Tag Archives: Salesforce

Salesforce adds new features to Trailhead Live and Go mobile app

Salesforce has added two new features to both Trailhead Live and the Trailhead Go mobile app, making it easier to connect with other users and learn on the go.

Trailhead Live, which features training sessions about Salesforce-related topics with instructors in real time, now includes expert-led Q&As during live broadcasts, enabling viewers to ask instructors questions during sessions. Sessions can also now include live chat capabilities, giving viewers the opportunity to speak with one another. Live is no longer only available to desktop users; it is also available on the Trailhead Go mobile app.

“While it’s great to follow a recorded video, the reality is that at some point you want to be able to interact in real time with a trainer,” said Nicole France, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Live training sessions — even virtual ones — are the only way to do that.”

Learning on the go

Live was one of the most requested Trailhead features on both the mobile app and desktop site, said Amber Boaz, a Salesforce MVP and Salesforce solution architect at Rapid7.

“Lots of users learn in different ways, and Trailhead Live fills a hole in Trailhead functionality,” Boaz said.

Trailhead is Salesforce’s free customer success learning platform, enabling both users and nonusers to gain skills in the CRM giant’s systems.

Greg Grothaus, a Salesforce administrator at Cloud Pathfinder and a platform app builder, has logged 20 to 30 hours on Trailhead Go since its launch at Dreamforce 2019, and three to five hours with Trailhead Live. For the most part, he finds the app helpful when he doesn’t have access to his laptop or a full web browser and is a way to fill his time when he has a few minutes to spare.

In the old days when we had downtime during a commute, we would listen to audiobooks. Now we can get job skills, for free.
Greg GrothausSalesforce administrator, Cloud Pathfinder

“In the old days when we had downtime during a commute, we would listen to audiobooks,” he said. “Now we can get job skills, for free.”

Grothaus is currently working toward his third Salesforce certification — Sales Cloud consultant. This is the fourth most-sought certification after administrator, platform app builder and platform developer I, according to the Mason Frank Salary Survey 2019/2020. The survey also showed that 94% of survey respondents use the Salesforce training tool.

Boaz also uses the Go app in her spare time, in place of mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or playing Candy Crush.

“Hour for hour though, I do more Trailhead on my laptop than my phone,” she said.

Trailhead Go shortcomings

While the Trailhead Go mobile app makes it convenient for Salesforce users to study for certifications and learn more about the product, it is not a replacement for the desktop site.

Trailhead Go screenshot
This personalized homepage on the Trailhead Go app provides a link to Trailhead Live materials.

Trailhead Go users are able to do the reading portions of training modules from the app, but when they need to do any hands-on work in a sandbox, the app asks users to open a Salesforce training environment, moving them from the app to the full website version of Trailhead.

“To do the work in the sandbox, you really need a mouse and a keyboard,” Grothaus said.

Trailhead Go is currently only available for iOS, while the full site is available on any device.

The reason for an iOS-only mobile app is that a high proportion of the Trailhead audience is likely on some form of iOS device, France said.

“Nevertheless, Salesforce is definitely missing a trick in not making it available to Android users as well,” she said.

Trailhead users who want to take advantage of real-time broadcasts can view the schedule in advance on the Trailhead Live webpage.

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Salesforce Trailblazer community must keep pace to fuel growth

Salesforce customers need help to use Salesforce. It takes self-trained, motivated admins, developers and consultants to plug the Salesforce platform into a company’s operations. If it’s a successful implementation, it takes even more talent to scale up as the Salesforce customer’s business grows.

On its present growth trajectory in the wake of acquiring Tableau and MuleSoft, Salesforce will need to persuade triple the current number of these independent experts to join its tribe in the next decade. The number could end up being even higher, considering Salesforce customers like Heidi Melin, CMO of cloud office collaboration and project management provider Workfront, say they already see Salesforce admins and developers in short supply.

 “Salesforce is at a place from a scale and a breadth perspective that they should — and probably are — turning up their Trailblazer efforts,” said Melin, who added that many cloud software companies, including Workfront, need more skilled ambassadors to integrate their applications into their customers’ workflow to enable success. “The more people that are trained and are ready to use Salesforce, the higher propensity to influence their customers’ technology choices.”

