Stitching together the tech ecosystem for Customer Success: A peek into Salesforce strategy

Salesforce recently announced partnership with companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. One one hand, this reflects stitching together of respective capabilities to create unified customer experience. However, it also reflects emergence of enterprise tech ecosystem with ‘frenemies’ coming together where it makes sense.

 

As the Dreamforce event kicked-off yesterday in style, 3 key partner related announcements caught my attention. In the past week, Salesforce announced deepening their relationship with tech heavyweights Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. In this piece, we will take a look at the key announcements and what it means for organizations.

1. The Apple partnership

What was announced?

  • Salesforce in partnership with Apple has come up with a new version of their Mobile App specifically for iOS. The redesigned CRM app, will leverage multiple iOS native features (like Siri and Face id) as part of the mobile App.
  • Salesforce also announced a pilot of Einstein Voice on Salesforce Mobile, allowing reps to enter notes, add tasks and update the CRM database using voice. With this, users can talk to Siri , (which in turn will work with Einstein Voice Assistant ) to add notes, add tasks and update CRM records rather than having to enter them manually.
  • “Trailhead Go” a new mobile based learning app with a customized user interface. This will enable on-the-go learning for users who use mobile screens for learning

What it means?

    Improving mobile productivity for CRM users is the next big frontier for Salesforce. A new generation of users is emerging, which uses mobile app as the primary means to interact with Salesforce. Salesforce has tapped into some of Apple’s native features to offer users seamless connect into Salesforce Mobile App
  • For instance, users can now log into Salesforce app using Face ID
  • Mobile App takes advantage of Apple’s Handoff feature to reflect changes across devices immediately. Salesforce App now allow users to seamlessly work on the same record between iPhone and say an iPad without losing context.
  • iPhone users can now ask Siri for their next Sales meeting and all relevant information about the opportunity (complete with Einstein scoring) will be available.

For developers, the new Salesforce SDK for iOS lets them deploy iOS native apps on lightning platform. This will enable users to seamlessly connect business apps on iOS with the Salesforce platform. For users, ‘Trailhead Go’ is a great way to continue learning in a mobile first fashion

2.  The Amazon announcement

What was announced?

  • Salesforce announced that it is introducing Service Cloud Voice, their new offering integrated with Amazon Connect, to enable contact center agents deliver enhanced customer service support.
  • Salesforce will now offer Amazon Cloud Connect (which includes VOIP computer telephony & call transcription services) deeply integrated with Service Cloud, so that intelligent recommendations from call recording can be offered to service agents to identify ‘hot spots’

What it means?

  • The integration with cloud and AI first contact centers, like Amazon Connect enables Service cloud platform to address a key gap around the call center offering.
  • The ability for Salesforce to ‘read’ call recording transcripts and offer Service Reps with intelligent ‘next best action’ for voice calls is a great value proposition. This previously needed to be handled by bespoke AI based solutions, but now can be handled with Salesforce.

3.  The Microsoft announcement

What was announced?

  • Salesforce announced Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for their Marketing Cloud stack (currently hosted on their own data centres) to
  • Salesforce also announced that they were partnering with Microsoft around ‘Microsoft Teams’, integrating Teams with Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud

What it means?

  • The move to Azure allows Salesforce to optimize Marketing Cloud workloads as customer demand scales. This also enables Salesforce customers to expand more quickly, given Azure’s global footprint and comply with local data security, privacy and other compliances
  •  As Microsoft doubles down on ‘Teams’, the ability to integrate Salesforce notifications onto Teams and vice versa is a huge deal for global clients of both companies like Marriott and Unilever, who will be able to address Sales productivity needs for their teams and improve customer experience

The Conclusion

Overall 3 key takeaways emerge from these announcements :

  • All the tech giants are looking to design a unified end user experience by stitching together their business capabilities (Apple+Salesforce).
  • These also reiterate the fact, that the emerging tech ecosystem is spawning more frenemies, who companies compete fiercely in one segment (Think MS Dynamics vs Salesforce), but collaborate in many other areas to create digital ecosystems and enable connected experience (e.g. Teams + Sales Cloud).
  • Finally, from a cloud infrastructure perspective, Salesforce has decided to hedge it’s bets between Amazon and Microsoft to take advantage of their respective strengths around scale, local presence and ensuring compliance for it’s customers.

Such ecosystems are only going to increase in the future, not just for technology giants, but also for players of all hues (and indeed for Salesforce customers). To borrow a phrase ‘Let a thousand ecosystems bloom’

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