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The Ultimate Salesforce Data Cloud Implementation Guide

February 13, 2024

Table of Contents

    Anyone can own millions of data records, but are you one of them using at its true potential? Maybe not.

    Organizations often deploy teams for data collection and management. Still, when it comes to extracting insights that can facilitate informed decision-making, boost revenue, precise marketing, and improve overall customer experience, there will be a lag.

    In today’s time, data has emerged as the new gold and has become the key strategic driver of business success. Businesses endeavor to tap into the world of data to achieve a competitive edge, maximize ROI, and boost operational efficiency.

    What if there exists one such solution that not only empowers you with a wide range of tools to harness the power of data but also contributes to driving strategic business performance?

    Salesforce Data Cloud is the name.

    In this blog, we will delve into the transformative capabilities of Data Cloud, leaving no stone unturned. From overcoming data challenges to uncovering its definition and exploring its impact on ROI and efficiency, read the blog to get access to the key to data-driven success.

    → Click here to download our free guide to Salesforce Data Cloud Implementation [Download Now].

    What is Salesforce Data Cloud?

    Built with the power of AI, Data, and CRM, Salesforce Data Cloud is a robust platform that centralizes customer data from different sources. It creates one single source of truth, enabling organizations to gain actionable insights in real time and deliver exceptional customer experiences across sales, service, marketing, and commerce.

    Salesforce Data Cloud formerly Genie

    Data Cloud’s journey with Salesforce started in 2020 as Salesforce Customer 360 Audience. Since then, it has undergone various innovative transformations. In 2021, it was renamed as Salesforce Customer Data Platform, then became known as Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform & Salesforce Genie in 2022. Finally, in 2023, it got its official identity as Salesforce Data Cloud.

    Data Cloud brings together customer data from various sources, including websites, mobile apps, end products, internal Salesforce org, and clouds like Sales or Service. As part of the Salesforce Platform, it strengthens the entire Customer 360 experience, enhancing the functionality and capabilities of all Salesforce clouds.

    Just like Flow and Einstein have brought intelligence and automation to different aspects of the Salesforce ecosystem, Data Cloud integrates AI and automation. This empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions and deliver personalized experiences across multiple business functions.

    Why should your business adopt Salesforce Data Cloud?

    1. Data Catalog

    Imagine a 360-degree view of all your customer data across Salesforce, marketing automation platforms, and social media. With Salesforce Data Cloud, you can stop hunting through siloed systems! This innovative tool systematically organizes and indexes your data resources so you can quickly discover and use the information you need. For instance, a retail company uses the Data Catalog to identify customer segments with high purchase frequency and tailor targeted promotions.

    2. Data Versioning

    It does for data what the history features do for Google History- it keeps detailed records of data you searched or viewed across the search engine. This feature significantly eases jobs like process auditing, naming the origin of data points, and maintaining a lineage trail. It presents a simplified method to adhere to compliance requirements, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, for corporations.

    3. Data Quality

    With this cloud from Salesforce, your data is like fruits in a premium market – always fresh, clean, and of high quality! It’s equipped with inbuilt tools that cleanse, authenticate, and enrich data, offering you high accuracy and reliability. For example, a financial institution can use these tools to verify the credibility of the loan applicant’s details, thereby reducing risk.

    4. Automated Data Pipelines

    Consider your data as an element in a hectic industrial production line. Salesforce Data Cloud effortlessly automates data ingestion and transformation, eliminating the need for time-consuming manual intervention. This helps accelerate data processing, letting an e-commerce store analyze data on customer buying patterns swiftly, for instance.

    5. Data Privacy and Compliance

    In the era of data privacy importance, Salesforce Data Cloud offers features that help adhere to regulations like GDPR and CCPA, thus lowering the chances of data leaks. A healthcare provider, for example, can safely process patient data without worrying about violating data privacy laws.

    6. Multi-Cloud Support

    Salesforce Data Cloud is like your favorite restaurant – available where you need it! You can deploy this solution across different cloud providers, reducing dependence on a single provider and optimizing cost efficiency. It’s like having Netflix available on Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and other streaming devices.