To help develop the talent pool, Salesforce launched Trailhead, a free training site with an outdoorsy theme that includes a gamification element to mark learners’ progress. A Salesforce Trailblazer, or trainee, will then earn credentials called “badges” and gain skills following guided training paths. Trailblazers earn “superbadges” to show advanced competencies in areas such as app development, data management and Salesforce administration, as well as AI and analytics capabilities.

“This is part of the brilliance of Salesforce, building and continuing to curate this massive community of people — most of whom are not, and have never been — employed by Salesforce but are activists and fanatical fans out there,” said Constellation Research analyst Nicole France. “They’re involved on a daily basis using and shaping Salesforce systems.”

The genesis of Salesforce Trailblazers

Considering Salesforce just passed its 20th anniversary, Trailhead is relatively new, given that it debuted in 2014. New training videos and a mobile app were among the upgrades highlighted at its Dreamforce conference last month.

Sarah Franklin, executive vice president and general manager of platform, Trailhead and developers at Salesforce, helped create Trailhead from scratch. The idea, she said, was to make the training accessible and consumable by anyone, anywhere. That requires plain language, free of jargon, as well as making content renderable for people with disabilities. She said she wants everyone who wants to be a Salesforce Trailblazer — Salesforce’s word for customers and Trailhead learners — to join the community.

“There’s a bunch of generic words names in the industry — citizen developers, champions,” Franklin said, adding that Salesforce wanted to create a Trailhead culture where the people earning the badges were being celebrated, not Salesforce itself. She had to convince Benioff to use that particular word, Trailblazer, which is now emblazoned in white script lettering on black hoodies ubiquitous at Salesforce user gatherings.

We wanted to give our community an identity that they can relate to, and that they own.
Sarah Franklin Executive vice president and general manager of platform, Trailhead and developers at Salesforce

“The hoodie is symbolic. What is written is not ‘Trailhead.’ It’s not ‘Salesforce.’ We did not take a Salesforce logo and plaster it on their chest,” Franklin said. “We wanted to give our community an identity that they can relate to, and that they own.”

More than 1.7 million Salesforce Trailblazers have earned more than 17.5 million badges, according to the company, with 25% of Trailhead users indicating in a recent IDC report that a badge earned them a new job. Career site Indeed.com said job postings for Salesforce developers increased 129% from 2018 to 2019.

Salesforce Trailblazer roadmap: No-cost bachelor’s degrees

Over the next decade, Franklin’s setting her sights on making Trailhead a venue where users can earn a free bachelor’s degree. It must be fully accredited, she said, because accreditation is “the one thing employers have from our government to filter out applicants from skilled labor positions.”

If her team’s successful in doing that, it will give Trailhead a flashy tool to recruit more admins and developers to keep up with market demand and help lay a foundation for the future of Salesforce.

Another part of Franklin’s Trailhead strategy is to focus on diversity and inclusivity, and to find people ripe for job retraining such as recently discharged military veterans re-entering the civilian world.

 Salesforce Trailblazer Sheldon Simmons
U.S. Navy veteran and Texas Salesforce consultant Sheldon Simmons, pictured here at Dreamforce 2019 with co-CEO Keith Block, forged a post-military tech career by taking free Trailhead courses.

That was the case for Sheldon Simmons, a Navy boatswain’s mate who fueled aircraft for eight years and bounced around the Austin, Texas, region after discharge. Working at a semiconductor plant and living part-time in his car, he took a Java course at a community college, which didn’t pan out to a job as he’d hoped. After that, a representative from the Merivis Foundation, a group that connects military veterans with Salesforce employment, introduced Simmons to Trailhead.

Five Trailhead badges later, Simmons is a Salesforce consultant with three years’ experience under his belt. Last month, Salesforce featured Simmons in a Dreamforce keynote with Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block.

“My [Navy] job wasn’t technical, so when I got out of the service, no one was going to hire me as a gas man,” said Simmons, who now recruits fellow veterans for Salesforce Trailblazer training as a Merivis Foundation board member. He said he believes vets bring attitude and perspective that is conducive to success working on Salesforce teams.

“Sometimes I hear people complain about stuff, and I’m like, ‘Man, at least we get to go home, at least we’re not sleeping on a helicopter in 120-degree weather,'” Simmons said. “I remember those times and what I would give to be sitting in an office right now. There’s nothing that’s going to rattle me, and the work isn’t going to be too much.”

