A lot happened in the wider world of Salesforce last week. From acquisition announcements to innovative launches, the Dreamforce to You keynote left viewers with much to be excited about, besides James Corden’s cold open. (We’re still crossing our fingers for Marc Benioff car karaoke!)
Let’s dig into some of what we learned.
Salesforce acquires Slack
This became clear the day before Dreamforce to You, when Salesforce released a press release announcing their definitive acquisition agreement with Slack.
“Salesforce started the cloud revolution, and two decades later, we are still tapping into all the possibilities it offers to transform the way we work. The opportunity we see together is massive,” said Stewart Butterfield, Slack CEO and Co-Founder. “As software plays a more and more critical role in the performance of every organization, we share a vision of reduced complexity, increased power and flexibility, and ultimately a greater degree of alignment and organizational agility. Personally, I believe this is the most strategic combination in the history of software, and I can’t wait to get going.”
According to the press release, Slack will be deeply integrated into every Salesforce Cloud and act as the new interface for Salesforce Customer 360. The market responded positively and decisively to this announcement, while those of us at Silverline were thrilled by the idea of bringing together these two powerful technologies.
In 2009 when Salesforce announced their first collaboration platform, Chatter, we knew it would change the game on communication in context. Chatter has been a big driver of CRM adoption success for our clients over the years – especially for globally-distributed teams – and it’s been a big part of the way we manage our operations at Silverline for more than a decade. When we introduced Slack to our tech stack at Silverline in 2014, it added powerful real-time collaboration tools that empowered our growth and fostered our team’s remote working culture.
Over the years, our architects and developers have built tools to integrate Slack and Salesforce, and automate internal communications where we can. We are excited for the new possibilities this acquisition will unlock, and can’t wait to share all the lessons we’ve learned about coupling structured and unstructured data to drive growth and culture.
Hyperforce and Einstein Automate
Also revealed last week was Salesforce Hyperforce, a reimagination of the company’s platform architecture built to securely and reliably deliver the Salesforce Customer 360, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Industries and more, on major public clouds.
“Every company right now is facing an imperative — to go digital, fast,” said Bret Taylor, President and COO, Salesforce. “Salesforce Hyperforce is a quantum leap forward in how Salesforce can accelerate our global customers’ digital transformations and empower them to grow, fast and at scale, on our trusted platform.”
- Backwards Compatibility with every Salesforce app, customization and integration, regardless of Cloud
- Built-in Trust with security architecture
- Local Data Storage
- Performance at B2B and B2C scale
On top of Hyperforce, Salesforce announced Einstein Automate, an end-to-end workflow automation solution that empowers people and businesses to be more productive.
“In today’s climate, every organization faces a digital imperative to automate complex processes and free up employee time to focus on customer success,” said Sarah Franklin, EVP & GM of Platform, Trailhead and AppExchange at Salesforce. “With Einstein Automate, everyone can change the speed of work and be more productive through intelligent workflow automation.”
Einstein Automate brings together:
- Einstein Automate Solutions on the AppExchange
- Flow Orchestrator
- MuleSoft Composer
- Salesforce Industries
So, what does this all mean?
As Silverline’s resident Einstein Champion, I’m excited to unpack it for you.
At its core, Hyperforce is a leap forward in scale, performance, and elasticity. I interpreted the announcement as a strategy to democratize Salesforce data, and support their customers’ choice of cloud data platform, whether AWS, Google Cloud, Azure or otherwise.
Why is this problem of scale so important to solve? Let’s use a different kind of example to illustrate the challenge. Last week, Governor Cuomo was on the air talking about how one of the biggest lessons that we learned early on during the COVID pandemic was that we need to load balance our hospitals. As we experienced a huge influx of patients, we needed to figure out how to give them the quality of care they deserve while keeping a very close eye on hospital capacity. Right now, many states in the nation are facing this very same urgent challenge.
We (in New York) had to fight through a couple of major hurdles in the system. One was the fact that we have so many private hospital systems that don’t talk to each other, but they’re very close to one another, sometimes mere city blocks away. The other hurdle was that we couldn’t look at hospitals across the system and understand where there were major spikes in activity and need.
So we had to solve for this problem where we could load balance a community of need for the sake of public health and send patients from one hospital to another. We needed to reach a point where the balance, ultimately the patient caseload, was distributed equally. And it didn’t matter where patients went so long as they got the care they needed. This is the core operating principle of New York’s “Surge and Flex” program.
Governor Cuomo and his team have tackled these challenges head-on through an enormous data science project. This idea of load balancing is important when it comes to thinking about how you scale performance of any system, especially one where so many lives are on the line.
An influx of data
As Salesforce increases its footprint in industries like Healthcare and Financial Services, its technologies power mission-critical apps that help run our hospitals, banks, and other institutions that we rely on each day. And now, we are facing an unprecedented influx of data. Organizations no longer have thousands of data points to think about. Instead, clients are planning for a near term future in which they may capture billions of interactions over the course of five or 10 years. In fact, data strategy and the proliferation of first-party, second-party, and third-party data was one of the major topics of discussion during our Innovation Summit last week.
The idea of data scaling is of critical importance for any Chief Technology Officer or Chief Strategy Officer, because we have to capture a lot of data and it takes a ton of processing power to take that volume of big data and create signals and meaning out of it.
So what Salesforce is signaling through their Hyperforce announcement is that you won’t have to be totally dependent on Salesforce to store and scale your data. They are acknowledging that clients have existing data vendors of choice or clouds of choice and their data already lives in a lot of these big scaled data systems that expand and contract when there’s need.
If you think about the current holiday sales season, businesses have to ensure that people can transact efficiently so that they can weather this year’s economic storm. Many big retailers leverage Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud tools to capture customer data from advertising channels like Instagram and Facebook, to track their personal preferences, and to remarket and intelligently predict buying propensity based on that data. So these businesses must think about the infrastructure, and the data scale that supports these enormous data volumes.
Hyperforce reduces the dependency on Salesforce to host and process data, which I believe will become even more important over the next several years as more and more data privacy rules emerge, similar to what we see in Germany, Australia, and other jurisdictions.
Accelerating Efficiency with Einstein Automate
Einstein Automate expands on this Hyperforce concept by acknowledging the abundance of data in whatever cloud, public or private, that a customer uses, and allows them to unlock the power of that data through MuleSoft and a suite of automation tools and industry-first workflow templates.
Clients will be able to use Einstein Automate to connect via API into their data sources and query those data sources in order to build powerful automation workflows. Hyperforce provides the infrastructure acceleration and Einstein Automate delivers the smart, admin-friendly tools to build automation flows that allow teams to optimize for further efficiency. In my view, these two innovations marry no-code/low-code development platforms and robotic process automation (RPA) in a way we’ve never seen before: built on top of an AI platform that will actively make recommendations about where and how to fine tune your processes and automation for performance and efficiency.
In tandem with the technical innovation, Salesforce has a whole platform of solutions that are industry-focused to help solve common problems, like automating mortgage lending, automating commercial loans, and automating KYC or customer onboarding processes. With Hyperforce and Einstein Automate, Salesforce is not only building the infrastructure and the toolset, but the industry lens through which you can really make your business transform quickly.
They’re doing it with ethics in mind, too. The focus on minimizing bias from the Einstein platform is what I’m most excited about. Salesforce’s continued commitment to the ethical development of AI will help all clients automate faster and more equitably – and that’s an innovation strategy I can personally get behind.
What this means for you
There are lots of new and exciting capabilities coming our way, and with that, the possibility for improved experiences across the board.
If you’re interested in how the new functionality announced during Dreamforce to You aligns with your needs, we’d love to chat.