    7. Data Lifecycle Management

    Imagine having a personal assistant for data who could undertake tasks like archiving, maintaining, and eliminating data – that’s what Salesforce Data Cloud’s automated data lifecycle management does. This helps reduce storage costs, like a recycling system for data, as well as maintains data governance, thereby keeping your company’s data house in order.

    Understand the Impact of Salesforce Data Cloud on Businesses

    Here, we have created a few scenarios that will help you understand the impact of Salesforce Data Cloud on businesses:

    • Imagine a financial institute leveraging Data Cloud to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. A customer of a financial institute lost a credit card at 3:00 AM and reported it stolen at the same time. Thanks to Data Cloud, the financial institution receives the real-time alert of the card that blocks the transaction, protecting the customer’s funds and maintaining the integrity of their financial systems.
    • Imagine you encounter an issue with a product and reach out to customer service for assistance. By utilizing Data Cloud for Service, the company’s system automatically detects your query and triggers a pause in all marketing and sales interactions until your problem is resolved. Consequently, you are spared from the frustration of receiving irrelevant marketing offers related to the product you’re already having trouble with. This customer-centric approach enhances your experience, promoting satisfaction and loyalty.
    • Imagine you have received an email for a product and clicked on the specific email within the email. With the help of Data Cloud for marketing, the company’s website is dynamically adjusted to offer you a personalized experience based on recent interactions. The offer becomes more relevant to your interests and needs, influencing your purchasing decision positively.

    What are the Benefits of Salesforce Data Cloud?

    Salesforce Data Cloud Benefits

    1. Comprehensive Customer Insights

    The most significant benefit of the Data Cloud rests in its capability to create a unified 360-degree view of customers’ data from all sources. The easy accessibility and centralization of customer information enable organizations to make data-driven decisions, adopt personalization, and improve sales & marketing efforts to boost ROI.

    2. Enhanced Targeting and Personalization

    With Salesforce Data Cloud, businesses can leverage enriched customer profiles and behavioral data to segment their audience more effectively. This enables targeted marketing campaigns, personalized recommendations, and tailored messaging, resulting in improved customer engagement, conversion rates, and, ultimately, higher ROI.

    3. Optimized Sales and Marketing Strategies

    By harnessing the power of Salesforce Data Cloud, organizations can gain valuable insights into sales and marketing performance. They can analyze customer behaviour, track campaign effectiveness, and identify high-value leads, allowing for smarter resource allocation, optimized sales pipelines, and more efficient marketing spending, leading to improved ROI.

    4. Automation and Productivity Gains

    Salesforce Data Cloud provides automation capabilities that enable organizations to automate repetitive tasks and streamline operations. By automating data synchronization, updates, and reporting processes, businesses can improve productivity, minimize manual errors, and free up resources for more strategic activities, contributing to enhanced operational efficiency.

    5. Predictive Analytics and Proactive Decision-Making

    Salesforce Data Cloud empowers businesses with predictive analytics capabilities, allowing them to forecast trends, identify potential risks and opportunities, and make proactive decisions. By leveraging these insights, organizations can optimize inventory management, anticipate customer needs, and take preemptive actions, driving efficiency gains and maximizing ROI.

    Salesforce Data Cloud Architecture – Designing Datascape for Modern Business

    Salesforce Data Cloud Architecture

    Let’s understand Salesforce Data Cloud Architecture in layman language:

    1. Connect & Ingest Data

    Starting from the left side of the image, these are all data sources a business can have. It can be Salesforce Cloud (Sales, Service, Marketing, Commerce, etc) and other external platforms as well like Amazon S3, Web & Mobile Connectors, Salesforce Interaction SDK, and more. The job of a Data Cloud is to bring all your data together with less chaos.

    Now, this data is coming in two forms: Batch & Streaming. Batch data is received periodically, like hourly, six hours, or daily. Streaming data is real-time or close to real-time data. Once the data is collected, the next part is ingesting that data in real time.

    2. Transform & Govern

    The next step is to transform the assembled data into a structured format. With Data Cloud, you can prepare, filter, and transform it before putting it to work. You can then store the data in a governed way that you want it to be utilized in.