This is the second of two parts on how Salesforce can serve its customers while chasing ambitious growth. Read the first part here.

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Salesforce Trailhead app makes learning more convenient

SAN FRANCISCO — Salesforce customers see the value in the Trailhead learning platform and its new mobile app.

Trailhead Go for iOS is one of two new mobile apps that Salesforce announced here at Dreamforce 2019. Trailhead Go is a mobile extension of Trailhead, Salesforce’s free customer success learning platform enabling Salesforce users and nonusers to follow different paths to learn Salesforce skills. It now also offers Amazon Partner Connect to learn how to build Amazon Alexa skills and AWS. By the end of the year, Trailhead plans to roll out live and on-demand training videos.

Salesforce provides customer success tools to users before they even become customers. For most businesses, this model is flipped, providing these tools to users after they sign contracts, said Gerry Murray, a research director at IDC.

“It’s not only about how the product works, it’s about teaching the line- of-business people to elevate their skills or further their careers in and out of their companies,” Murray said. “Trailhead Go makes it all that more convenient.”

Making education accessible

A skills gap costs companies $1.3 trillion each year, said Sarah Franklin, general manager of Trailhead, in a keynote. While many workers think they can fill that gap with education, it has become more and more inaccessible. Over the last 20 years, student tuition has increased by 200%, and student debt has increased by 163%.

Anyone who has access to the Trailhead Go app can learn, said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder at Constellation Research.

“You don’t have to go to school; you don’t need a computer; you just need a phone,” he said.

Customers see benefits

Trailhead Go app screenshot
This personalized homepage of the Trailhead Go app shows what trails a user is working on with a quick navigation bar at the bottom.

Supermums, based in London, equips moms with Salesforce skills through a combination of training, mentoring, work experience and job search support to get them into the Salesforce ecosystem. Trainees go through a customized six-month program where they earn 50 to 100 Trailhead badges. Trainees can benefit from the Trailhead app because they’ll be able to learn on the go, making it easier to fit into their schedules, said Heather Black, a certified Salesforce administrator and CEO of Supermums.

“[Trailhead Go] will help me complete more trails and fit it into my life while I’m busy supporting a team and juggling kids,” she said. “Trailhead Go makes this accessible to more people.”

Trailhead has also branched out beyond technical skills and into functional skills, Black said.

“It helps you develop as a person, as well as help you be successful in a Salesforce career,” she said.

Trailhead is great for helping learn the basics when people are entering the CRM world, said Sayantani Mitra, a data scientist at Goby Inc., a company that specializes in accounts payable automation.

“Read them, learn them, ask the community, ask people questions, do them multiple times,” Mitra said.

The best way to learn anything is practice, practice and practice more.
Sayantani MitraData scientist, Goby

But just getting a Salesforce certification won’t get someone a job, Mitra said. They have to know what they’re doing.

“The best way to learn anything is practice, practice and practice more,” Mitra said.

Mitra plans to use the Trailhead Go app particularly on long-haul flights.

“When I go home to India … you cannot watch movies for 20 hours or sleep for 20 hours; you need something more,” she said.

Trailhead Go is generally available now for free on the Apple App Store.

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Odaseva introduces high availability for Salesforce

Salesforce users will be able to continue to work even if Salesforce goes down, thanks to Odaseva’s new addition.

Odaseva ultra high availability (UHA) works similarly to high availability (HA) for any non-SaaS environment. If there’s a Salesforce outage, such as a planned maintenance or an unexpected failure, a customer’s Salesforce account would failover to an emulated Salesforce account in Odaseva. Users can continue to view, edit and update the emulated records like normal. When Salesforce is back up, Odaseva will re-synchronize the two environments, performing what is essentially a failback.

Odaseva UHA is in early access and will be released as an add-on to the Odaseva platform in early 2020. Pricing is not yet available.

Salesforce has become so mission-critical to some organizations that they can’t afford any downtime. Odaseva CEO Sovan Bin said Odaseva UHA isn’t strictly necessary for smaller businesses that can shrug off a small Salesforce outage, but there are places such as call centers that need Salesforce access 100% of the time. These organizations stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars for every hour they can’t conduct business, while suffering from lost opportunities and damage to their brand.

