(With inputs from Manisha Amdekar)
Every day, Salesforce and its partners strive to answer two fundamental questions – How can we help our customers achieve ever-greater success through the business solutions that are right for them? And how can we build a more sustainable future?
The best solutions, in our experience, are rarely discovered by chance. Instead, they emerge through a systematic process of analysis, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Customer needs are studied, assumptions are challenged, ideas are tried out – till finally, a viable solution emerges.
At Salesforce, we strive to create an environment that fosters this kind of innovative thinking. And so, we have the Salesforce India Partner Ideathon.
What is the partner ideathon?
This first-of-its-kind event offered all Salesforce India partners an opportunity to generate high-value business ideas that can be transformed into go-to-market (GTM)-ready partner offerings. Partners were invited to identify ‘white spaces’ in different industries, and explore potential solutions across Salesforce products.
Over 51 Salesforce partners participated in this year’s ideathon which ran from June to October. The goal was to come up with solutions that could be converted into minimum viable products that partners could use for a sustainable economic rent and, in future, capitalise on these assets as a revenue stream. That meant our partners had to:
- Empathise with customers to understand their deeper needs
- Define the real problem at the root of those needs
- Ideate, build, and test the most viable solutions
This customer-centric approach gives rise to meaningful innovations that are closely aligned to customer expectations and, therefore, more likely to be profitable.
Delivering more impact through partner enablement sessions
Innovation is as much about learning as it is about creating. It calls us to challenge assumptions, and ask deeper questions like: What makes an idea useful? How well will it satisfy customer needs? Is it economically scalable?
The more we know and learn, the better the odds of our ideas succeeding.
With that in mind, the Salesforce Ideathon included a series of partner enablement and learning sessions where Salesforce experts shared key insights and knowledge on innovation to empower our partners for success, so that our customers in turn succeed.
The enablement sessions focused on a range of topics, from how partners can uncover deeper unconsidered customer needs that require solving, to how partners and customers can co-create a connected vision that’s tailored to the customer’s business objectives.
There were also sessions on design thinking, project planning, Salesforce DevOps, and solution implementation from an architect’s perspective. Together, these sessions encouraged partners to look at innovation differently, and create compelling solutions that make a difference.
Presenting our winners
Throughout the ideathon, we were amazed at the sheer volume and potential of ideas presented by our partners. Some ideas focused on automating and improving visibility into business processes such as secondary sales and inventory management.
Others explored key business challenges such as how to improve cross-functional collaboration across multiple messaging apps, and how to mitigate workforce churn through hyper-personalised employee engagement.
Still others focused on sustainability goals – for example, how to make green financing easier. And how to provide better infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Eventually, three winning solutions were chosen from each partner category – global partners, regional partners, and boutique partners.
These winning ideas stood out for a host of reasons, including their innovation, business potential, ease of implementation, and scalability.
We look forward to seeing how these ideas are transformed into real solutions that help customers succeed. We also realise that innovation never ends. Customer needs are always evolving. And by staying attentive to what matters most to them, we can continuously ideate, innovate, and iterate to add value to our customers’ lives.