    Data Cloud is just what you need for various forms of data, be it product orders, Sales Cloud contacts, or even anonymous web surfing info. It helps you gather all these different data aspects and consolidate them into an organized system, specifically the Customer 360 Data Model.

    Let’s understand this with an example. Imagine having access to a huge customer database inclusive of orders, interactions, website visits, past purchases, and more. It’s a great source of understanding them and their needs. But before you get to transform and govern your data, make sure all the compliances are adhered to, safeguarding customer data.

    Data Cloud allows you to mask Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and other sensitive data including social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers. It gets replaced with random characters using predefined patterns or custom rules. Then by defining access, ensuring responsible governance, and reducing unauthorized access, you can mask preserved insights, allowing analysis to keep an individual’s privacy uncompromised.

    3. Harmonizing the Data

    What you do to harmonize the data is create an organized data model linking a wide range of records systematically. You might have diverse platforms with multiple naming conventions in use, such as ‘contact’, ‘prospect’, or other terms to describe individual entities.

    Harmonization of the data aims at bringing all the scattered pieces of data together in a well-structured format. This simply connects data from all the different sources you have.

    As you might imagine, multiple platforms can often have varied headers, even when they are defining the same kind of information.

    Harmonizing Data for Organized Data

    This is where harmonization steps in to create a smooth synchronization among all these platform-specific data sets. The final objective is to integrate all these data chunks seamlessly into our Salesforce data cloud. This is what we mean when we refer to harmonization – aligning and unifying data from varied sources to make it cohesive, consistent, and more efficient to use.

    4. Unify & Enhance Data

    Unification of data is identifying what piece of information belongs to which records, matching and reconciling the records. With Salesforce Data Cloud, a lot of information is mapped in the Customer 360 Data Model. Once mapped, you can create rulesets to identify and match records.

    A unified and harmonized view of customer data can be enhanced with Calculated Insights. You can create metrics and key performance indicators depending on the type of data (batch or streaming). You also have the option to integrate your custom machine learning (ML) models with Data Cloud. This powerful combination allows you to delve deeper into your data, training your models to make improved predictions and generate personalized insights.

    5. Insights & AI Predictions Based On Data

    Now, we can collect all the data related to that specific individual. This allows us to personalize our marketing efforts, enhance our analytics, and improve our generative AI. The more information we provide to our generative AI, the better the results and output it produces.

    Additionally, we gain valuable insights and AI predictions. Once we unify the data, we can analyze the insights and make accurate predictions using AI. Harmonizing the data means bringing it into sync, while unifying it involves gathering all the different sets of information for the same customer or client and consolidating it into one. This enables us to work on the insights, make AI predictions, and take necessary actions accordingly.

    6. Segment & Analyze Data

    Next comes the segmentation of data. You can construct robust metrics underpinned with insightful data. By segmenting data, you can have a detailed analysis with multiple analytics tools, like Tableau. It plays a crucial role in operations as it comes integrated with Data Cloud. It provides visibility into the standard data model objects and relationships, strengthening the data engagement. Capitalizing on the Direct Query functionality helps attain insights or additional data just by a straightforward click in CRM analytics.

    The exciting feature is the implementation of insights and AI predictions, lending a multi-dimensional perspective to the data. Along with insights and predictive AI outcomes, segmentation can be driven by specific needs.

    7. Activate Data & Get It Into Action

    Following the above steps, the next phase is activating the data. This process puts into motion all the collected data and generated insights. Now, as per your requirement, you can implement suitable actions on the processed data. This means realizing the full potential of your data by taking concrete action.

    You can either dispatch this information to the marketing cloud to shape marketing cloud journeys and campaigns. If needed, information can also be dispatched via the Salesforce platform. This enables triggering an action or facilitating specific flows, thereby enhancing the utility and value delivered by your data. Overall, this step is a nexus of segmentation, analysis, and Activation, driving the achievement of your targeted outcomes and objectives.

    Well, this is how the Data Cloud works.

    Now, the next concern is when the data is at stake: Is Salesforce Data Cloud Secure?

    Is Salesforce Data Cloud Secure?

