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This month, Salesforce launched ‘Genie’, a real-time platform for data integration. The announcement was made at the Dreamforce customer conference, a Salesforce event. “Genie effectively enables the world’s first real-time CRM,” said Patrick Stokes, the EVP and general manager of the platform at Salesforce.
Why is Genie significant?
Salesforce’s Customer 360 applications portfolio—that includes sales, commerce, and marketing, among others—will now have access to a new way of bringing data into the application at a scale not achieved before, claims the company. Salesforce Genie will help users orchestrate real-time customer experience against those datasets.
Salesforce Genie is based on ‘Hyperforce’. Introduced in 2020, Hyperforce is a company’s platform architecture that is built to securely and reliably deliver Salesforce Customer 360 on major public clouds. Salesforce Genie takes forward customer data platforms, traditional tools which unite siloed data into a shared view. With Genie, users can funnel ‘nealy infinite’ amounts of dynamic data to Customer 360 in real time; this means faster customer data updation with new data from any touchpoint.
All inputs to Genie are visible and actionable across the entire suite of products; users can also build custom apps using Salesforce Genie. It employs a lakehouse-style architecture with concepts similar to that of Databricks and combines the idea of a data lake with the SQL queries of the data warehouse.
All said, the concept of real-time CRM is not new. However, Genie would prove to be especially useful for people who are using multiple Salesforce products. These users will be able to use pre-built data models, which are critical to accelerating implementation. It is a configuration-based approach to unify data from multiple sources—both internal and external.
Along with Genie, Salesforce also announced a partnership with ‘Snowflake’ to offer secure, open, and real-time data sharing between the two environments. This partnership will facilitate a real-time view of all customer interactions and history across the platforms without duplicating or moving data. Experts believe that this partnership will give way to more seamless data exchanges with other data warehouses.
Genie—A successor to Force.com
In 2007, Salesforce announced plans for Force.com in that year’s Dreamforce event. Force.com is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) which has been designed to simplify the design, development, and deployment of cloud-based applications. With Force.com, developers can create apps through cloud integrated development environments and deploy them to Force.com’s multi-tenant servers.
Force.com targets corporate application developers and independent software vendors. The developers would not be required to provision CPU time, disk or instances of operating systems. It offers a relational database-centred custom application platform that resembles .NET/J2EE/LAMP server stack. One of the unique features of Force.com is that the programming languages and metadata representations used to build the applications are properties to Force.com; that said, it also integrates with open standards like SOAP and REST.
At the Dreamforce 2022 event, Patrick Stokes said that Genie is the modern equivalent of Force.com, which uses a data lake built by the company to store the data instead of a transactional database.
Extension to CDPs
Due to the death of third-party cookies and stricter privacy regulations like GDPR, companies are looking for ways to capture and utilise first-party data. One of the best ways to do that is through customer data platforms; companies like Adobe, Twilio, and now Salesforce are investing in them to serve as centralised repositories for first-party data and interactions.
CDPs were first used in tag management platforms—in fact, in 2012, Google launched ‘Tag Manager’. This tool allowed brands to manage their client-side web tracking. At that time, CDPs were used to build a single view of their customer and activate data through integrations with other tools.
These were not very famous because off-the-solutions may promote the idea of sending data directly to CDP. CDPs would often become a siloed copy of the organisation’s customer data. One solution imagined for this challenge was to extend the capabilities of the existing lakehouse to support additional use cases—instead of sending copies of data to multiple places.
Genie seamlessly collects, organises, and unifies data from the cloud and augments the existing platform.