Analytics is not a domain everyone's brain can adapt to easily. Combining statistics, data visualisation, operations research, programming savvy and more, the field has relied largely on specialists to make its data-focused interpretations useful in the practical sphere.
That, however, is slowly changing. Along with the rise of Big Data, efforts are increasingly emerging to put the power of analytics in the hands of business managers, often using the tools for mobile devices that are popular today.
A case in point is Salesforce.com's Wave Analytics Cloud, which the company updated Thursday.
"Business users are woefully underserved when it comes to getting access to data," said Anna Rosenman, director of product marketing for the Salesforce Analytics Cloud.
Mobile availability, meanwhile, is "often an afterthought" for analytics efforts, she added.
"The majority of BI platforms out there are not designed for business users," Rosenman said. "If you work in sales or customer service, you typically have to log a ticket and wait for an analyst to get you the information you're looking for. These are people who should be performing sophisticated analyses, but they're stuck doing data pulls or building reports."
Salesforce's Analytics Cloud is an effort to remedy some of that, and on Thursday, the company rolled out a fresh batch of capabilities designed to take the effort further.
The focus of Salesforce's announcement is on three key new capabilities. First, Wave Mobile Connector is a new import feature that allows users to bring raw data files into the Analytics Cloud mobile app and instantly transform that data into shareable charts and graphs.
Wave Mobile Dashboard Designer, meanwhile, gives users the ability to build an entire dashboard on their phone, complete with multiple widgets such as charts and graphs that are interconnected and dynamically shift when the user interacts with them.
Finally, Wave Links is a connector between the company's widely used Salesforce1 platform and Analytics Cloud mobile apps that allows Salesforce1 users to directly access relevant data from Analytics Cloud and seamlessly toggle back and forth between customer data and analytics data.
A free "playground version" of the Analytics Cloud is now available on desktop and mobile devices, giving visitors a chance to try out the new capabilities.
The new features are expected to be generally available in March and will be included with any Analytics Cloud license at no additional cost.