Like Apple in the consumer space, Salesforce.com in the Enterprise space has done more to create an ecosystem of developers and vendors whose chief source of revenue is providing applications that allow SFDC customers the ability to enhance the value they get out of their SFDC investment.

Many leading cloud providers like Workday, NetSuite, Marketo and Box are following their lead and developing a rich ecosystem of their own.

But, I’m struck by one observation as I review the landscape of vendors in these application exchanges: the vast majority of them exist to help organizations shuttle data from other cloud and on-premise applications into Salesforce.com (or NetSuite or Workday, etc.). In my experience, the prevailing reason for doing so is so that those organizations can effectively report on critical business metrics like “lead-to-close” or “booked-to-billed”.

Millions of dollars are spent annually to move data in and out of cloud applications simply to allow users the ability to gain a slightly enhanced level of understanding into their sales/financial/operational performance. The question remains: Is that enough?

I have participated in several local user group sessions in which the gymnastics described to manage their processes made me want to run from the room screaming. I’d go mad if I had to complete the process described in those sessions simply so that a Sales VP could have a conversation with a Chief Marketing Officer using the same data

Here’s the good news: There is a better way.

There are multiple legitimate reasons to move and manage this data. For example, marketing leads from Marketo need to be piped over to SFDC to ensure sales teams can take action upon those leads in a timely fashion.

In situations like that, the integration providers involved offer an invaluable service in allowing various departments throughout an enterprise (such as sales, marketing and finance) to run on systems optimized for their particular line-of-business. This optimization far exceeds the previous strategy of abandoning , for example, marketing best practices because IT forced marketing to run on Oracle or SAP. Even if they did so in the interest of providing a unified platform off of which to run an enterprise business, it isn’t ideal.

However, if you’re simply moving data between systems so that you can create an SFDC dashboard combining data from 2 or more systems of record, I’m talking to you.

Stop what you’re doing. Enter www.birst.com in your web browser and learn about a dramatically more effective way to create and leverage richer analytics without sacrificing that “in app” experience your business requires. Go ahead, tie Marketo data with SFDC data and Zuora data to create a “campaign-to-cash” dashboard that your executive team will rave about.

Pull in your supply chain data from SAP or Ariba and see how sales forecasting is impacting raw material or finished goods inventory.

Drop in some 3rd party data from IRI or Neilsen and perform whitespace analysis to identify the best markets and segments in which to spend your marketing dollars.

And do it all in a matter of weeks.

This is what we call Thinking Fast at Birst. When your organization learns to Think Fast, you’ll join the 100s of other Birst customers who are obliterating their competitors.

Go ahead. Make your day.