    Salesforce prides itself on its thorough, rigorous data protection measures within its powerful Data Cloud system. These include:

    1. Robust Data Encryption – Salesforce Data Cloud utilizes cutting-edge, industry-standard encryption algorithms, securing data both at rest and during transit for maximum protection.
    2. Granular Access Control This feature allows a detailed level of access restriction, ensuring that only the right people can access your data.
    3. Effective Audit LoggingSalesforce’s Data Cloud keeps a comprehensive track record of all activity, allowing you to monitor precisely who has accessed your data and at what time.
    4. Dedicated Security MonitoringDay or night, Salesforce’s Data Cloud is under constant vigilance by an expert security team, ensuring round-the-clock protection.
    5. Compliance with Security Certifications and StandardsSalesforce proudly meets SOC 2 Type II, PCI DSS Level 1, and HIPAA compliance criteria, reflecting their unwavering commitment to protecting customer data and privacy.

    Salesforce Data Cloud Security abides by these principles:

    1. Zero Trust Architecture – Every access request made to your applications, regardless of whether it originates from within or outside Salesforce’s trust boundary, goes through a robust verification process. Salesforce essentially considers each request potentially untrustworthy until it has been thoroughly authenticated and continuously monitored, thereby ensuring nothing slips through the radar.
    2. End-to-end Encryption strategy – To assure the safety of all data transmitted over the public internet, Salesforce implements stringent environment-level encryption. Inside their network boundary, data security is maximized through the use of advanced Technological encryption powered by its state-of-the-art Service Mesh framework.
    3. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) – With this approach, we entirely automate the deployment of our workloads into production settings and their configurations. The elimination of manual setups through this process further strengthens our security and efficiency.
    4. Immutable Deployment – This means that any changes to the application or infrastructure won’t affect existing deployments. This strategy is particularly effective as it safeguards our production environment from unauthorized modifications by creating entirely new applications and infrastructure instances whenever updates are made.
    5. Just-In-Time Access (JIT) – This approach is designed for specific tasks. Users are granted permissions based on their exact needs and only for a specific period, curtailing the possibilities of unauthorized data access by making access time-bound and conditional.
    6. Elasticity – Salesforce leverages cloud Elasticity to enhance operations: By utilizing AWS’s public cloud, their network capacity can be adjusted as needed, offering a high degree of scalability. Combined with Docker containers and Kubernetes orchestration, this approach allows them to refine the Salesforce user experience further, promoting flexibility and agility.
    7. Observability – This advanced metric promises smooth service. Consistently monitoring performance through the READS system empowers to maintain service reliability. The immediate detection of issues and proactive addressing of them means they’re able to deliver seamless customer experiences through the power of Hyperforce.

    Salesforce Data Cloud Implementation – Step-by-Step Process

    1. Setup the data cloud org

    • Go to Setup> User > Select the user.
      You can enable Permission sets in Data Cloud Admin or you can also enable Data Cloud legacy permission sets as well as Data Cloud Marketing Admin.
    Data Cloud Admin

    • Create Data Cloud Org UI
      On clicking setup we get Data Cloud setup for data cloud related admin settings.
      Go to Data Cloud Setup> Click on Get Started (It will install Data Model Managed Packages)
    Create Data Cloud Org

    2.  Data Sources

    Gather all the data sources you are using, like:

    a. Salesforce CRM
    b. B2C Commerce
    c. Marketing cloud
    d. Einstein Analytics
    e. AWS S3
    f. Google Cloud storage
    g. Azure storage
    h. SFTP
    i. MuleSoft Anypoint Exchange
    j. Websites and mobile apps
    k. Ingestion API

    3. Connect

    Let’s take an instance where we will connect Salesforce CRM with Data Cloud:

    Connect Salesforce CRM with Data Cloud

    1. Go to Data Cloud Setup > Salesforce CRM
    2. Home CRM org will be already connected, to connect another org, click on New.
    3. Select Connect on the Connect Another org option.
    4. It will take you to the Salesforce login page. Enter your org login credentials here.
    5. After successful login you will get redirected back to Data cloud setup and a new org record will be seen in connectors.
    6. Create a data stream for CRM > Go to the Data Stream tab in the Data cloud app > New.

