Salesforce announced the launch of two new AppExchange partnership categories offering native Lighting functionality: Lightning Bolts and Lightning Data. Bolts are Lightning Components which offer customer data and business logic.
Lightning Data provides new Data as a Service (DaaS) partnerships in the wake of the non-renewal of the Dun & Bradstreet – Data.com licensing partnership. Three of the partners were announced as Data.com Exchange partners at last year’s Dreamforce:
- Bombora intent data enrichment
- HG Data technology product / vendor data enrichment
- MCH Strategic Health Care data
Salesforce did not list the Lightning Data partners, but the following additional vendors are part of the new ecosystem:
- InsideView Discovery account prospecting and InsideView Append account enrichment
- DataFox account enrichment
- Clearbit account enrichment
Initially, Lightning Data only supports ongoing match and enrichment services for Account records. As many AppExchange partners offer batch and continuous services for Account, Contact, and Lead records, Lightning Data will need to round out its enrichment capabilities for it to become a full hygiene and enrichment solution.
Lightning Data is an indication that Salesforce never really bought into the idea of being a DaaS company. Since August 2011, they have promoted Data.com, but never fully committed to the data ecosystem they promised when they launched Data.com. The original idea was to take the Jigsaw file they purchased in April 2010 for $142 million and integrate it with the D&B WorldBase company file. They were then going to partner with other leading data companies to integrate third-party data matched to either Data.com contact intelligence or D&B Account intelligence. These data sets were to be delivered via Data.com Prospector sales intelligence and the Data.com Clean match and append service.
It was the right idea at the right time. They were playing catch up with OneSource for Salesforce, InsideView for Salesforce, and Access Hoovers, but had the technical and financial resources to quickly leapfrog these offerings (Access Hoovers was phased out as part of the D&B deal). Furthermore, they had a first mover advantage in cross-selling Data.com to their customer base. It could have been a home run, but they rarely hit the ball out of the infield. What’s worse:
- The Jigsaw file was never truly internationalized. It remained a U.S. contact file with underwhelming executive coverage for nine other countries.
- The Data.com contact counts increased, but only because they were adding contacts at the same rate as they were decaying. Meanwhile, their top two contacts competitors, NetProspex and Zoominfo, continued to expand both their active and inactive coverage in the U.S. and internationally.
- They never added biographic details or social links to the contacts file
- Prospector features remained underwhelming. They would add small features such as improved industry and geographic screening, but not anything significant until 2016.
- They quickly dropped all discussion about an ecosystem.
Then at Dreamforce 2015 and 2016 they seemed to have found their mojo, addressing key weaknesses such as pricing, sales intelligence (Hoovers profiles, First Research industry overviews), and a data ecosystem.
Data.com hit a few doubles and outlined an aggressive 2017 and 2018 roadmap. It looked good. It sounded good. But then Salesforce severed their partnership with Dun & Bradstreet and now only legacy customers have access to Dun & Bradstreet content. For everybody else, there were nine months of deafening silence until yesterday’s announcement of Lightning Data.
The devolution of Data.com will not have a significant effect on Salesforce’s bottom line as it represents perhaps one percent of company revenue (hence, the lack of urgency in replacing Dun & Bradstreet content). Furthermore, the legacy offering will continue to be supported for several more years so the revenue decline will have little material impact. Perhaps we’ll hear about replacement content at Dreamforce, but Lightning Data suggests they are leaving B2B DaaS to partner companies.