The power of the Salesforce platform

This article was originally posted here: The Power of the Platform: How Partners Are Driving Salesforce Across the Extended Enterprise

In its nearly 20 years of existence, Salesforce has not veered off from its mission of being the leader in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Of course, the definition of CRM has expanded dramatically over two decades. It began as lead management/sales force automation, then expanded into customer service and marketing automation, then moved into B2B, B2C, and B2B2C e-commerce.

“What is the white space between CRM and ERP?”

An executive at a well-known industrial company asked me that question at a recent Salesforce CIO Advisory Board meeting. He pointed to some of the major enhancements made since he became a customer: Sales Cloud added configuration, pricing and quoting (CPQ) features for salespeople. Service Cloud expanded into field service with scheduling and dispatching. Marketing Cloud moved into 1:1 marketing with a new data management platform. Commerce Cloud developed new capabilities for order management and fulfillment.

Meanwhile, customers began requesting new features to better meet some of the challenges and opportunities inside their specific verticals. Boom. A Health Cloud and a Wealth Management Cloud were born. Partners like Vlocity leveraged the Salesforce platform to create industry versions for Communications and Media, Insurance and Financial Services, Health Insurance, Public Sector, and Energy and Utilities.

Focus on CRM or target the broader enterprise?

Salesforce grew to $10.48B in annual revenue in FY18 (year ended January 31) based nearly 100% on CRM. Gartner predicts very strong growth for 2018: “CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and be the fastest growing software market with a growth rate of 16 percent.”

With so much market available, there’s no need for Salesforce to move into other markets like ERP, supply chain management, or product lifecycle management…except that some customers are asking for help in these markets.

That’s where the Salesforce Platform comes in.

Barkawi: The First Supply Chain Control Tower on the Salesforce Platform

There are a lot of supply chain initiatives underway using Salesforce technology. If you look at the five key business processes that are part of the Supply Chain Council’s SCOR model — Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, and Returns, there are customers in each chevron.

Of those processes, the Plan function may have been the least represented. Partners like Steelwedge (now part of E2open) have built a bridge to Sales Cloud to pull sales opportunities/pipeline data into Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) so as to get a better view of demand. o9 Solutions is also adding pipe info to S&OP and has also added Available-to-Promise capabilities in Sales Cloud.

Barkawi may have the most ambitious planning project underway. Founded in Munich in 1994, Barkawi Management Consultants has successfully completed supply chain projects for some of the world’s best-known companies in High Tech/Communications, Consumer Durables, Energy, Aerospace & Heavy Equipment, Healthcare & Pharma, Automotive, and Food & Consumer Goods.

While most of the work has been in consulting and implementation services, the company recently built its first application — a supply chain control tower. An early customer is one of the U.S.’s largest quick-serve restaurant chains.

According to Mike Landry, president, Barkawi North America, the customer was looking for a solution to help manage inventory, orders, and shipment status. The new control tower provides visibility into stocked items, inventory levels, orders, stocking locations, SKUs, and other elements. It includes automatically-generated alerts when thresholds or dates are exceeded as well as a dashboard with relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

While Mike has a lot of supply chain experience having started his own software company — Servigistics — back in 1999, this was his first time working with the Salesforce platform. In 2017, Barkawi launched a new software company with this vision called ketteQ, which is led by its CEO, Cy Smith. ketteQ, a Demand Optimization Platform, provides functionality to align the sales and marketing, supply chain, and finance organizations with AI and a suite of tools that allow each profession to see how their actions and decisions will affect customers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders throughout the ecosystem.

“Extending the platform to link demand and supply can be a game changer for demand sensing, demand shaping and supply management with end-to-end visibility.”

As to “Why Salesforce,” Mike replied that “The Salesforce development environment enabled the vision to come to life much faster than traditional options. The current footprint used at so many companies offers big deployment and value advantages since Salesforce offers great insights and synergy for predicting demand. Extending the platform to link demand and supply can be a game changer for demand sensing, demand shaping and supply management with end-to-end visibility.”

(Note: On July 18th, Genpact announced that it was acquiring Barkawi Management Consultants. It also said that Mike Landry will lead the integrated Genpact global supply chain business.)