    Create New Data Stream for CRM

    7. Select Salesforce CRM > Next > Select Org > Select Data bundles (Sales or Service. The Sales Data bundle will ingest data from Account, Contact, and Lead Objects, Service Data bundle will ingest data from 23 objects like case, contact, etc.)
    Or All objects (To ingest data from specific objects)
    8. Select Category > next
    9. Select Data Space > Deploy.

    4. Harmonize(Map the data with the customer 360 objects)

    a. Go to the data stream > Select Start in Data Mapping

    Start Data Mapping

    b. Select Objects
    c. Map all the necessary fields with the Data Model Entities fields > Save
    If Fields are not available in standard customer 350 data model objects then we can create new custom fields or custom objects.

    Create Custom Field Objects

    5. Segmentation

    a. Go to the segments tab in the Data cloud app > create new segment

    Create New Segment Tab

    b. Select Data Space, Segment on, and Give Segment Name or Description

    Fill Required Segment Information

    c. Select Publish type and schedule

    Select Publish Type and Schedule

    d. Save > Add criteria to include and exclude data in the segment > save
    e. Save > Done (After adding criteria)

    6. Unify

    a. Go to Identity Resolution in the Data Cloud app
    b. Create a new ruleset
    c. Select Data space, Primary Data Model Object, Enter ruleset id > Next

    Select New Ruleset ID

    d. Enter ruleset name > next

    Enter Ruleset Name

    e. Configure Match Rules and Reconciliation Rules
    f. Create a Custom rule or select the standard rules and modify them

    Create Custom Standard Rule
    7. Analysis

    g. Use Einstein Studio for AI Predictions
    i. Go to the Einstein Studio tab in the data cloud app > Create New Model.
    ii. Add Endpoints, Variables, Outputs > activate the model

    Activate Model in Einstein Studio

    h. Calculated Insights for analytics and Insights
    i. Use BI tools like Tableau to analyze the data

    8. Act

    Data Actions
    i. Create Data action Targets
    1. Go to the Data action targets tab in the Data Cloud app > Create new data action target
    2. Give name to data action target and data action target type(Salesforce Platform event or Webhook)

    Create Data Action Target

    ii. Create Data actions
    1. Go to the data actions tab in the data cloud app > Create new data action

    Create New Data Action

    Select Data Space and Object Type

    2. Select Data action target > next
    3. Select data space, Object Type(Data model object or calculated insights), Primary object or Related Object > next

    4. Select attributes > next

    Select Attributes

    5. Select Event rules and Action rules > next

    6. Give action name > Save and publish

    Publish After Event Rule

    j. Activations
    i. Create activation targets
    1. Go to Activation target tab > Create new target
    2. Select Salesforce apps in the org or Other external activation platforms like AWS S3 > Next > Give Activation Target Name > Save

    Give Activation Target Name

    ii. Create Activations
    1. Go to the Activations tab in the data cloud app > Create new Activation > Select Segment, Activation Targets, Activation Membership > Continue

    Select Segment Activation Membership and Activate Target

    2. To create activation we have to create a data cloud object.
    3. Add Attributes > Next > save

    Add Attributes

    Salesforce Data Cloud Integration – Integrating Salesforce Capabilities

    Salesforce offers seamless integration capabilities to help businesses boost operational efficiency and ROI:

    1. Sales Cloud

    Integrating Salesforce Data Cloud with Sales Cloud enhances your sales team’s performance by amalgamating customer data from diverse sources and providing insightful strategies. This combined view can help spot cross-selling opportunities and offer personalized recommendations.

    Particularly for B2B companies like those in New York, USA, this integration streamlines data on customer behavior from varied sources, ensuring customer-centric sales strategies and personalized experiences. This will lead to higher conversion rates, quicker sales cycles, and increased revenue growth.

    → Click here to download our free guide to Salesforce Sales Cloud [Download Now].