“The real damage is because you’ve stopped doing business,” Bin said.

Odaseva provides backup and data governance for Salesforce data. Developed by Salesforce certified technical architects — the highest Salesforce expertise credential — Odaseva Data Governance Cloud offers archiving and automated data compliance on top of data protection features. Odaseva claims its compliance and data governance tools differentiate it from Salesforce backup competitors such as OwnBackup and Spanning.

Data protection and backup only address the integrity of data, but HA addresses its availability and accessibility. Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at IT analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), said HA is lacking for SaaS application data. He said he didn’t know any other vendor with a similar product or feature.

“Not only is it unique, other vendors aren’t even exploring HA for Salesforce,” Bertrand said.

Bertrand added that other SaaS applications such as Office 365, Box and ServiceNow also have an availability gap, even as they become mission-critical to businesses. When these services go down, companies may have to stop working. Bertrand estimated the cost of downtime averages to higher than $300,000 per hour for most enterprises. Although many vendors provide backup, no one has yet provided a failover/failback offering.

“Ninety-nine-point-whatever percent uptime is not enough. That’s still 15 hours of downtime per year,” Bertrand said.

Screenshot of Odaseva UHA interface
Odaseva UHA users can continue making changes to Salesforce records even if Salesforce is offline.

Odaseva also introduced some new capabilities to its platform this week. It is now integrated with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which allows users to back up emails, leads, contact information and marketing campaign files stored in Marketing Cloud. Before this integration, customers would have to develop a backup mechanism for Marketing Cloud themselves, which would include complex processes of extracting the data and replicating it.

Odaseva also extended its compliance automation applications to cover more than GDPR. Odaseva has data privacy applications that automatically perform anonymization, right of access, right of erasure and other privacy tasks in order to keep compliant with GDPR. Automated compliance now covers CCPA, HIPAA and a number of privacy regulations in non-U.S. countries such as PIPA (Japan), PIPEDA (Canada) and POPIA (South Africa).

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration and compliance automation extensions are available immediately.

Bin said Odaseva will focus on DevOps next. Salesforce Full Sandbox environments can be natively refreshed every 29 days. To help customers accelerate development, Bin said Odaseva will come up with a way to work around that limit and enable more frequent refreshes in a future release.

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Salesforce mobile app, Trailhead Go rebuilt for iOS

SAN FRANCISCO — Salesforce debuted new iOS apps today, including a long-overdue Salesforce mobile app makeover and the first mobile Trailhead learning app, Trailhead Go. Salesforce also updated its iOS mobile SDK for third-party app developers to take advantage of Swift, an Apple coding language.

The Apple focus continues from Dreamforce 2018. Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to join Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on stage for a fireside chat Tuesday at Dreamforce. The fresh iOS apps push is Salesforce’s response to more and more customers doing work on iPhones and iPads, said Constellation Research analyst Nicole France. Making better iOS apps is no longer a nice-to-have, but a got-to-have.

Previously, the Salesforce Mobile app could be described essentially as a click-intensive, sometimes slower desktop version of Salesforce shoehorned into a phone-app interface, analysts and users said. The new version will offer iOS-specific features and changes to the user interface.

Front-line salespeople can add more CRM data

Salesforce’s new focus is on making its interface friendlier to the front-line salespeople who use it all day, France said. Previous versions looked more manager-centric, with more focus on dashboarding sales-team data at a glance.

If Salesforce Mobile isn’t as easy and simple to use as other iPhone apps, people are disinclined to use it effectively — or at all.
Nicole FranceAnalyst, Constellation Research

She added that, like many SaaS vendors currently re-evaluating the look and feel of their platforms, Salesforce’s new interface philosophy shows that it had focused too much on making the app attractive to buyers, not users. Reducing clicks for front-line salespeople will make them more inclined to enter the data that their managers need into the app.

“It’s what we’ve all come to expect in our lives as consumers, and frankly if Salesforce Mobile isn’t as easy and simple to use as other iPhone apps, people are disinclined to use it effectively — or at all,” France said. “Even in a business context.”

