As I reflect back on the past four years, I’m struck by the many changes in the industry that occurred in such a relatively short amount of time. But the one thing that stands out most to me is the pace of product innovation at salesforce.com. Being part of the salesforce.com ecosystem certainly gives me a front row seat to the arena of change. But I honestly can’t think of a company of equal or greater size other than Google and Apple that have such an impressive streak. I suspect this observation is also shared by Forbes and is what drove their view of salesforce.com as the most innovative company in the world.
Product Introductions Over The Last 4 Years:
But to think about the last four years as purely product innovation is only scratching the surface. As we have said many times, technology is interesting, but it’s what businesses and individuals do with it to change their daily lives that makes it most impactful.
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In the case of salesforce.com, their product innovation has literally transformed how companies think about sales- and service-focused solutions. Four years ago the focus was on product features and how those features could streamline and automate business processes. This is still very important, and Salesforce has delivered those features – no question. But at some point there are diminishing returns from streamlining and automating.
In my opinion, the biggest shift over the last four years is how new social technologies such as Facebook and Twitter are changing the way people all over the world use technology. How we interact with our family and friends through technology now spills over into how we work.
Salesforce not only recognized this shift, but it did so early enough that it now has the products to support these new social interactions from a business perspective. Their cloud applications now:
- Enable companies to engage with customers and employees in a social way
- Give customers a voice that companies can easily hear and respond to (Radian6)
- Provide employees with better ways to collaborate and reduce email (Chatter)
In short, they have given customers and employees a “voice.” Salesforce.com calls this new way of interacting the Social Enterprise. We highlighted in a prior post how companies are using Salesforce to make the social enterprise real.
What does it mean for all of us?
For Perficient, the way we engage with our customers on projects is different. We have moved from feature-focused to social-focused implementations: Implementations that drive interaction, collaboration, and new connections. Implementations that drive better productivity—for employees and customers alike. Implementations that consider communications and styles. And implementations that ultimately deliver greater impact because they are geared to support a new mode of work.
For companies using Salesforce, the way they should look at getting the most value out of their application is radically different than it was just a few years ago. We suggest that companies look at how Salesforce solutions can deliver an engagement model that allows their customers to be heard, informed, and cared for, and enables their employees to stay focused and productive.