Posted by Jack Coles on Dec 05, 2022

Salesforce Live - UK & Ireland

Wednesday the 30th, I took the opportunity to go to Salesforce Live at the ExCel in London. Aimed at the managers/leaders, the day consisted of 2 keynotes and an assortment of high level talks spread across 5 ‘theatres’. Guest speakers from the NHS, DPD, MuleSoft and even Formula 1 graced the stages to give attendees of the sell out event insight into how they’ve gotten the most out of Salesforce for their businesses.

The day was kicked off by the incredibly talented National Youth Jazz Orchestra - responsible for nurturing one of the great talents of our time, Amy Winehouse. They did a fantastic rendition of “Feelin’ Good” by Nina Simone which set the theme for the event… A new day.

Opening Keynote

The opening keynote drew a picture of this, a new day with new challenges facing our businesses, dealing with these challenges while still striving to innovate fast and at low cost. The message was obvious, Salesforce want to make sure all customers are getting the most out of the product, seeing the most value from it, so it was fitting the first guest speaker was from Formula 1, who have seen explosive growth over the last few years and seemingly put some of that success down to Salesforce.

The hosts showcased the new Salesforce Genie and how it helps Formula 1 give increasingly meaningful customer experiences. It’s marketed as the first real-time CRM, connecting all of your customer data at scale, from any app, device or real time stream, harmonising your data into a single customer graph automatically. It essentially gives any department a full view of the customer they’re dealing with, in real-time, enabling them to deliver more personalised ads and experiences. In the case of Formula 1, they showcased the journey of a McLaren fan and how using data from many different sources, they could deliver a hyper-personalised VIP experience in the run up to, during and after race weekend.

Closing the digital skills gap

One thing that’s becoming increasingly clearer, is the need to bridge the digital skills gap. After the keynote, there was a great talk I attended where the VP of Trailhead and a regional VP in Customer Success were joined by a Senior Manager from Lloyds Bank and the Director of Learning and Development from Revolent. They discussed the increase in digital skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs, namely a 50% increase in demand for employees with digital skills. It’s estimated over 1 billion people will need to reskill globally by 2030 and around 133 million jobs will be created to meet the demands of industrial revolution.

Something Salesforce is hearing in Customer Success is, “we don’t have the people to build that.” This is hindering customers in getting the most out of Salesforce, so how do we look to the future and close the digital skills gap? In turn, helping us get the most value out of Salesforce along the way… Well, the discussion centred around building your people, employees you’ve already invested in, helping them grow within the ecosystem, filling skills gaps and driving retention through personal development, a win-win. Trailhead is obviously the champion here, it’s really something Salesforce can be so proud of, it’s a wealth of completely free resources to learn, grow, and master the platform, designed in a way that in all honesty… is pretty fun.

Personally, I use Trailhead, I started a couple of years ago not long after leaving my job as a heating engineer. It’s easy to pick up at any skill/experience level and I owe a lot to it. This talk did make me feel fairly lucky as I’m happy to say Instapro is definitely a company that invests in their people and drives personal development… Maybe we’re ahead of the game?

Scaling securely

Among the other talks I listened to, the last I’ll mention involved a guest speaker from DPD, their head of Salesforce. They discussed ‘scaling securely’ and how implementing a structured process in development/deployment enables the team to work efficiently and keep up with the increased demand. One particular aspect mentioned was the use of Sandboxes in development and testing, something I know many of us stick to but I’m also aware not everyone does… But, sticking to a proper process can drastically reduce errors in Production, which for some businesses is naturally imperative. Building and testing in Developer Orgs (copy of production with no data), moving to a Partial Org (copy of production with a % of record data) for further testing then finally moving to a Full copy of your org to help train teams without the fear of breaking anything. I’m sure anyone can see the value of sticking to such a process, less issues in production means less hassle for team Salesforce.

They rounded off the talk by touching on some security features, event tracking, field audit history and sensitive data encryption, all point click. But, the feature I like the most is Data Mask, a feature that enables you to secure sensitive data in your sandbox, ensuring only people who need to see such data, sees it. It offers different levels of masking based on the sensitivity and can delete sensitive data or replace it using similarly mapped words, random characters or pattern based masking. Once masked, the behaviour and characteristics will remain the same, allowing developers to work without blockers.

In conclusion

All in all a brilliant day with some really insightful talks and showcases of some great products, some we even use already… Yes, I saw you Natterbox. It really is a new day for businesses, but it certainly sounds like Salesforce can help us all continue to innovate fast and at low cost. Now, back to my pursuit of 2 Star Ranger!

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