Alejandra Teran, Director of the Salesforce Center of Excellence Freddie Mac. Salesforce Ranger & 4X Certified
My journey with Salesforce started about 15 years ago, where it was just a subscription-based CRM and the company was still private. At the time, I was looking for a flexible and scalable platform to build a new BI/Sales Operations division for the largest Global BPO. For the next 3-4 years, I led data migration efforts to consolidate 10+ spared CRMs and a lot of pipeline data in XLS Sheets) into a single global platform in Salesforce.
Fast forward and Salesforce has become a suite of enterprise applications with products like Sales, Service, Marketing, Communities, Analytics IoT, e-Commercethat empowers companies to quickly build pretty much any process or application you can think of using this platform.
It's been fascinating for me to see and experienced the evolution of the platform (becoming more robust and also more complex as the result of 50+ acquisitions) and the evolution of the company (beyond pure technology promoting values and behaviors that I believe are making the world a better place).
Here are 7 Salesforce Technologies and Trends Game Changers in Digital Transformation in 2019:
1. This is the year companies move from Classic to Lightning:we learned that with the Winter ’20 release Lightning (LEX) will be turned on for all orgs. This will be listed under the critical updates section. Find outmore here.
A lot of companies still use the original Classic while figuring out, not “if” but “when” will be the right time to transition to LEX. There are many compelling arguments to transition to LEX such as a nicer/cleaner UI and to take advantage of the more innovative features including analytics dashboards. However, part of the challenge for companies to take the jump has been the expectation of optimal performance (this no longer seems that different vs Classic) and ensuring that all features they use are available in LEX (feature parity).
My team recently undertook this challengeas we successfully upgraded all our contact center agents into LEX. Aside from the technology, change management should never be underestimated.
Here are 3 steps you can take to prepare and make it a painless transition:
2. Connecting more data everywhere with Salesforce will continue to be a big priority.
If I could just get a Dollar every time I hear we need to integrate this with Salesforce!
The reality is that most companies are not cloud natives and they have a broad portfolio of legacy applications that are actually running the company today. Switching these legacy applications to the cloud is not always an option or easily done. In order for companies to squeeze more value out of Salesforce, they have to unlock access to precious data assets that lives in their legacy systems (i.e. orders, contracts, billing, workforce management, etc).
On top of this companies are using more data from external platforms or other cloud apps. For example: marketers are using an average of 15 data sources for their campaigns and operations.
Therefore, a key question for all CIOs and IT teams is to think about how navigate the data maze and determine which legacy apps to rationalize, which ones to integrate and to bring these together with Salesforce in a more modern, scalable and reusable architecture that can benefit from the agility and efficiencies of the cloud.
Salesforce has their own solution for this with Mulesoft. Another option to look into is Google Apigee.
3. More AI with Einstein Voice: Right now, 27% of searches are voice. No wonder that at #DF18, Salesforce announced “Einstein Voice Assistant” which will allow users to get briefings, make updates to Salesforce records, and create opportunities and action items just using their voice.
When we demo the native smartphone dictation feature to our AEs so they could easily capture key meeting notes into Salesforce right from their phones they were amazed. Now image the reaction when Einstein Voice hits the market. Until then, I'm looking to take advantage of Einstein’s Best Next capabilities to improve customer service.
The Einstein suite of products will continue to gain traction and I expected it to be a game-changer.
4. Increase penetration of the Marketing and eCommerce Clouds: Every company out there is trying to reach each customer across channels and devices while delivering a more personalized experience in every interaction. Easier said than done but here is where I see Salesforce has a strategic advantage bringing sales, service and marketing capabilities under one platform making it easier for companies to design and deliver an integrated (and transformational) customer experience.
The popularity of the Marketing and eCommerce cloud became clear in the revenue growth figures the company announced in Q3/2019 with their subscription increasing +37% year-over-year.
5. The demand for experienced Certified Salesforce talent will remain high.
There has been a tipping point in the last few years in the demand for experienced Salesforce talent driven by more large companies making investments in the platform to transform their businesses. Additionally, the scale and complexity of these implementations as well as Salesforce’s products is very different from just 5 few years ago. Therefore, companies are looking for experienced people that can solve much larger complex problems and deliver the desired value and ROIs.
Salesforce has crafted career paths with certifications to support the market they created and that is expected to create 3.3 million jobs by 2022. More hiring managers, recruiters, consulting firms and IS partners are looking for experienced Salesforce talent with active certifications.
Recently, one breed of professionals has become the new buzz: Technical Architects. The reasons are: there is a real need for this expertise, it is not easy to achieve it (requires a special Review Board Exam, and costs $6,000) and there are only something like 1,600 certified architects out there, with very few CTA women.
My hope for 2019 is that we’ll see more female CTAs in the market.
6. myTrailhead - Salesforce just released this much anticipated product for companies to use their Trailhead gamified platform and customize it with their own content on Trailhead. This is exciting news! Image being able to craft an exciting employee onboarding or power sales training with videos, presentations, quizzes andmini-certifications using Trailhead.
I’ve been a huge fan of Trailhead since it came out. Last year, I set myself a 30-day challenge to earn “Ranger” (their highest ranking). While it took me a few more days to reach my personal goal, I had a blast going thru it. I’ve experienced and seen with my team how Trailhead can empower and educate developers, admins and users to learn technical skills and soft skills in a fun, easy and very hands-on way.
I predict that “myTrailhead” will reinvent the way companies train and enable their employees, partners and customers. This is another area where I can see Salesforce driving a new "digital learning" revolution.
7. Salesforce's partnership with Google, Apple and Amazon: I would keep an eye on these partnerships to better understand what tangible value they will create and how to take advantage of these with your Salesforce investment.
With Google, the anticipation is around a more cloud-native office collaboration platform and more integrated Salesforce with Google Analytics 360.
With AWS, the play is around new integrations that will dramatically simplify how data and events are shared across AWS and Salesforce services. Platform integrations will empower CIOs to uniformly secure AWS and Salesforce, reducing IT complexity and driving business value faster. For example: seamless integrations between Amazon Connect and Salesforce to improve and customize the agent experience.
With Apple, the expectation is a more innovative customer experience and more powerful mobile apps for business utilizing features like Siri Shortcuts, Business Chat. There is call to action for developers to build Salesforce iOS apps on Trailhead. I’m looking forward to seeing what they will come up with next.
These are some of the top innovations and trends that will potentially shape how companies use Salesforce to transform their business this year.
Alejandra Teran has 15+ years of experience leading Salesforce digital transformation journeys. Director of the Salesforce Center of Excellence Freddie Mac. Prior VP Global Business Intelligence at the largest CX BPO company in the world (Teleperformance). She is a 4X Salesforce Certified and Ranger.