Trailhead Go embraces a new generation

Making the first Salesforce Trailhead mobile app, Trailhead Go, usable on phones and tablets can only enhance its function as a recruiting tool for Salesforce admins and developers, France said. While Generation Xers and older Salesforce users might not see the value of consuming sometimes-technical Salesforce learning content ported to phone and tablet interfaces, younger audiences will.

Salesforce Mobile app screenshot
The Salesforce Mobile app now connects Apple Siri and Einstein AI.

The free Trailhead app works well to develop needed experts for Salesforce customers like Workfront, a SaaS project management and employee collaboration platform. Heidi Melin, chief marketing officer at Workfront, said she sees the mobile version as a way to keep that pipeline of new experts flowing.

“They’re training a future generation how to leverage Salesforce,” Melin said. “That’s how you know when an application platform has scale, when you start to see the need for [the Salesforce] skill set in the marketplace. That’s huge.”

Melin said she is also looking forward to seeing more Salesforce mobile app integrations with partners like Totango, which retrieves CRM data for a particular Workfront customer and summarizes it in Slack. Melin uses those tools to get a quick snapshot of an account’s health and renewal date, and to do it without logging into Salesforce’s desktop or mobile apps, she said.

Also announced with the made-over Salesforce Mobile and new Trailhead Go are updates to the iOS mobile app-development SDK introduced earlier this year. Optimized for Swift, an Apple coding language growing in popularity with iOS app builders, the SDK will help developers create apps that better take advantage of iOS features and its interface.

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Salesforce acquisition of Tableau finally getting real

LAS VEGAS — It’s been more than five months since the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau was first revealed, but it’s been five months of waiting.

Even after the deal closed on Aug. 1, a regulatory review in the United Kingdom about how the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau might affect competition held up the integration of the two companies.

In fact, it wasn’t until last week on Nov. 5 after the go-ahead from the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) — exactly a week before the start of Tableau Conference 2019, the vendor’s annual user conference — that Salesforce and Tableau were even allowed to start speaking with each other. Salesforce’s big Dreamforce 2019 conference is Nov. 19-22.

Meanwhile, Tableau didn’t just stop what it was doing. The analytics and business intelligence software vendor continued to introduce new products and update existing ones. Just before Tableau Conference 2019, it rolled out a series of new tools and product upgrades.

Perhaps most importantly, Tableau revealed an enhanced partnership agreement with Amazon Web Services entitled Modern Cloud Analytics that will help Tableau’s many on-premises users migrate to the cloud.

Andrew Beers, Tableau’s chief technology officer, discussed the recent swirl of events in a two-part Q&A.

In Part I, Beers reflected on Tableau’s product news, much of it centered on new data management capabilities and enhanced augmented intelligence powers. In Part II, he discusses the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau and what the future might look like now that the $15.7 billion purchase is no longer on hold.

Will the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau change Tableau in any way?

Andrew Beers: It would be naïve to assume that it wouldn’t. We are super excited about the acceleration that it’s going to offer us, both in terms of the customers we’re talking to and the technology that we have access to. There are a lot of opportunities for us to accelerate, and as [Salesforce CEO] Marc Benioff was saying [during the keynote speech] on Wednesday, the cultures of the two companies are really aligned, the vision about the future is really aligned, so I think overall it’s going to mean analytics inside businesses is just going to move faster.

Technologically speaking, are there any specific ways the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau might accelerate Tableau’s capabilities?

Andrew BeersAndrew Beers

Beers: It’s hard to say right now. Just last week the CMA [order] was lifted. There was a big cheer, and then everyone said, ‘But wait, we have two conferences to put on.’

Have you had any strategic conversations with Salesforce in just the week or so since regulatory restrictions were lifted, even though Tableau Conference 2019 is this week and Salesforce Dreamforce 2019 is next week?

Beers: Oh sure, and a lot of it has been about the conferences of course, but there’s been some early planning on how to take some steps together. But it’s still super early.

Users, of course, fear somewhat that what they love about Tableau might get lost as a result of the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau. What can you say to alleviate their worries?

Beers: The community that Tableau has built, and the community that Salesforce has built, they’re both these really excited and empowered communities, and that goes back to the cultural alignment of the companies. As a member of the Tableau community, I would encourage people to be excited. To have two companies come together that have similar views on the importance of the community, the product line, the ecosystem that the company is trying to create, it’s exciting.

