Although trimmed down to a single day, this year’s Salesforce.com conference, Cloudforce at the ExCel centre on Tuesday 7 April, was proved to be as interesting and vibrant as ever.
Salesforce had indicated over 3,5000 people had registered and given the very few spare seats available in the main auditorium for Marc Benioff’s keynote speech, it certainly appeared that most people attended.
The keynote was certainly one of Marc’s best and although some might consider his style a little evangelical for a UK & European audience, the Customer Service presentation was very powerful and convincing (which is the fourth video in the link, in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing, but would recommend you do watch this!)
At Capgemini, we have extensive experience working and configuring the RightNow solution and although we knew Salesforce.com had purchased InStranet last August, even Salesforce I think would admit, that there were stronger Customer Call Centre solutions on the market in 2008.
But did Tuesday change all that? The seamless integration of the Salesforce Call Centre solution with discussion groups and social communities like Twitter, Facebook and Google, has suddenly brought customers, partners and call centre staff together like never before. They can interact with each other in real-time, even join in online conversations and share knowledge like never before, delivering answers quickly from an almost limitless knowledge base. When you consider that the New York Times published an article on Twitter, which stated; “No other communications channel can match its capacity for real-time person-person broadcasting”. This capacity to reach and interact with your customers from your call centres anywhere in the world, is surely going to help companies retain and build customer loyalty.
Salesforce, like most other SaaS vendors release major product updates several times a year, so it is staggering to think, this is just the start. When you combine the ability for the solution to rapidly embrace and deploy new technologies, with the fact that Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant report for Customer Call Centre, now rates Salesforce as the lead visionary, can SAP, Oracle and other traditional packaged based solutions ever catch up again with likes of Salesforce.com? And will Tuesday’s announcement, at last move SaaS and Salesforce.com to a strategic provider of IT solutions to even the most conservative corporate organisations?
Calum Murray is Head of SaaS Practice at Capgemini UK