible via smartphones and tablets, enabling sales managers to view data while traveling on trains, planes and other modes of transportation that don’t lend themselves well to desktop or even laptop access. "We don't want reports that you can only look at on a desktop," he says. “Trying to move a 180-plus-year-old company to that digital information-seeking culture is not easy without the right tools.”
Sales managers are currently the primary users of Wave, but Colangelo says some sales representatives are using it to track their own key performance indicator analyses and create price quotes and forecasts while they are meeting with clients. HMH’s customer service team is also using it to refer to accounts as they field service calls.
Analytics yield big ROI
The move from testing to implementation was particularly fast. Colangelo says HMH conducted a five-week proof-of-concept involving 50 million record sets before launching into production in early 2015. Since implementing the software, HMH sales teams have closed more deals every month.
HMH is on track to break even on its investment in less than a year and should earn a return on investment of more than 200 percent over five years, according to IDC senior research analyst Matthew Marden, who analyzed the project.
HMH's implementation of Wave Analytics is also a major win for Salesforce.com, which was criticized for years for not having an analytics offering, instead electing to partner with companies such as Birst and IBM.
More broadly, the project underscores the shift in market dynamics away from traditional, on-premises BI tools to cloud services. Research Gartner published in February shows that while 90 percent of organizations use some form of traditional BI tool today, 50 percent of new BI and analytics deployments will come on cloud or subscription-based models, up from 20 percent in 2016.
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