Is the long-term plan — the long-term expectation — for Tableau to remain autonomous under Salesforce?

We’ve gone into this saying that Tableau is going to continue to operate as Tableau, but long-term, I can’t answer that question. It’s really hard for anyone to say.
Andrew BeersChief technology officer, Tableau

Beers: We’ve gone into this saying that Tableau is going to continue to operate as Tableau, but long-term, I can’t answer that question. It’s really hard for anyone to say.

From a technological perspective, as a technology officer, what about the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau excites you — what are some things that Salesforce does that you can’t wait to get access to?

Beers: Salesforce spent the past 10 or so years changing into a different company, and I’m not sure a lot of people noticed. They went from being a CRM company to being this digital-suite-for-the-enterprise company, so they’ve got a lot of interesting technology. Just thinking of analytics, they’ve built some cool stuff with Einstein. What does that mean when you bring it into the Tableau environment? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. They’ve got some interesting tools that hold their hold ecosystem together, and I’m interested in what that means for analysts and for Tableau. I think there are a lot of exciting technology topics ahead of us.

What about conversations you might have with Salesforce technology officers, learning from one another. Is that exciting?

Beers: It’s definitely exciting. They’ve been around — a lot of that team has different experience than us. They’re experienced technology leaders in this space and I’m definitely looking forward to learning from their wisdom. They have a whole research group that’s dedicated to some of their longer term ideas, so I’m looking forward to learning from them.

You mentioned Einstein Analytics — do Tableau and Einstein conflict? Are they at odds in any way, or do they meld in a good way?

Beers: It’s still early days, but I think you’re going to find that they’re going to meld in a good way.

What else can you tell the Tableau community about what the future holds after the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau?

Beers: We’re going to keep focused on what we’ve been focusing on for a long time. We’re here to bring interesting innovations to market to help people work with their data, and that’s something that’s going to continue. You heard Marc Benioff and [Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky] talk about their excitement around that [during a conference keynote]. Our identity as a product and innovation company doesn’t change, it just gets juiced by this. We’re ready to go — after the conferences are done.

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Microsoft and Salesforce expand strategic partnership to accelerate customer success

Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for Salesforce Marketing Cloud to help customers scale and grow; new integration between Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds with Microsoft Teams will boost productivity

REDMOND, Wash., and SAN FRANCISCO — Nov. 14, 2019 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) on Thursday announced plans to expand their strategic partnership to help customers meet the evolving needs of their businesses and boost team productivity. Salesforce has named Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Salesforce will also build a new integration that connects Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud with Microsoft Teams.

Salesforce and Microsoft logos
“At Salesforce, we’re relentlessly focused on driving trust and success for our customers,” said Marc Benioff and Keith Block, co-CEOs, Salesforce. “We’re excited to expand our partnership with Microsoft and bring together the leading CRM with Azure and Teams to deliver incredible customer experiences.”

“In a world where every company is becoming a digital company, we want to enable every customer and partner to build experiences on our leading platforms,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “By bringing together the power of Azure and Microsoft Teams with Salesforce, our aim is to help businesses harness the power of the Microsoft Cloud to better serve customers.”

Comments on the news

“Marriott has more than 7,200 properties spanning 134 countries and territories, so driving efficiency and collaboration is critical,” said Brian King, global officer, Digital, Distribution, Revenue Strategy, and Global Sales, Marriott International. “The combination of Salesforce and Microsoft enables our teams to work better together to enhance the guest experience at every touchpoint.”

“With 400 brands and teams in 190 countries, we are always looking for ways to scale more efficiently and strengthen collaboration,” said Jane Moran, chief technology advisor, Unilever. “The powerful combination of Salesforce and Microsoft enables us to be more productive and connect with each other and our customers like never before.”

Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for marketing cloud

With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, marketers are empowered to know their customers, personalize marketing with Einstein, engage with them across any channel, and analyze the impact to improve campaign performance. Bringing its Marketing Cloud workload to Azure, Salesforce joins the over 95% of Fortune 500 companies benefitting from an Azure infrastructure offering the most global regions of any cloud provider.

Through this partnership, Salesforce will move its Marketing Cloud to Azure — unlocking new growth opportunities for customers. By moving to Azure, Salesforce will be able to optimize Marketing Cloud’s performance as customer demand scales. This will reduce customer onboarding times and enable customers to expand globally more quickly with Azure’s global footprint and help address local data security, privacy and compliance requirements.

