“Welcome to the internet of customers”: Salesforce’s Marc Benioff on five big tech trends

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Salesforce co-founder, chairman and chief executive, Marc Benioff says forget the internet of things, it’s all about the internet of customers.

Speaking at the Software as a Service company’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco today Benioff outlined the five technology trends he says are resulting in a new “incredibly connected customer”.

Benioff says these trends are creating a myriad of opportunities for businesses. “It’s the ability to look and analyse and have that one-and-one relationship with our customer, that’s possible in a way that has never before been possible,” he says.

The five trends identified by Benioff are:

 

1.  Cloud

Salesforce was one of the original Software as a Service businesses to utilise cloud technology but Benioff says the impact of the cloud continues to grow.

“It’s amazing what is happening with the cloud”, he says.

Salesforce is predicting a US$27O billion ($375 billion) market for cloud computing by 2020.

2.  Mobile

“It’s not just a cloud revolution, it’s also about a mobile revolution,” Benioff says.

 Salesforce predicts there will be 6 billion smartphones used globally by 2020.

“In every single one of our pockets we will have way more power than the computers that we saw in the main frame age,” he says.  

3.  Social

We are also in the midst of a “social revolution” according to Benioff.

“It was just a couple of weeks ago that we saw Facebook talking about they have over a billion users on their application in a single day,” he says.

“It’s a whole new style of working, it’s a whole new style of engagement”.  

Benioff predicts there will be 3 billion social media users globally by 2020. 

4.  Data science

The data science revolution is the “major revolution in changes in predictive analytics and machine learning and artificial learning,” according to Benioff.

He says businesses need to do more to harness available data, with 90% of the world’s data created in the last twelve months.

5.  Internet of Things

The Internet of Things revolution means everything is connected in the IoT, my car is connected my camera is connected,” Benioff says.

“Everything I am doing is now on the network. I’m more connected to the very people supporting me in my life, the people building products and services, than ever before.”

John Thompson, chairman of Microsoft, told Dreamforce, the IoT creates more opportunities for businesses.

“As we make this transition to an IoT based cloud, there is more and more data, so the opportunity for more and more services will become available,” he says.

Thompson says in the future you will get in your car and it will be able to tell you about your appointments for the day and the customers you will be meeting.

“The real opportunity ahead is to change the lives of people everywhere on the planet,” he says.

“We will make the ubiquity of computers available to everyone through mobile and cloud based services.”

The internet of customers

Because the IoT enables us to be more connected than ever before to the people supporting our lives, Benioff says the next revolution is the internet of customers.

“Welcome to the internet of customers, because behind every one of these things, behind my BMW, or my watch… is a customer,” he says.  

“It’s a world of mass customisation … but when I’m using anything on the IoT of course I expect a one-on-one high fidelity relationship.”

Benioff says this is a “big shift” from just a few years ago. 

Salesforce’s new products

Benioff unveiled three new Salesforce products at the Dreamforce conference including Salesforce IQ, Salesforce IoT Cloud, and Salesforce Lightning.

SalesforceIQ for Small Business connects Salesforce’s customer relationship management system to users emails, including Gmail and Hotmail, and calendars.

“Then we apply intelligence to it,” Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris says.  

Salesforce IQ suggested tasks function recommends specific actions to sales reps and the closest connections function identifies the best person in a company to provide the best introduction to a target contact or company.

Cara Waters travelled to San Francisco to attend Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.

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Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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