Google Joins With Salesforce to Mix Online, Offline Customer Analytics

Mitch Wagner

SAN FRANCISCO -- Salesforce Dreamforce -- Google's enterprise momentum is building, as Google and Salesforce combine online and offline analytics in a deal announced Monday. Google also becomes a preferred Salesforce infrastructure partner -- but not the preferred infrastructure partner, a Salesforce executive noted carefully.

The analytics collaboration will allow enterprises to aggregate analytics for both online and offline customer interactions, according to company executives at a press conference Monday.

"The number one ask that I get is to combine our online and offline data together and map the customer journey," said Paul Muret, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s vice president of display, video and analytics.

Enterprises will be able to gain insights about customer interactions with salespeople, email, website visits, ads and Google searches, the companies said in a statement.

Dressed for success at last year's Dreamforce.
Dressed for success at last year's Dreamforce.

In addition to offering each others' services to customers, Google will continue to use Inc. as its preferred internal CRM provider to connect with cloud customers, and Salesforce will use G Suite as its preferred email and productivity provider for its own use.

Salesforce isn't kicking Amazon Web Services Inc. to the curb. Salesforce now has "multiple best friends," as one analyst said during Q&A at a press conference announcing the Google-Salesforce partnership Monday. And Heroku, Salesforce's platform-as-a-service (PaaS), will continue to run on AWS.

Google Cloud will be a preferred public cloud provider for international Salesforce customers, while AWS will be an infrastructure partner for Canada and Australia, Salesforce says.

In addition to infrastructure, Google and Salesforce are integrating G Suite with Salesforce. Eligible Salesforce customers that are new to G Suite will be able to use the Google productivity platform for free for up to a year.

Salesforce has an existing partnership with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Office 365 integration, but the Google partnership goes deeper, Ryan Aytay, executive vice president for business development and strategic accounts, said. For example, users will be able to surface Salesforce information during Google Hangouts sessions.

Microsoft is increasingly competing with Salesforce, as Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 CRM about a year ago. At the same time, Salesforce introduced integration with Google Gmail and Google Sheets. (See Salesforce, Microsoft Spar Some More.)

Salesforce opposed Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition last year, saying the LinkedIn data would give Microsoft an unfair competitive advantage. (See Microsoft to Close LinkedIn Acquisition Within Days.)

Microsoft is dominating the global software-as-a-service (SaaS) market, according to a March analyst report. (See Microsoft, Salesforce Dominating SaaS Market, Report Finds.)

At its Dreamforce conference this year, the company is focused on showing off its artificial intelligence technology to demonstrate how even non-technical users can get more value from customer insights. (See At Dreamforce 2017, Salesforce Doubling Down on AI.)

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11/14/2017 | 10:55:53 AM
Re: Tall order...
And also interesting to see how the idea as one analyst noted of "multiple best friends" may work out for Salesforce and it's "best friends." I wonder if any of those friends may not be so much after some future date. 
11/13/2017 | 11:27:41 PM
Re: Tall order...
I thought I saw getting into cryptocurrency stuff -- and I'm willing to bet that Amazon will someday make an Amazon Prime feature that accepts a cryptocurrency. Doesn't Amazon already have a digital currency..? I thought so...
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
11/13/2017 | 11:18:00 PM
Re: Tall order...
Cryptocurrency loyalty program? Excellent idea!
11/13/2017 | 8:58:57 PM
Re: Tall order...
If cryptocurrencies really do take off, this would be a potential use case -- since digital currencies can be tracked (as long as they aren't designed to be anonymous). Instead of loyalty programs, I could envision various crypto-coin/wallet schemes for giving customers discounts and tracking them. 

It might be more cost effective for retail companies than punching holes in a card to give away a free tenth item....
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
11/13/2017 | 5:43:36 PM
Re: Tall order...
Retail companies in particular want to be able to know who a customer is whether that customer accesses on the web, mobile, brick-and-mortar, call center -- whatever. 
11/13/2017 | 1:55:53 PM
Tall order...
> "The number one ask that I get is to combine our online and offline data together and map the customer journey..."

Yup. It sounds like no one is really getting a handle on the transition from e-commerce to bricks&mortar (or vice versa). Or for B2B customers, it's hard to figure out how potential customer leads can be tracked through various sales channels -- even though it *should* be slightly easier, one would think. 

It'll be interesting to see if Google/Salesforce can crack this nut. 
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