Key Takeaways from Salesforce World Tour 2024: Zero Copy or Not?

Key Takeaways from Salesforce World Tour 2024

Last week, the Salesforce World Tour came to New York City. Unsurprisingly, there was a major focus on artificial intelligence. Also unsurprisingly, we saw some renaming of a few key concepts in the “zero ETL” or now, “zero copy” world.

Below, we’ll help break down the key announcements from the Salesforce World Tour in NYC as well as claims made by Salesforce.

Decoding the “New” Announcements from Salesforce World Tour 2024: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t

Beyond the Buzzwords at Salesforce World Tour: “Zero ETL” Does Not Equal “Zero Copy”

One of the major announcements from the Salesforce World Tour is the new Zero Copy Partner Network, featuring technology partners like the data warehouses, SI partners, and third-party data ecosystem partners.

Yes, you read that right — zero copy, not to be confused with last year’s zero ETL rebranding—back from zero copy in 2022. Why the change? At an event talk, it was shared that the switch was made because business users didn’t understand Zero ETL terminology.

However, shifting branding from “zero ETL” to “zero copy” doesn’t magically change what’s beneath the surface. The underlying architecture and functionality have not been altered from what was previously introduced. They even recycled the same presentation slides:

Salesforce World Tour - Data Sharing Enables a Unified Data Structure

The Real Situation With Zero Copy and Zero ETL

Just to clear things up: Calling it “Zero Copy” isn’t going to cut it when, in reality, what’s being offered is “Zero ETL”. Although there could be reduced effort—no or fewer manual pipelines creation—making it less of a headache, data is still being copied.

True “Zero Copy” solutions like ActionIQ know differently.

To learn more about the methods Salesforce uses for data ingest, which creates copies, read our breakdown on zero copy data sharing. But in a nutshell, query virtualization and SQL query push down are the only ways that a true zero data copy architecture can be enabled. No expensive data pipelines, and no copies of data to manage.

You can also see how ActionIQ is working with leading brands like Saks, Northwestern Mutual, Liberty Latin America and Atlassian to activate experiences with our Composable (actually Zero Copy) CDP here.

More on Salesforce’s “Zero Copy” Hype: The Copy Story

Amidst the Zero Copy fervor, Salesforce managed to slip in a workshop on—you guessed it—copying data.

Here are some real copying issues you should know about. These might not be new to you, but yes, they are still a thing.

Copying data into the Salesforce Data Cloud, whether from the Salesforce CRM or S3 — examples demonstrated in the workshop — requires mapping against its fixed data model.

This time-consuming and labor-intensive data prep work means the Data Cloud deployment can take up to a year or more for anything beyond basic use cases. Operational and time-to-market issue awaits, compounded by the fact that true copy-copy doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately, AI Copilot won’t be lending a hand here. It’s too busy contemplating its own existence.

Plus we didn’t see a workshop on how to actually use the zero copy piece.

Let’s Not Forget AI

First on the docket: the eagerly awaited debut of AI Copilot, now officially GA. Imagine having an AI companion to navigate the complexities of CRM management! While it won’t help you ponder the meaning of life, it’s certainly a nifty addition to the Salesforce toolkit.

A client could add more skills, e.g. “teach” Einstein Copilot to answer a broader set of questions important to the business. While Salesforce made a very flexible system, it also means a good level of complexity to get started. We can wonder if customers will actually be able to create prompts to add new skills to the Copilot.

Salesforce World Tour, From Zero Copy to AI

Salesforce’s NYC event was a World Tour whirlwind of AI innovation, terminology changes, and—you guessed it—data copying. The journey had some interesting surprises, and one thing’s for certain: the tech landscape is anything but dull. If you want to see real zero copy architecture in action, you can test out ActionIQ in a no-cost POC.

Reach out to get your POC.

Sophie Wang
Sophie Wang
Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager
Sophie is a strategic and data-driven marketer who's passionate about turning customer insights into exceptional experiences. She uses her technical expertise to help enterprise organizations overcome data challenges and support digital transformation.
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