Trust, upskilling, a 360-degree customer view, and AI ethics. As a new decade draws closer, Salesforce executives see a future in which each of these disparate elements will impact every business.
In 2020, companies will compete on the experience they provide to customers, not just the products they provide.
AI tools, increasingly widespread in every business, will challenge employees to learn new skills, and then empower them to deliver entirely new levels of customer experience.
And a new role for business in society will crystalize as employees hold companies accountable for the impact they have on broader society, and customers demand a new model of capitalism that benefits both shareholders and stakeholders.
Read on for Salesforce leaders’ predictions for 2020 and the emerging trends at the intersection of technology and business.
New technologies help companies measure up to new customer demands
“Achieving a “360-degree view” of customers has been the ‘Holy Grail’ of digital transformation. In 2020, companies will be competing on the experience they deliver to customers, not just their products, and it will be imperative for them to have that full view of each customer.” – Patrick Stokes, EVP, Platform at Salesforce
“Trust is a necessity in today’s world. With trust breaches happening more often than ever before, 2020 will be the year that blockchain accelerates — helping companies close the trust gap and earn back confidence from customers and partners.” – Adam Caplan, SVP, Emerging Technology
“2020 will be the year of finally simplifying the marketing technology stack. Already, less than half of marketers have a completely unified view of customer data sources. As the number of data sources climbs, investment and innovation on this problem is of increasing urgency to marketers.” – Leah Pope, VP of Product Marketing, Marketing Cloud
“In 2020, enterprise cloud marketplaces will continue to get smarter and easier to use with the help of AI. Customers will demand to move faster in their digital transformations, and will rely on consultants for industry and technology-specific expertise. We’re also going to see more technology partners collaborate with each other to create truly integrated and connected solutions.” – Woodson Martin, EVP & GM, Salesforce AppExchange
“In 2020, carbon accounting will be democratized. Investors and customers are demanding new levels of transparency—making it table stakes to report on one’s environmental impact. Just as financials have traditionally revealed a company’s health, carbon accounting will be the first step towards required climate action for every company in every industry in every geography.” – Ari Alexander, GM, Sustainability Cloud, Salesforce
The impact of Artificial Intelligence increases dramatically
“The field of AI will come to terms with its age and success. Questions around the ethics of AI are not new, but 2020 will be the year of reckoning as the industry builds out the best practices and regulations required for ensuring that AI works in the best interest of people.”— Richard Socher, Chief Scientist, Salesforce Einstein
“In 2020, AI tools are going to become as widespread and expected as getting a laptop on your first day of the job — essential and critical tools that employees will need to do their jobs well. The sooner that companies adopt AI, the better their data and larger their competitive advantage will be.“ – Robin Grochol, SVP, Product Management, Sales Cloud
“In 2020, the companies that will succeed are the ones that will be focusing on coaching employees at scale and keep it fresh with market trend changes. Voice intelligence and AI will be necessary to scale these efforts, especially in a function like sales where churn is high and career moves are fast, but coaching too often takes a backseat compared to meeting targets.” – Robin Grochol, SVP, Product Management, Sales Cloud
New technology empowers – and challenges – the workforce
“In 2020 and through the next decade, companies will need to find new ways to engage, educate and re-skill employees. I anticipate we will see all of our partners — including technology vendors and consulting firms — collaborate more closely with customers on workforce evolution strategies paired with technology solutions.“ – J.C. Collins, SVP & COO, Salesforce Industries & Partners
“In 2020, the tech industry will continue to sharpen its focus on and invest in the intersection of equality and technology as their stakeholders increasingly hold companies accountable for the impact technology has on society and the need for diverse, global perspectives in innovation rises.” – Molly Ford, Senior Director of Global Equality Programs
“In 2020, rapidly advancing technologies will drive fundamental change across industries and demand new skills from the workforce. Those companies who embrace these changes, and invest in developing their employees, will have set the foundation for the next evolution of the future of work. ” – Suzana DelliSanti, SVP, Futureforce & Workforce Development
“In 2020, we believe employees’ voices will become ever more important, resulting in increased transparency and employee involvement in business decisions. While companies will continue to make strides on women representation, they will increasingly turn their attention to other underrepresented voices such as underrepresented minorities in the U.S as well as People of Color and People with Disabilities around the globe.” – Molly Ford, Senior Director of Global Equality Programs