​Salesforce and Microsoft Teams integration will boost productivity

​As teamwork becomes a driving force in the workplace, people want to bring workflows and frequently used apps into their collaboration workspace environments. Sales and customer service are highly collaborative, team-centric functions, and many companies actively use both Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Teams. As part of this agreement, Salesforce will build a new integration that give sales and service users the ability to search, view, and share Salesforce records directly within Teams. The new Teams integration for Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds will be made available in late 2020.

Building on a commitment to customer success

These new integrations will build on existing solutions that enable mutual customers to be more productive, including the hundreds of thousands of monthly active users using Salesforce’s Microsoft Outlook integration to create, communicate and collaborate.

​About Salesforce​

Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, voice and blockchain—to create a 360° view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Stephanie Barnes, Salesforce PR, (415) 722-0883, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Salesforce Trailhead to roll out live training videos

Salesforce is promoting customer success by rolling out two new Trailhead features that will be available by the end of this year.

Salesforce will introduce live video trainings on Trailhead Live and new features to Trailblazer.me, the online resume feature designed to help job-seekers show off their skills and accomplishments using Trailhead.

Trailblazer.me already features badges and certifications achieved using Trailhead. The new version will also highlight a person’s activity throughout the Salesforce ecosystem, such as contributions to user groups, what apps users download from the Salesforce AppExchange and reviews that users have posted.

Trailblazer.me should help employers that want to be able to quantify whether job applicants have the skills they say they have, said Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research.

“People used to be able to just say, ‘I know Salesforce,’ on their resume,” Lopez said. “I think one of the hardest things for employers is to understand whether anyone they hire is actually qualified in the things they say they are qualified in.”

Trailhead Live brings video instruction

Trailhead Live offers a new way for Salesforce users to learn with additional elements of community. Like other Trailhead courses, Trailhead Live courses are free.

The initial set of courses will include live coding and Salesforce certification preparation for administrators and others. Within two months of launch later this year, Salesforce said it expects Trailhead Live to offer more than 100 live and on-demand training courses. This will also include courses in so-called “soft skills,” such as how to interview for a job and public speaking.

Salesforce Trailhead screenshot
Salesforce plans to roll out live video training on Trailhead Live by year’s end.

Salesforce plans to have a big Trailhead presence at Dreamforce in San Francisco from Nov. 19 to 22, where the new Trailhead features will be on display.

Salesforce is doing this an acknowledgment that people learn differently, Lopez said.

“There are multiple ways people like to engage,” Lopez said. “It used to be you had a whiteboard and people took notes, but now we’re in a much more visual era and you want to be sure you’re reaching everyone.”

Inspired by Peloton

Salesforce said the design of Trailhead Live was inspired in part by Peloton, the company that offers live on-demand fitness courses via an internet-connected bicycle.

Seeing how people can engage with others without having to go to a classroom was an inspiration.
Kris LandeVice president of marketing, Salesforce

“We definitely looked at consumer applications like Peloton,” said Kris Lande, vice president of marketing at Salesforce. “Seeing how people can engage with others without having to go to a classroom was an inspiration.”

There is a community aspect to Trailhead Live, as users will able to see who else is taking the class with them, Lande said. It’s also more personalized, as the instructor verbally welcomes each participant by name.

Like Peloton, which features certified trainers, Trailhead Live will feature experts in different topic areas from the Salesforce community. If you miss a class or need more time to complete different skills tests, each class will also be available online. If there are 15 people taking an hour-long course on how to create Lightning Web Components, the instructor will give a set period of time for users to complete tasks in their own virtual workspace. The user can return and learn in an on-demand review of the course if he or she needs to finish any parts of it for certification.

Earlier this year, there were 1.2 million people using the Trailhead platform, according to Salesforce. That number has grown to 1.7 million and is expected to grow to 1.8 million by Dreamforce, with a total of 17 million badges earned since its launch. Trailhead users earn badges each time they show mastery of specific skills.

New Salesforce Trailhead trainings introduced this past year include cybersecurity and Apple iOS.

