Salesforce: enabling all to join the digital revolution
Salesforce is one step ahead of the digital world. The company’s Field Chief Technology Officer for EMEA tells Business Chief how Salesforce is encouraging all to join it on its digital transformation journey.
Established in 1999, Salesforce was founded with the goal to change, challenge and transform the technology industry. The company was built around four key principles: trust, customer success, innovation and equality. “Trust is the common currency we hold with all customers. Whether that’s because we hold all of their data or we’re helping them change their business,” says Adam Spearing, Field Chief Technology Officer and Head of Ecosystems for the EMEA region at Salesforce. “In terms of customer success, every decision or investment we make is looked at through a lens of asking ourselves the question: ‘does this drive or enhance customer success?’ We’re clearly a very innovative company and innovation shows itself in lots of different forms. As a technology provider we like to be very innovative in what we bring to market and what we acquire. Something that runs deep through the heart of the company is our dedication and commitment to equality in all its in size, colours, shapes and forms.”
As the company continues to grow with a ferocious trajectory, Salesforce remains an iconic pioneer in the technology industry. “We were the first company to come out with the concept of Cloud Computing and everyone thought we were crazy. We were the first to come out the idea of a subscription-based licensing model. Many of our innovations have become a norm, so we believe we changed the industry we’re in for the better,” remarks Spearing. The firm has since introduced a range of technologies designed for the sales and services organisations. Salesforce’s established technologies, which it refers to as Clouds, can be connected with data and Internet of Things (IoT) for proactive predictive purposes, allowing for seamless integration. The firm also offers marketing technologies and commerce capabilities to help engage with customers and create consistent shopping experiences.
Salesforce has a vested interest in new emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI). “There’s a lot of hype going around at the moment about AI. There is also a lot of panic and fear about what AI does and what it could be. When you use Salesforce, we guarantee whatever you do will work in perpetuity. We upgrade all of these solutions three times a year giving customers all the new capabilities without having the pain of the classic IT upgrade. We built our AI deep in the heart of Salesforce, but we’ve done it in a way that allows ordinary business users, not just highly qualified technology graduates to be able to capitalise on it,” Spearing notes. The business is also aware of its responsibility to ensure technologies such as AI are being used appropriately: “As a technology leader, we have a responsibility – especially with AI – to drive a better thought leadership around ethical and humane use. We recently set up an office for ethical and humane use to ensure the way we’re driving our technologies and the way our customers are using our technologies fits with the ethics of the company.”
The company is focused on ensuring that advanced innovations are not only for the exclusive few. “We provide these technologies in a way that is accessible not just for the privileged individuals working for IT organisations, but actually for business users that can get hold of a mouse and look at scenarios and create a drag and drop around AI. It really enhances everyone’s role in how they work and operate,” says Spearing. The company has developed software designed to support learning and skills development within the technology field. Salesforce wants to enable people from all walks of life to join the digital world, and aims for Trailhead to work as a catalyst to empower this. “Trailhead is fantastic because it’s a free gamified way of learning all about Salesforce and other things like GDPR,” he adds. “The software allows us to nurture people and employ more than just digital natives. Now isn’t that a fantastic opportunity for everybody in society?”
As Salesforce continues to inspire people to work in the technology industry, digital transformation remains a core driver for growth. However, for Salesforce, it is more than just technology adoption. “Most things are digital nowadays and I believe transformation is really about how you shift the company as a whole to move towards a new ideology. We live in a world now where you can read the fourth industrial revolution, however, it is clear the world is changing faster than ever before. We have more data out there and people are willing to share an ever-increasing amount of information but equally, people’s expectations have skyrocketed from what they want from technology and what they want in terms of the services.” Spearing assures that Salesforce will continue to evolve as its surrounding environment does, ensuring its team welcomes all those wanting to join the journey.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”