From cloud infrastructure and cloud applications to multi-cloud ecosystems, Indian enterprises’ cloud journey has seen tremendous disruptions. Today, organizations across all sectors get triggered - in a good away at the mention of automation, intelligent insights, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85 percent of CIOs will be piloting AI programs through a combination of buy, build and outsource. Though tech like AI and smart insights is not new, the enterprise fan base is exploding like never before. Enter born-in-cloud players like Salesforce, whose expertise involves storing large amounts of data and turning it into desired outcomes for the customer.
The idea behind Salesforce was to get rid of the complexity in enterprise applications, says Deepak Pargaonkar, senior director of solutions engineering at Salesforce India.
The CRM player has now added capabilities like AI, IoT and new applications to its comprehensive portfolio. As a multi-tenant cloud and CRM company, the most important thing for Salesforce is earning customer trust and creating value for every buck spent, he explains.
For Indian CIOs, the focal point is always pricing even when it comes to cloud. Is outcome and innovation only a global perspective or are Indian customers also eager to invest and overlook the buck part?
Let’s take an example of financial services. It’s seeing an entry of new lending players – people who have money and people who want to lend it. The greatest concern for such companies is customer experience and how to reduce turnaround time. And the Salesforce platform enables this by helping them expand digitally. Right from the entry point where customer enters details to the time when he gets the approval notification – it happens in less than a minute. It has a huge impact on scale, applications being processed and customer experience.
We have recently launched an offering for small businesses that are lean but heavy on innovation. It packages the same power that we provide to global companies, with AI capabilities baked in.
Today, digital engagement is the mantra for all. We have experienced great success in India across large segments – mid-market companies as well as SMBs. Obviously, customers look at cost before investing, but when they realize the impact, transformation becomes the deciding factor.
Do you think the Indian ecosystem is ready to implement AI in products? What is your GTM strategy when it comes to telling your customers how to implement AI into their own products?
AI need not always be something very different or intensive. When we talk about AI-readiness – it’s the ability to manage data, implement data algorithms to find patterns to ultimately execute the desired goal. Salesforce does all this heavy lifting for customers. Salesforce cloud already has the data, and with Einstein’s self-learning capabilities, it provides the power to manage large volumes of data to achieve desired results.
Businesses are being forced to disrupt themselves because of IT. What is your outlook on IT teams scaling themselves up to face challenges of automation, security etc.?
It’s very clear that CIOs have realized their role is not about keeping the lights on anymore. It’s not only about managing the existing capabilities but also innovating to create new. Imagine if the CIOs were delivering innovative solutions using new technology rather than thinking about constraining factors. Most CIOs are trying to align more and more with the business. Everything doesn’t happen overnight – but they have understood, embarked upon it and are changing the course.
What are the verticals you concentrate on when it comes to Einstein? And how different is the tech Salesforce uses inside Salesforce versus the tech you sell to customers?
Einstein as a capability is present in almost all verticals in the country and globally. However, what it does in each case is different. For an organization purely working on the lead and opportunity model, Einstein provides lead conversion, scoring and opportunity insights. Whereas in some other vertical, it could offer activity capture or forecasting for sales.
When it comes to tech inside the company – Salesforce runs on Salesforce. All business stakeholders – customer service, sales, leaders, or any other function run the business on our own solutions.