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Salesforce email marketing gets Einstein AI infusion

Salesforce unveiled on Thursday Marketing Cloud email features to come, including Einstein AI tools to automate, personalize and analyze outcomes of email campaigns and interactive emails. Salesforce also introduced testing tools to detect potential errors before hitting the send button.

The Salesforce email marketing AI features scheduled for release later this month include Einstein Content Selection, which makes personalized recommendations for images based on customer preferences. Einstein Copy Insights, also slated for later this month, predicts verbiage most likely to drive customer response in email subject lines and body text, as well as for social media and text messages.

Also, part of the upcoming release is a testing and validation tool that examines email addresses for missing elements, text errors and off-topic offers before sending emails to a list. 

Einstein Messaging Insights, scheduled for January release, analyzes email campaigns to figure out why some campaigns underperform against expected results. More importantly, it can help determine why overperforming ones succeed.

“If you’re doing something that’s performing pretty well, it’s going to try to tell you why,” said Bobby Jania, Salesforce product marketing VP. “So, you’re learning from that and can use it in other campaigns.”

Salesforce also plans to pilot an interactive email builder, based on technology from its Rebel acquisition earlier this year. It can embed surveys, polls and image carousels inside emails. That avails content that otherwise might require an email recipient to click on a web link, which reduces customer engagement.

Consumers and B2B buyers prefer email as the channel to receive marketing messages, according to a Salesforce-commissioned survey of 8,000 consumers and B2B buyers conducted last April. Respondents indicated email remains the favorite channel despite the rise of competing social media and text messaging channels, Jania said.

Salesforce email marketing tools screenshot.
Salesforce email marketing tools now can tap AI to match hero images in individual emails to preferences found in customer data.

Email is not going anywhere as the most-used digital marketing channel, said Constellation Research analyst Nicole France. The upcoming Salesforce email marketing tools aren’t particularly groundbreaking, she said, as other vendors offer similar capabilities.

However, France said that Salesforce is doing what it does well: Getting Einstein AI into the hands of its customers by embedding it in tools they can use right away without help from a data scientist. That will make the tools useful.

“No one’s using AI for the sake of using AI,” France said. “This is a practical use of AI in the marketer’s daily work.”

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Salesforce rolls out new security add-on for Quip

Salesforce today rolled out Quip Shield, a HIPAA-certified security add-on to its Quip platform. The new service includes enterprise key management, event monitoring and antivirus scanning, intended to increase trust compliance and governance in collaboration and promises minimal services disruption.

Quip is an integrated productivity platform from Salesforce that offers real-time collaboration with docs, spreadsheets, slides and chat that companies can embed directly into Salesforce records. Quip Shield is a security add-on intended to protect business data in Quip.

Salesforce said that Quip Shield offers encryption and customization capabilities according to companies’ particular security and compliance demands, such as secure infrastructure services, granular permissions and external sharing controls. The new product is HIPAA-certified, promising to provide appropriate security for healthcare organizations to collaborate around protected health information while staying compliant.

The new security add-on touts uninterrupted service in CRM; the product works in the background, with little impact on the end-user experience, the company said. When there is an incident, users would experience minimal disruption, while admins work to isolate and secure data, according to Salesforce.

Services offered in Quip Shield include:

  • Enterprise key management: Controls access to certain data by monitoring all encryption key usages in a locked audit log, and revoking access to the business’ encrypted data when potential threats are identified.
  • Event monitoring: Enables the enterprise to set custom rules to flag and address suspicious behaviors and to log events, which will then be processed through security information and event monitoring systems and cloud access security brokers to identify malicious activity, threats and take immediate action.
  • Antivirus scanning: Scans files uploaded to Quip Shield for malicious content, and prevents users from downloading potentially infected files.

Quip Shield is available to customers as of today. The company said organizations can choose to add Quip Shield to Quip Enterprise, Quip for Salesforce and Quip Virtual Private Cloud licenses for an additional cost and pricing varies based on usage.

Quip for Salesforce competes with Slack, Skype and Cisco, among other vendors. Slack also offers security features for teamwork and collaboration, including data encryption and Slack Enterprise Key Management, which enables bringing your own keys for data access. Skype for Business advertises itself as a low-cost collaboration product for business of varied sizes, offering its service on a range of devices. Cisco Jabber offers instant messaging and soft-phone features, including HD voice and video, and more.

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