analytics connectWith more than 100,000 businesses all over the world using Salesforce, it’s no surprise that how it’s used and who is using it is constantly evolving.

So, what might the future of Salesforce look like?

The Salesforce user is changing.

Salesforce is no longer just a CRM. It’s often the system of record for everything from marketing automation and service data.

As data not only from Salesforce, but also from other business applications becomes imperative for making better decisions across all parts of the enterprise, more and more people will want and need access to the data that lives in Salesforce.

The best way to scale at a rate that makes sense is to enable the end user who understands the processes and data to build the connections themselves.

Empowering a business analyst or marketing manager to build integrations themselves in days, not months means greater returns on IT investments and deeper insights that will lead to better business decisions sooner.

The ecosystem will continue to grow.

Businesses are increasingly forgoing integrated technology suites in favor of “best-of-breed” solutions. There are so many options and niche solutions that companies can be discriminating (and fickle) with their technology spend. They can pick and choose what best suites their strategies, even if their strategies change quickly.

But this approach also runs the risk of trapping data in silos. It’s no longer about what apps you have, but rather how they are connected that will make businesses successful.

The need for an agile integration strategy is clear when you consider the breadth of architectures and speed at which new technologies are being adopted in the modern business world. And yet, organizations still invest in on-premise databases and continue to run hybrid IT infrastructures.

The demand for more apps, data sources and databases integral to many, distinct business areas is creating a complex and growing ecosystem.

Artificial Intelligence analytics is the next big thing.

AI, machine learning, deep learning (yes, they’re all different things) is now far more accessible, and as the technology advances, it will only only become more useful and widespread.

Salesforce invested a great deal into Einstein, their AI solution. As TechCrunch notes, “The company pulled together 175 data scientists to help create Salesforce Einstein, while leveraging acquisitions such as MetaMind, PredictionIO and RelateIQ….Salesforce Einstein will touch every one of its products in some way eventually.”

But as we explained in another blog post, AI is only as smart as the data it can analyze. Connecting a variety of clean data from all your business-critical data sources to Salesforce is the only way to take full advantage of Einstein’s capabilities.

Download our 2016 State of Salesforce Connectivity report for more trends and insights.