The future of Salesforce: 2018 predictions from the Ohana
By John Ross
As 2017 draws to a close, we’re already looking ahead to what the future has in store for Salesforce, its technology, and its people. What will customers be looking to harness from Salesforce in 2018? Which products will grow and innovate? And what will the working future be like for the Salesforce Ohana? Eight Salesforce experts share their thoughts.
Caio Sabra is a Salesforce specialist, speaker and blogger currently working as a Salesforce product owner in Brazil.
Sabra believes that with the launch of the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, more banks will start using the platform to manage their customers and get a 360 customer journey, increasing customer loyalty and minimizing internal silos.
“The new solution is great timing for the segment, with many customers seeking better experiences and more digital journeys, especially with the arrival of so many Fintechs in the global market in recent years,” he says. “You can also expect great news for Insurtechs next year.”
2018 promises to be a year of great partnerships and even more strategic acquisitions following the launch of Salesforce Ventures and the announcement of a partnership between Salesforce and IBM earlier this year.
“I can see companies like Amazon and Dell working on new solutions focused on customer service and innovation, as well as on the maturation of AI solutions such as Einstein, Machine Learning and IoT. Keep an eye on the AppExchange too.”
Shannon Zdanowicz is an experienced Administrator, Trailhead enthusiast, and Trailblazer for the Salesforce community — she currently works at ASM International.
Shannon and Salesforce had a lot in common during 2017. “I decided to invest in myself and made a lot of moves. The largest change was leaving my employer after almost 19 years and beginning a new journey working for a nonprofit,” says Shannon.
Salesforce also focused on ‘transition’ in 2017. The arrival of the first 100% Lightning release from Salesforce, Winter 18, reinforces Salesforce’s goal to deliver what companies need to move from Salesforce Classic to LEX (Lightning Experience).
“I’ve been waiting for LEX to include vital functionality needed for companies using Community Cloud and Service Cloud and those features are finally here.
“Salesforce has made a real investment in addressing LEX performance issues. I’m sure this investment will pay off in 2018 and the customers with large data sets that have maybe been peeking at LEX can now move forward with confidence.”
Cyril Louis is a Swiss-based Digital Marketing specialist with over a decade of experience in CRM.
As co-leader of the Geneva Salesforce User Group, Cyril works closely with his local Salesforce Ohana, and believes Salesforce will move into DSP (Demand-Side Platform) over the next twelve months. “As I’m a player, I’m happy to risk giving names for potential acquisition: what about MediaMath or Rocket Fuel?”
And with Salesforce Einstein celebrating its first birthday in September, you can’t look ahead to 2018 without placing your bets on artificial intelligence.
“I can imagine that within Marketing Cloud, Einstein could recommend segments for targeting through DMP. It could recommend keywords and pricing for programmatic ads and real-time biddings with DSP. You could then automate the bidding process based on maximum daily spends.”
“I think in 2018, Salesforce will add more features in Lightning Automation tools like Process Builders, FLOWS and Analytics,” says Abhilasha. “Salesforce Einstein will have a face recognition feature too.”
Going forward, Abhilasha believes Einstein will have a much bigger influence on Salesforce’s incredible learning platform, Trailhead.
“Right now, Trailhead has more than 300 badges,” she says. “In 2018 I can see Trailhead introducing more hands-on badges for Einstein and SalesforceDX to make Trailhead even more awesome. Salesforce is one of the most innovative companies in the world, so it’ll continue to advance Einstein and IoT.”
Ajomon Joseph is ‘Salesforce for Youth‘ Chairperson and a member of Dallas Developer User Group’s leadership team; the group has over 1,200 registered members. He blogs on the Salesforce website as well as his own site, Apex Coder.
Ajomon believes existing coders will be transitioning to Salesforce Lightning, and the number of people migrating from other platforms to Salesforce is set to grow massively to the market demand.
“There will be plenty of Salesforce jobs,” he says. “Salesforce Health Cloud, in particular, is expected to double its current market share.”
“Understanding the person behind the patient, providing care coordination and ongoing engagement on the path to better outcomes is the foundation of patient care. There’s no product better than Salesforce for this job, and the healthcare industry is slowly recognizing this fact. So I expect the Health Cloud market to pick up the pace in 2018.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is also gaining momentum as we head into 2018. “Commerce Cloud will unify the way businesses engage with customers over any channel or device,” says Ajomon. “I’m absolutely sure that Wave Analytics will continue its momentum into 2018 and beyond.”
As well as being a Salesforce Developer group leader, Abhi Tripathi is an active Salesforce blogger and social media contributor. Abhi tells us that Salesforce will keep on growing at the same pace in 2018, but in different directions.
“Personally, I think Salesforce will put more effort into Machine Learning, IoT, and AI Einstein. Einstein is going to take over the market in 2018.
“With advanced machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and smart data discovery, Einstein’s models will become much more powerful through upgrades of Salesforce releases in 2018.”
Abhi also believes Salesforce DX and Marketing Cloud have a bright future.
“SalesforceDX was launched this year and, and I couldn’t stop myself using it. The way developers are moving towards it, in 2018 it will be a required skill for Salesforce devs and will change development in Salesforce overall.
“The Marketing Cloud will grow twice as fast next year as it did this year. Salesforce Lightning will keep on becoming more stable, faster and more widely used as Salesforce releases will be majorly focused on making the lightning experience better for both users and developers.”
Mark Richards is the founder and CEO of makepositive, a platinum Salesforce consulting partner with over 120 Salesforce experts providing a wealth of knowledge to the business. He shares his thoughts on the future of Salesforce:
“In the Second Machine Age, an incredible look to the near future by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, a chapter is dedicated to the concept of Winner Takes All. The argument goes that in an environment with exponentially increasing technological gain allied to vast resources and a commitment to innovation, in each market, one winner will emerge. We see this with search; with Google, of course.
“My prediction for 2018 is that Salesforce will emerge as the winner-takes-all in the enterprise software market. I expect the gulf to widen between Salesforce and the rest, as their acquisitions really take hold and deliver even more growth. Expect more acquisitions — perhaps in surprising areas such as ERP and back office.
“The reasons for not choosing Salesforce as the platform for your business are fading as every day passes. All the talent — all the innovation, all the momentum — is with Salesforce. What an exciting place to be!”
“There’s no longer any sensible argument against the deployment of a CRM system within practically any enterprise, regardless of size or sector,” says Nadio. “A company with global reach, technical supremacy and a social conscience such as Salesforce is a force for good.
“As the marketing discipline becomes ever-more technical, Salesforce’s ability to provide a 360-degree customer view, from cradle to grave, will become increasingly accepted as the defacto requirement in any serious enterprise.
“If the adoption of innovation curve still applies, my prediction is that more NFP and public sector organizations employ Salesforce and benefit from the efficiencies that they so desperately require if they are to compete in an evermore technically competitive world.
“Specifically, I see the education sector following the commercial sector into a period of transformation and adoption as their absolute need for ultimate efficiency is matched by Salesforce’s commitment to Ohana.”
Do you have any Salesforce predictions for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments below.