Dec 11, 2020

The Salesforce Solution: In Conversation with John Kelleher

Salesforce
IMI Critical Engineering
partnership
solutions
Georgia Wilson
4 min
Salesforce logo
John Kelleher joins Supply Chain Digital to discuss the ongoing partnership between Salesforce and IMI Critical Engineering, and the reasons behind it...

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting ─ albeit virtually ─ John Kelleher, the Area Vice President of Enterprise Sales UK, at Salesforce. The leading VP took the Supply Chain Digital hot seat and openly discussed Salesforce’s business model, the company’s partnership with IMI Critical Engineering, and the ways that digital transformation has affected global supply chain networks.

John told me that he has been “at Salesforce for ten years now. I’ve been in enterprise software sales directly and in leadership and management for the last 20 years. My career began at Jaguar Land Rover as a manufacturing engineer; then I moved over to supply chain, working for the supplier-side of the company as a key account manager. My first big enterprise role, in the software-realm, was with Siemens ─ I spent a while selling engineering software to support product, life cycle management, product development, computer-aided engineering and computer-aided design into automotive, aerospace and manufacturing.” John then moved into consumer packaged goods as a white space exploration for PLM, “which kind of brought me into Salesforce; to develop the relationship and grow Salesforce footprint with Unilever ─ I enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Unilever as we do to this day ten years on, and is now, one of our largest consumer packaged goods customer globally.” 

Wondering why John was telling me specifically about this entrance point, the industry-leading VP told me that the “journey was interesting and important because it actually informed the relevance of Salesforce to manufacturing and consumer goods companies beyond just CRM with Unilever.” 

We were on limited time, but I felt that it was necessary to get John’s take on exactly what Salesforce does, and what they can do for your business. He willingly shared. “Salesforce was a startup, at first ─ and whilst now a US$17bn organisation work hard to maintain a startup sense of innovation and agility, but, in reality, we’ve been in the game for two decades now. Back in ‘99, Salesforce was one of the pioneering companies that took cloud-based technologies into businesses. Our initial area of capability was focussed on CRM, Customer Relationship Management, where we supported our customers to establish a customer-centric approach to their sales and business development activities, enabling them to be better connected to their customers with improved visibility and integration across their sales processes. Fast forward twenty years and Salesforce has built a complete 360-degree suite that has extended the capabilities of classic CRM into customer service, marketing, and eCommerce ─ both B2C and B2B.” More recently Salesforce has made major acquisitions in the areas of integration and analytics with the respective acquisitions of Mulesoft and Tableau. Both maqui brands, they are enabling us to support customers maximise their existing technology investments and optimise cross-functional processes, whilst maintaining customer centricity and importantly providing an opportunity to digitally integrate the front office (Salesforce heritage) with the back office. This unification critical to support agility in new business models required to succeed in an increasingly volatile world

On Salesforce’s partnership with IMI Critical Engineering, John was willing to share his insight. “[Salesforce has] got a long-standing relationship with IMI. Whilst our initial engagement was around core CRM, we have built a richer 360-degree relationship with them and now support other areas of capability and are working closely with IMI to extend the relationship further. IMI continues to develop capabilities on the Salesforce platform, and we are working with them on key strategic pillars such as Customer Satisfaction and Commercial excellence to support IMI’s sales and customer services pre-and-post sale.” End-to-end, if you like. 

John added that “The relationship is very much based on traditional Salesforce CRM. The reliability is there, and the partnership continues to gro on this foundation, which suggests we continue to deliver value for IMI and how they manage their front office processes. Due to COVID-19 situation, reps that were on the street ─ as it were ─ have been brought in-house easily as their front office estate is built on cloud-based capabilities like Salesforce. The company was able to adapt to the new sales environment far quicker than they would have, with more traditional on-premise capabilities. So it’s a traditional starting point, but with modern technology, we’ve been able to help IMI Critical Engineering adapt quickly in a highly volatile world.” 

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Automation
UiPath
technology
repetitivetasks
Kate Birch
4 min
As a new report reveals most office workers are crushed by repetitive tasks, we talk the value of automation with UiPath’s MD of Northern Europe, Gavin Mee

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.

  1. 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
  2. Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
  3. Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
  4. 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
  5. 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.”

 

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