The Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing – and across the UK, trailblazers are using its defining technologies to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our planet.
That was the overwhelming message from last week’s Salesforce World Tour London 2019; the biggest Salesforce event outside of the annual Dreamforce gathering in San Francisco.
More than 14,000 registered attendees packed into London’s ExCeL conference centre, eager to see the latest developments in the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, and be inspired by the people, companies and organisations blazing new trails in the era of artificial intelligence, connected devices and seamless customer experiences.
In a keynote to kick off the event, Paul Smith, EVP and General Manager of Salesforce UK, welcomed thousands of members of the Salesforce Ohana to “the biggest family reunion I’ve ever seen”.
This was a special reunion, he said, because it marks our 20th year in business – making it a good time to reflect on the four core values the company was founded on back in 1999: Trust, Customer Success, Innovation and Equality.
They remain our core values today, informing everything we do and everything we enable our customers to do. Examples of the values in action were abundant throughout the keynote and the wider event – and here’s just a flavour of them:
As companies become custodians of ever more customer data, and more decisions are driven by artificial intelligence, people need to trust that companies and organisations will do the right thing by them, and by the planet.
Technology itself is a neutral force, said Paul Smith, but it can be used for good or bad ends. At Salesforce, we take our responsibility to use technology for good very seriously, and last year set up an Office of Humane and Ethical Use to advise and guide the company on its use of powerful new technologies like AI.
Salesforce customers also trust the company to protect the environment for future generations, and that commitment was visible throughout the day: from the re-usable water bottles made from sugar cane and bamboo given away at the Salesforce Women’s Network breakfast, to the lanyard recycling station by the exit – and the fact it was a red-meat-free event, saving over 5 million litres of water in the process.
We know that success comes from putting the customer at the heart of everything, and every development in the Customer Success Platform is designed to help companies make their customers’ lives easier.
One UK company making full use of the latest developments is the classic clothing brand, Pink Shirtmaker. CEO Christopher Zanardi-Landi explained how Salesforce Customer 360 enables it to deliver bespoke service at scale, with a complete and up-to-date view of every customer driving incredible personalised experiences.
A demo showed how a Pink Shirtmaker customer could get a replacement shirt within a couple of hours – even while on the move – thanks to a platform for retailers that unites sales, service and e-commerce teams around the customer.
And it’s not just big companies that benefit: in the Small Business Theatre, we saw how companies like the syrup maker Torani are linking sales, marketing and service to create personalised journeys for each customer throughout their lifecycle.
Across the UK, companies and people are using the Salesforce Customer Success Platform in innovative ways to delight their customers and become – or remain – leaders in their category.
327-year-old Barclays Bank, for example, is innovating for the 21st century, using Salesforce for Financial Services companies to build personalised relationships at scale with its millions of customers.
It’s all made possible by the innovations that we continuously bring to the Customer Success Platform, which is updated at least three times a year. The newest developments include:
Salesforce isn’t just enabling and introducing innovation; we're also investing in it – launching an all-new $125m Europe Trailblazer Fund to support tech startups driving the fourth industrial revolution forwards.
Previous UK companies to benefit from Salesforce Ventures investment include the payments platform GoCardless, data privacy engineering specialist Privitar, and facial biometrics company Onfido.
We also emphasised the recent strategic investment in MuleSoft, which is helping customers bring together data from any system and device, and making the Customer Success Platform even more powerful.
Paul Smith delivered an update on the achievements of the 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy, in which Salesforce gives away 1% of shareholder value, 1% of its people’s time, and 1% of its product to people and organisations that seek to close inequality gaps and promote inclusivity and diversity.
To date, Salesforce has:
One organisation was undoubtedly the talk of the show - Salesforce Supermums - whose founder Heather Black explained how the non-profit is helping mums to find flexible work in the Salesforce economy, either as independent consultants or as employees of Salesforce customers.
It’s not only helping them to find valuable career opportunities, it’s also creating a much-needed pipeline of talent to fill the UK’s huge digital skills gap.
This tech skills gap isn’t just an economic issue, it needs a cultural shift. Which is why we are launching a dedicated campaign to build awareness of Trailhead, proving its accessibility for everyone through a network of partners and curated courses developed to make learning easier, no matter your skill level.
Equality of opportunity was a key theme throughout the day, from the Salesforce Women’s Network breakfast with its focus on empowering women to break through glass ceilings through mentorship and networking, to the Innovation panel in the afternoon, which brought together speakers from non-profit organisations like Your Startup Your Story, StreetLink and WhiteHat Apprenticeships.
One message came across throughout: that technology, when used for good, is a powerful tool to help right wrongs and solve tough social and economic issues.
And that’s only just scratched the surface of what was an incredibly busy and vibrant 10 hours of presentations, demos, conversations, connections, meetings and collaborations. We'll be sharing much more of the highlights right here on the blog - so be sure to subscribe to the blog newsletter.