Salesforce Data Cloud: More Than a CDP

February 1, 2024, Sean Villalobos


Salesforce Data Cloud: More Than a CDP

February 1, 2024, Sean Villalobos

Salesforce Data Cloud: More Than a CDP

February 1, 2024, Sean Villalobos

More than a CDP
More than a CDP

Salesforce Data Cloud: More Than a CDP

February 1, 2024, Sean Villalobos

Salesforce Data Cloud: More Than a CDP

February 1, 2024, Sean Villalobos

More than a CDP

Salesforce Data Cloud: More Than a CDP

February 1, 2024, Sean Villalobos

More than a CDP

If you follow the Salesforce news cycle, you've probably noticed the renewed buzz around Data Cloud. 

While it's been around for some time and has gone through several re-brandings - from Customer 360 to Salesforce CDP, to Genie, and finally Data Cloud - Salesforce has recently doubled down on its vision for the future of Data Cloud and its platform more broadly.

Since its inception, Data Cloud has largely functioned as a Customer Data Platform (CDP). As a refresher, most CDP products deliver 4 key pieces of functionality:

 

  1. Data Ingestion - Bringing disparate sets of customer data into a single platform.
  2. Profile Unification - Combining data from disparate sources to create a single customer view.
  3. Segmentation – Accessing unified customer data via a user-friendly segmentation canvas.
  4. Activation - Activating segmented customer lists for any number of channels.

 

Data Cloud is no different. It enables organizations to ingest, harmonize, unify, segment, and activate customer data. Functionally, this gives marketers access to a consolidated set of customer data, against which they can manage nuanced audience segmentation and cross-channel personalization.

But this article is not about Data Cloud's CDP capabilities – instead, we want to help you better understand Salesforce's bold vision for the future of its platform that extends far beyond CDP use cases.

 

The Evolution of Salesforce: A Brief History Lesson

To understand Salesforce’s direction, it is helpful to understand their evolution. Salesforce has for some time been building the world's leading CRM platform – to achieve this, they have deployed an aggressive acquisition strategy, folding technologies like ExactTarget (Marketing Cloud), Demandware (Commerce Cloud), Datorama, Tableau, and more into its portfolio. Through these acquisitions, Salesforce pieced together a versatile and robust multi-cloud solution. This multi-cloud platform addresses a host of business needs and serves as the basis for managing most elements of a holistic customer experience, with analytics and data visualization layered on top. 

To successfully orchestrate 1:1 cross-channel customer experiences via Salesforce, organizations must staff teams with specialized resources capable of working across the Salesforce clouds, leveraging customer data to develop and deliver experiences across touchpoints. Thankfully, a partner like Merkle brings legacy expertise across the entire Salesforce platform to help organizations navigate the ecosystem to integrate Salesforce products in a seamless, effective way.

 

The Path Forward: One Platform to Rule Them All

Let’s now imagine there was a way that organizations could bring all their customer data into Salesforce at one time, and then syndicate it out to the respective Salesforce clouds natively, without having to do any custom coding or configuration. 

This is what Salesforce eventually aims to achieve with their Data Cloud: a fundamental shift from a multi-cloud solution to a platform approach - a single system capable of managing CRM, marketing, commerce, loyalty, analytics, and more. 

This vision will be realized iteratively, most immediately with Data Cloud Unified Customer Profile data points being made directly available on Sales/Service Cloud customer records, and Data Cloud data actions becoming eligible for kicking off custom business workflows.

Over the coming months and years, we will see customer data from Data Cloud increasingly accessed natively by other pieces of the Salesforce Platform. Judging by the scale of Salesforce' investment in Data Cloud and size of the team working to build the tool, we are confident that they will succeed in realizing their vision. 

While Data Cloud provides best-in-class CDP functionality, it's also a key component in Salesforce’s vision to build the industry-leading CRM platform. Organizations that adopt Data Cloud today will not only gain access to an industry-leading CDP but will also be better prepared to realize long-term success with the Salesforce Platform. 

 

 

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