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Dreamforce 18: Salesforce vaunts Apple partnership and 'Customer 360'

As Dreamforce 2018 gets underway in San Francisco, Salesforce trumpets a partnership with Apple, a customer 360 service, and an upgrade to its MuleSoft “Anypoint” platform

Salesforce announced a partnership with Apple on the eve of its annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco and, on the first day of the event, a technique for connecting Salesforce apps, dubbed “Customer 360”.

The supplier also announced, on the opening day, a release of the “Anypoint Platform” from MuleSoft, which Salesforce acquired in May 2018.

Indications at an eve-of-Dreamforce press briefing were that Marc Benioff, the supplier’s CEO, will be making a major theme of his keynote the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, as described by the World Economic Forum, as he did in 2017.

The arrangement with Apple will see new content on Salesforce’s online learning platform, Trailhead. The two suppliers will work together on a mobile software developer’s kit (SDK) for iOS to enable developers to build and deploy apps for iPhone and iPad on the Salesforce “Lightning” Platform.

Stephanie Buscemi, chief marketing officer at Salesforce, said: “Within the fourth industrial revolution, the pace of innovation is faster than ever before. This means we need to give new skills to people to build applications. The goal of this partnership is to enable developers to build amazing mobile experiences. By it we are enhancing our mobile app, and optimising it for Apple’s programming language. We are also optimising a new SDK.”

Meanwhile, Customer 360 is said to “help companies move beyond an app- or department-specific view of each customer by making it easier to create a single, holistic customer profile to inform every interaction”.

In a statement, Bret Taylor, president and chief product officer at Salesforce, said: “Customer 360 will make it easier for companies to bring service, commerce and marketing together to deliver the unified experiences their customers demand – with clicks, not code”.

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Features include a click-based user interface (UI) for app and data management. This UI is said to enable administrators “to establish trusted connections between apps, map and reconcile data across clouds, and create a data model that provides a single representation of data for all connected systems”.

In a statement in support, Sheryl Kingstone, research vice-president, Customer Experience & Commerce at 451 Research, said: “Connecting customer data across a large organisation can typically involve months of expensive development work, and often the final solution falls short of what was needed.

“Salesforce is hoping to change that with Customer 360, by making it possible for admins to connect internal customer data across the organisation. If done right, this could significantly reduce development costs, and help companies unlock and create new value from this unified customer data.”

And Salesforce customer Harvey Bierman, vice-president, Commerce Technology & Operations at foam clog company Crocs, said: “One of Crocs’ core values is ‘people-purposed design’, which not only applies to the products we make but also to the experiences we create for our customers. Salesforce has been a key partner in helping us create compelling customer experiences throughout our digital footprint.”

Machine-learning enhancement

In another development, Salesforce-acquired business MuleSoft announced a machine-learning enhancement of its “application network graph” system. In a statement the supplier said “any company can leverage machine learning, get real-time insights and apply advanced security through the application network graph embedded in Anypoint Platform”.

The graph system contains metadata of an application network, its components and its operational characteristics. Salesforce has made “MuleSoft Anypoint Platform” its integration offering, said a company spokesperson.

Vish Saoji, CTO, Sabre Corporation, a travel industry software provider, said: “Sabre solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hoteliers. MuleSoft helps us enhance the traveller experience and increase revenue opportunities for airlines.

“Our team is leveraging MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform to build an application network that will accelerate the delivery of innovative offerings like the Digital Airline Commercial Platform and more quickly bring end-to-end personalised retailing to consumers.

“With the application network graph embedded in the latest Anypoint Platform release, we’ll be able to gain new levels of visibility across our application network, allowing us to further scale, speed development, increase operational efficiency and ultimately enable the digital airline of the future.”

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