    2. Service Cloud

    Excellent customer service is crucial for customer retention. With a significant 61% of customers abandoning a company due to bad service, as per a Microsoft report, it’s vital not to overlook this aspect. The Data Cloud and Service Cloud integration can help mitigate this issue. This combination enables your support team to access holistic customer data from diverse channels, enhancing service quality.

    It allows easy access to clients’ purchases, interactions, and preferences, enabling tailored, efficient, and preemptive support and strengthening customer relationships. Imagine clients contacting your support team; the Salesforce Data Cloud and Service Cloud integration facilitates immediate access to comprehensive customer profiles. With this understanding, your team can deliver personalized, efficient solutions, surpassing customer expectations.

    → Click here to download our free guide to Salesforce Service Cloud [Download Now].

    3. Marketing Cloud

    According to Evergage, 88% of marketers saw measurable results from personalizing their marketing efforts, which led to increased engagement and conversions. By integrating Data Cloud and Marketing Cloud, marketers can elevate the personalization levels of their campaigns. They can use insights from Salesforce Data Cloud to categorize customers according to their preferences, behaviors, and demographics.

    For instance, a Canadian retail company can use this to launch a new product line, applying the integration to segment customers based on previous purchases, browsing patterns, and demographics. These customer segments can be used for personalized emails, targeted social media ads, and custom landing pages.

    → Click here to download our free guide to Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation [Download Now].

    4. Commerce Cloud

    Connecting Data Cloud & Commerce Cloud is one of the powerful combinations that offer rich customer insights and an array of robust features. The result is that you’ll be able to craft personalized shopping experiences, increase customer engagement, and see a rise in your revenue through data-driven commerce.

    As an online retailer using Salesforce Commerce Cloud, integrating Salesforce Data Cloud means gaining access to a wealth of customer data. This allows you to offer customers tailored product recommendations and exclusive deals based on their browsing and buying history. The integration provides a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, helping to increase customer satisfaction, boost conversion rates, and create a noticeable boost in online sales.

    → Click here to download our free guide to Salesforce Commerce Cloud [Download Now].

    5. Tableau

    Tableau, a powerful business intelligence tool, allows users to connect and visualize their customer data seamlessly. It features user-friendly dashboards and reports, integrating data from various sources into an easily comprehendible format. Adding Tableau integration enhances the use of data, facilitating insights. It lets users combine data from Salesforce, external sources, and Salesforce Data Cloud into comprehensive dashboards and reports.

    For instance, a telecom company integrating Salesforce Data Cloud with Tableau could blend customer data with external sources like market trends and social media sentiment. Thus generating interactive dashboards for a complete view of customer behaviour and pinpointing opportunities for upselling, cross-selling, and improving customer satisfaction.

    Salesforce Data Cloud Pricing

    Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud customers with Enterprise or Unlimited editions now have free access to Salesforce Data Cloud, along with two Tableau Creator licenses. This empowers you to unify your data, gain valuable insights, and personalize customer experiences at no additional cost.

    What’s included in this offer?

    Data Cloud Provisioning:

    • 250,000 Data Services credits: Get started with Data Cloud and build your Sales and Service Cloud use cases.
    • 1 TB of data storage: Store your customer data securely.
    • 1 Data Cloud admin: Manage your Data Cloud environment.
    • 100 internal Data Cloud identity users: Access your data securely.
    • 1,000 Data Cloud PSL: Ensure data privacy and compliance.
    • 5 integration users: Connect your data to other systems.
    • 2 Tableau Creator licenses: Analyze your data with powerful visualizations.

    Unlimited Plus Edition customers receive 2,500,000 Data Services credits for even deeper insights.

    The Final Note

    Salesforce Data Cloud is the solution your organization needs to unlock the power of data and boost efficiency and ROI. With centralized customer data, AI, and automation, Data Cloud helps you make better decisions, improve customer experiences, and optimize sales, service, marketing, and commerce.

    Integrating Data Cloud with platforms like Tableau and Slack brings real-time data access, collaboration, productivity, and security benefits. Experience the transformative potential of the Data Cloud by connecting with Cyntexa.

    Connect with Cyntexa today and discover how Salesforce Data Cloud can revolutionize your business operations, improve efficiency, and drive growth.

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