The guy in charge of 'the greatest product Salesforce has ever built' has left that role

Salesforce CEO Marc BenioffBloomberg TVSalesforce CEO Marc Benioff

Keith Bigelow, the man in charge of Salesforce’s new Wave data analytics product, is no longer in that role, the company confirmed to The Information.

But Bigelow has not left the company, Alex Dayon, president of products for Salesforce told The Information.

It’s not exactly clear what this means for Wave but executives keep insisting that the product is selling well, although they haven’t released sales data on it yet.

Salesforce launched Wave about a year ago, with a lot of fanfare, at its annual customer conference, Dreamforce. The company’s enthusiastic CEO Marc Benioff has been talking it up ever since. At one point he called it “the greatest product, I think, Salesforce has ever built.”

Wave is Salesforce’s first attempt to get into a critical new market, big data analytics, where companies collect massive amounts of data and sift through it to find insights.

Wave does this for the data companies store in its flagship customer relationship management product (used by sales people), but can also pull in data from other sources, like Oracle databases.

Last month, word circulated that Salesforce was thinking of offering huge discounts on Wave. It was priced high, CMSWire and InformationWeek reported, costing as much as $US40,000 a month to run the infrastructure to support Wave, and another $US125 – $US250/user/month to actually use it.

Without giving any specific numbers, executives have been calling Wave’s first year a success, naming a few early customers like Merck, Verizon, Barclays and Genomic Health.

Dayon told The Information that Wave is fastest growing product that Salesforce has ever released.

Benioff and Salesforce’s president Keith Block were a little more subdued when talking about Wave last month after the company reported earnings, but only a little. They explained that the team working on Wave is currently getting “feedback” from customers on the product.

Keith BigelowSalesforceKeith Bigelow

Block offered his full-throated support for the product’s future, saying, “It will be the fastest launch of any product line that we’ve ever had here at Salesforce.”

Bigelow was hired away from SAP to help Salesforce build Wave. He “conceived and delivered” the product, is how he describes his involvement on his LinkedIn page.

Bigelow came to SAP when it acquired Business Objects in 2007 for $US6.78 billion. Business Objects was a leader in analytics software, the same kind of product that Bigelow and team built for Salesforce.

Dayon told The Information that he hopes Bigelow stays with Salesforce, “We’re working with Keith on a different project we have not yet communicated about.”

We’ve reached out to Salesforce for comment and will update when we hear back.

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