Propel: The First and Only Integrated PLM, PIM and QMS App on the Salesforce Platform

Ray Hein started Propel three years ago with the vision of expanding traditional Product Lifecycle Management (or PLM) to help companies launch more successful products by spanning the whole lifecycle — from concept to customer.

He is a cloud application veteran with 20+ years of PLM, development and product launch experience in both hardware and enterprise software organizations. Prior to starting Propel, Ray held senior executive positions at leading Bay Area companies, including nearly 10 years running product strategy and product management at Agile Software and then 2 years with Apttus where he learned about the amazing capabilities of the Salesforce platform.

When asked “Why Salesforce,” Ray said: “Two reasons: First, we’ve been able to leverage the best business cloud platform to quickly build the key PLM capabilities that Agile and other PLM vendors have. It took us 2–3 years to do what it took them 8–10 years to do.

“Second, to launch successful products everyone in the company needs to work collaboratively across the organization. Propel brings design and engineering together with the sales and services teams — with a ‘whole office’ and intelligence platform that old legacy PLM systems just can’t do. The cloud and the Salesforce platform is a game changer.

“Unlike other PLM solutions, Salesforce’s flexibility can help our customers easily model any of their product data and business processes. The security, reliability, and collaboration that’s built in the Salesforce platform make it easy for them to share data with anyone, any time on any device. What’s really amazing to them is our ability to rapidly deliver new features and enhancements — and it’s all because of the platform.”

Like the developers of the SCOR model, Ray also thinks in terms of process. In his case — Design, Make, Market, Sell, and Service. Propel manages the Design and Make processes and can manage all the product information and changes that happen inside Salesforce for the classic CRM and Commerce applications. The goal is to have a tight link between product design and any new, emerging product requirements and/or quality issue to speed up response times.

This is also why Propel has combined PLM, Product Information Management (PIM), and Quality Management Systems (QMS) across all these processes. With Propel on Salesforce, teams see where products are in every step of the process. This holistic and transparent view gets better products to customers and consumers faster.

Like his Rootstock and Barkawi counterparts, Propel adds a lot of new first time users to Salesforce. In this case, it’s from engineering, product management, quality, and other groups. In many cases, Propel is the first Salesforce app implemented and creates demand for platform sales, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and now Commerce Cloud through tight connections to CPQ and e-Commerce with their PIM offerings.

While Propel has a lot of interesting use cases for Industrial Manufacturing, High Tech, Consumer Goods, and Medical Device customers, Ray is teaming on a very cool project with a leading 3D printing company and a cloud-based MCAD vendor that involves medical devices and prosthetics.

Propel is the hub that allows the three vendors to feed data to and from the Salesforce Health Cloud. Part of the motivation came from the challenges that the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing had ordering and adjusting to new prosthetics. This is a real-world example of Industry 4.0 being implemented to solve new problems in a collaborative manner.

Propel has a lot of runway for future growth and is leading the transformation of how people are driving digital transformation around their new product introduction processes. By combining PLM+PIM+QMS in the cloud, diverse teams work together, products iterate faster, decisions are made with more real-time data such customer feedback, and the result is a higher quality product built with more empathy for end-users. The result: Easy collaboration between all stakeholders.

Propel is also targeting the legacy Agile base. Now part of Oracle, the database company has lagged in bringing Agile to the cloud.

Focus on CRM or target the broader enterprise? The answer is both!

A common refrain from Salesforce customers is “Come for the cloud, stay for the platform.” Translated, this means that while they may first contact Salesforce for help improving sales or marketing or customer service, they quickly discovered the power of the platform.

While Salesforce will remain laser-focused on improving the customer experience, the company will continue to add software and service partners to the Salesforce AppExchange that extends the reach from the front to the back office to what Ray referred to as “the whole office.”

While we focused on three platform partners today, there are over 3,000 apps in the AppExchange. This is a great place to start if you are looking for new enterprise apps for ERP, financials, transportation management, supplier management, project management, asset management, forecasting and demand planning, as well as more vertical solutions and CRM add-ons.

See how your business can leverage Salesforce and ketteQ to take control of your supply chain.

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