Salesforce is the only place I would consider as my next endeavor. I have made the decision to take a newly created position of Vice President of Global Customer Transformation at Salesforce. Gartner Inc (NYSE:IT), the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company has given me great opportunities over 19 years. I have covered Salesforce since its inception in 1999, many of those years serving the role as the Salesforce Gartner primary analyst. In my Gartner career, I have had over tens of thousands of customer interactions, with a large majority involving Salesforce customers and prospects. I have taken positions on Salesforce’s strengths and challenges. I have seen customers achieve tremendous business value and some who, in their journey to digital transformation, have unresolved roadblocks. My one consistent observation is the passion of the Salesforce customer base is like none other I have seen in my Gartner career. Salesforce customers are extremely loyal and many see themselves as evangelists to transform their company and industry. The opportunity to take Salesforce customers to the next level of their customer transformation efforts is too great to pass up.
In the 19 years I have been at Gartner, I have talked with and advised all levels of customer organizations from CEOs and CIOs of Fortune 500 companies to project managers responsible for implementing enterprise software. I have presented 100s of times at events around the world, each with the purpose of helping companies discover and find their path to success for customer transformation.
Customer transformation can take many forms. For example, take the concept of running your business from your phone. It’s catchy and gets attention, but what many customers don’t realize is it’s actually possible. Until a customer truly believes something is possible, they tend not to institute the change necessary to get there. I have always been a change agent in my career and never accept things as they are, but envision how things can be. This philosophy is paramount for developing new, innovative ways of connecting to customers. At Gartner, one of my favorite things to do was to facilitate workshops on how being a change agent can advance mobile app strategies to transform how companies connect with their customers. Using concepts such as ideation, the core principle of ideation is to not be constrained by how things are currently done, but to think how they can be done. The workshops brought many Salesforce and non-Salesforce customers together for the purpose of building on paper the “killer” customer mobile app that would be transformative for a specific industry. App concepts developed in these workshops served both consumers and/or business users in all types of industries and use cases. For example, a building supply company had issues verifying product deliveries to worksites. After the mobile workshop, they had created a paper prototype using a smartphone camera and a barcode reader to ensure delivery - eliminating delivery disputes with contractors.
These workshops were great and through them, I realized that I yearned for a more hands-on role to help customers use the nexus of cloud computing, social, analytics and mobile technology in their transformation efforts. Salesforce is a multi-billion dollar company with the entrepreneurial spirit of a start-up. Their employees maintain a high-level of passion and foster a culture and environment where new ideas are not only considered, but are actively encouraged and rewarded. As a Gartner analyst, I have helped Salesforce through many strategic decisions over the years. What always stuck out to me was how willing they were not only to listen to my feedback, but also to adjust their strategic plans based on it. I now have the opportunity to shape and drive product and market positioning directly.
Beyond the opportunities of helping customers transform their business, Salesforce’s philanthropy and community efforts are very important. I have been very fortunate in my career, and the emphasis that Salesforce puts on giving back to those who need help in their 1-1-1 program is very important to me and was also a factor in my decision.
To the thousands of customers I have had relationships with and the new customers I will meet, my promise to you is I will work tirelessly to help you achieve your business vision of using cloud computing to transform your customer strategy. I will continue to be a trusted advisor on your customer transformation journey.
I can’t wait to get going!
Robert DeSisto is Vice President of Global Customer Transformation at Salesforce. Previously, he was Vice President and Distinguished Analyst in Gartner Research where he was responsible for managing the software as a service (SaaS) research agenda, CRM sales agenda, and business application research community.