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Company Culture

Q&A: Salesforce Maps SVP and GM John Stewart Discusses Geolocation Intelligence

It’s been just under three months since MapAnything was acquired by Salesforce. What has the transition been like?

Well, it’s been a bit of a blur and feels a lot longer than that, given how much we’ve accomplished in a short period of time. I’ve been pushing for a fast integration of MapAnything being rebranded to Salesforce Maps in this timeframe, which has resulted in a very accelerated track for teams getting to know our counterparts on the product and engineering and sales sides. That has been a good thing!

Can you share a little background on the founding story of MapAnything?

Ben Brantly and I started the company as a system integrator in August 2009. We specialized in taking platform licenses, putting some IP on it and working with our smaller manufacturers to deliver a complete solution. Around late 2011, early 2012, we had a Construction Waste Management Company as a client that wanted to see where their dumpsters were on a map, and the idea for MapAnything was born.

We built the product, threw it on the AppExchange in January 2012, and didn’t do a lot with it. It just kind of sat there. People started finding it on their own and downloading it, so in mid-2013 we decided to get serious about creating a product. In late 2015, we rebranded to MapAnything, and at that point we were fully entrenched in being a product company. We did our first institutional round of funding in December of 2015, and Salesforce participated in the A and B rounds, as well as led our C round, and here we are today.

What’s on the horizon for mapping technology?

Location Intelligence is actually so much further ahead on the consumer side than it is on the B2B side. Look at the apps we use every day — Google Maps, Apple Maps, Lyft and Uber. These apps have three components to them: map-based visualization; optimization to find the faster or more effective way to get from point A to point B; and ingestion of real-time location data. These three components are bundled in a way that has a positive impact on your personal workflows. Other businesses that are not necessarily location-based have incorporated this too, like when your cable company can alert you that the cable repair person is on the way.

Companies like Uber, OpenTable and DoorDash have set consumer expectations, and now we’re in a position to help Salesforce customers by powering that next level of location-based customer engagement and customer experience directly inside the world’s #1 CRM. For example, you probably don’t think about the fact that almost everything you buy has a salesperson behind it who traveled to secure shelf space for a product. Did you know there are thousands of people selling soda to every stadium, school, and restaurant across the country that rely on maps for territories and scheduling?

Accommodating everyone involved is a hard problem to solve, but the culmination of cloud computing, 4G and 5G networks, and the fact that every phone, refrigerator, car, or you name it has location technology built in helped to enable our innovations.

What was it like for you the day the acquisition was announced?

It was a great day, sort of a culmination of everything we’d achieved and celebrating the start of the next phase of our journey. As an entrepreneur, you raise money, you work with investors, and you hope for a positive outcome, and a deal with a company that values our expertise, culture and product is surely a positive outcome. I think this outcome became what we all wanted and strived for at MapAnything; the Salesforce Ohana is where we belonged. Location is critical to the business processes that Salesforce supports in field sales and field service, and only getting more critical.

What’s been the biggest change, for you personally and for the company, in the last 90 days?

There are a lot of meetings and a lot of people to meet. We’ve had to introduce a lot more process around every aspect of the business, and that’s been an adjustment and something you’d expect going to a larger company. There have been a lot of positive changes on the employee success side, having so many more resources available for our employees, and I’m really happy for them. From a product direction and strategy standpoint, we are now setting priorities to accommodate all the needs of product leaders across the company, not just our product, so that’s a big difference from before.

How was the culture at MapAnything similar to or different from Salesforce?

Our culture was almost completely aligned. Our core tenet was the customer at the center, which is a lot like Salesforce’s focus on customer success. We were a Pledge 1% company too. We had taken the pledge and have a foundation that was funded as a result of the outcome. Volunteer Time Off was a big deal for us. We had a much better version of Puppyforce [a workplace dog adoption program], in my opinion, with lots of dogs in the office.

What’s next for product development as part of Salesforce?

Thanks to the acquisition, for the first time on the platform customers will be able to use Salesforce to create and balance territories, and immediately create relevant assignment roles. And we’ve got a very exciting development roadmap for Sales Cloud, and that product family, including capacity planning, as well as predictive territory modeling. We have a couple of stealth projects going on that I’m excited to hopefully deliver as product offerings next year.


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