Salesforce and the Future of Work

As the Director of Salesforce Solutions at Andela, I’m focused on ensuring that the clients we work with are able to find and hire highly-skilled engineers with expertise in Salesforce products and services. With the recent acquisition of Slack, the demand for talented Salesforce engineers is higher than ever before. This acquisition presents a tremendous amount of opportunity as it relates to market growth. But it also presents a variety of challenges as they relate to hiring and training talented software engineers, challenges that a talent network like Andela is in a unique position to help solve.

Before we discuss this, though, let’s take a look back at some of the major Salesforce acquisitions over the past 10 years, discuss how the acquisition of Slack will be a disruptive game changer going forward, and make some high-level predictions about Salesforce’s exciting future, given its mission to become the “digital HQ for success from anywhere.”

Major Salesforce acquisitions throughout the years

Tableau – Salesforce is no stranger to acquiring innovative companies that complement and bolster its existing suite of products and services. The acquisition of the data visualization software company Tableau was instrumental in that it cemented Salesforce’s commitment to leading digital transformation with cutting-edge analytics. Today, Tableau dashboards are a critical feature of the Salesforce Marketing, Commerce, and Service clouds, enabling companies everywhere to make smarter data-driven decisions that accelerate innovation.

MuleSoft – Salesforce acquired MuleSoft, a company that provides integration software for connecting applications, data and devices, in 2018. This was a critically important acquisition in cementing Salesforce’s status as a digital leader because it gave companies the opportunity to unlock data across systems and devices and build highly customized solutions for their customers. Today, companies can leverage MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform to synchronize data across different Salesforce clouds, legacy ERPs, and other third-party systems to gain greater insight and visibility into the business initiatives that are driving value.

ExactTarget – Dating back to 2013, Salesforce’s acquisition of leading cloud marketing platform ExactTarget was influential in that it directly paved the way for what would eventually become the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. With a suite of services, including personalized email campaigns, the Datorama marketing data platform, a social studio, content management systems, and more, thousands of companies are leveraging the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to reach customers more effectively today.

Why the acquisition of Slack is another disruptive game changer

As of 2020, over 150,000 companies worldwide are using Salesforce, and there are 10+ million active daily users on Slack. With this acquisition, more people will be using Salesforce’s suite of services than ever before. By combining Salesforce with Slack, (or what some people are already calling Slackforce), companies will be better able to adapt quickly, personalize their interactions with their customers, and optimize their impact regardless of where they are based.

Let’s look at use cases across some specific industries where the Slack integration will likely make a massive impact.

Use Case # 1: Retail

By leveraging data analytics platforms like Tableau and Einstein AI in conjunction with Slack channels, Salesforce customers will be better able to surface insight into customer search and purchase history and efficiently communicate these findings to key stakeholders. This in turn will facilitate collaboration and iteration for product roadmap planning as well as marketing strategy and execution in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Additionally, with integrated features like Slack channel swarms, Salesforce customers in the retail space will be able to identify and escalate client-side issues, cutting down response times and generally improving customer experience more readily.

Use Case #2: Finance

Finance is a world where accuracy, speed, and efficiency are critically important. Customers expect anytime and anywhere access to their information. Digital transformation of financial institutions is essential to satisfy current and attract new customers.  Platforms such as MuleSoft’s Anypoint help to provide API’s that unlock financial information stored in legacy systems and databases. This information can be accessed through a customized digital banking platform to easily facilitate customer onboarding and scale banking operations with AI and API-led integration.

Quick responses to identified issues is also important in the finance world, and with the Slack integration, workflows can be developed based on case type to set up Slack Channels that invite the appropriate team members to address problems quickly and efficiently.

Use Case # 3: Media

Whether producing live events, sharing breaking news, or negotiating contracts with content providers, Slack Connect brings together internal teams with external partners and freelancers to improve efficiency and collaboration and speed up communication. When real-time decisions are needed for events involving particular stakeholders (such as producers, directors, and writers), collaborating in pre-defined organized Slack Channels gets everyone on the same page quickly. Similarly, connecting key members for contract negotiation with appropriate workflows to speed up reviews and sign-off gets the deal done more efficiently.

Predictions about the future of Salesforce

Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack positions the company as well on its way to being a digital-first leader in the world of work. But there is a notable competitor to address, and that’s Microsoft Teams.

According to Gartner, the social software and collaboration market will reach $4.8 billion by 2023, nearly doubling in size. Microsoft’s push to make Teams a one-stop-shop for all forms of collaboration — chat, document sharing, video meetings — is making the company a current leader in facilitating the world of remote work, surpassing Skype for Business.

In my opinion, Salesforce will need to make Slackforce that one-stop-shop for the customer as well, with those same video call and document storage and sharing capabilities, which I predict they will do over the next couple of years in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

Now that we’ve provided some context into the history of Salesforce, the significance of the Slack integration, and predictions for the company’s future, let’s shift gears and discuss some of the issues that Salesforce will have to contend with given this new, groundbreaking Slack acquisition.

The global talent shortage

The skyrocketing demand for talented Salesforce engineers is largely driven by the sheer number of people using the platform. As of 2020, over 150,000 companies worldwide are using Salesforce, and there are 10+ million active daily users on Slack. With this acquisition, more people will be using Salesforce’s suite of services than ever before. As such, we’ll see a rise in companies requiring customization of Salesforce’s suite of solutions to fit their organizations’ unique needs, and more engineers with Salesforce expertise will be required to meet this increased demand.

The engineering skill sets required will not just be limited to the sales and service clouds, but will include micro clouds as well (think industry specific clouds, like B2B commerce and CPQ). The continual development of micro clouds provide a lot of opportunities for developers skilled in these tools and services to solve interesting challenges at Salesforce and, ultimately, grow their careers.

But with that said, it can be challenging to hire engineers at scale with specialized skill sets in the world of micro clouds, particularly when there’s a global shortage of engineering talent. So, how will Salesforce find talent with the specialized skill sets they need to better serve not only themselves, but their customers based all over the world?

Where talent, training, and Andela come into the picture

In my opinion, Salesforce will be best served by leveraging partnerships with organizations such as Andela that have the experience, background and knowledge to identify and train highly skilled Salesforce developers around the world. As a premier global talent network that accepts only 3% of applicants, Andela has the best-in-class standards for selecting Salesforce engineering talent.

Additionally, partnering with a talent network like Andela will make it easier for Salesforce to develop general talent or market-specific talent. For example, a significant need for Salesforce developers in Africa, specifically South Africa, has been identified, as well as a need for certified developers in EMEA. Andela has extensive experience finding talented developers based in both of these geographical regions and with these particular skill sets.

Andela’s talent training partnership with Salesforce demonstrates our unique value-add. We specialize in growing talent in emerging markets, and we’re here to provide the training programs that connect Salesforce to the highly-qualified, technical talent in those markets.

The big picture

Salesforce is in the midst of a variety of Slack integrations that are designed to improve all aspects of business. With all of these new features, more engineers with Salesforce expertise than ever before will be needed to keep up with the rapid pace of change. At Andela, we’ll have those resources available as companies look to build beyond the Salesforce core integrations and develop solutions to meet their customized needs.

Watch our on-demand webinar “Talent Without Borders: The Missing Piece to Closing Your Engineering Talent Gap” to gain tips on how to effectively build a distributed engineering team.

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