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Benioff projects future of work onto Salesforce’s ‘Cloud 3.0’


Marc Benioff, chair and chief executive of cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) supplier Salesforce, and the company’s president and chief operating officer Bret Taylor are projecting their term “Cloud 3.0” as “where the future works”.

Benioff delivered a keynote yesterday (10 February 2020) from Singapore, where the supplier said the future is already working. “Offices, restaurants and shops are opening, but we aren’t going back to the way it was,” the supplier said in a statement. “Companies around the world had to fundamentally rethink their operating model to respond to the spread of Covid-19. Salesforce was no different.

“Salesforce quickly pivoted, leading with empathy and reorienting our philanthropy, sourcing 60 million pieces of PPE and offering financial grants to schools to help with remote learning and for local small businesses to stay afloat,” it continued. “Our events went totally digital, attracting nearly 500 million views. And we developed relevant products like Work.com and Vaccine Cloud to support customer needs during the pandemic.”

Benioff is quoted in the statement as saying: “We have had to aggressively deliver a new philanthropy model…we had a new event model…and we had to create a whole new operating model for ourselves. This is a new world. We’re reimagining how the future works, together.”

“We have had to aggressively deliver a new philanthropy model. This is a new world. We’re reimagining how the future works, together”

Marc Benioff, Salesforce

As to what this means, it seems to be a presentation of Salesforce’s move towards more intensive use of public cloud provision – dubbed “Hyperforce” at the supplier’s virtual Dreamforce event in December 2020 – together with its own specific experience of the pandemic as a model for its customers’ future modes of working.

According to Salesforce’s statement, Cloud 1.0 was the first web and desktop computer-centric, Cloud 2.0 was about social and mobile (Facebook and Apple as shorthand), and Cloud 3.0 is “work from anywhere” with Zoom and Slack, the latter of which Salesforce is acquiring.

“Hyperforce is one of the most exciting new developments at Salesforce in the past 20 years. We’ve completely re-architected Salesforce to run on the public cloud”
Bret Taylor, Salesforce

Bret Taylor, speaking in the same Singapore keynote, spoke of how Salesforce had developed its so-called “Customer 360” platform with Hyperforce to be a 3.0 cloud.

Salesforce Customer 360 is a tool that allows companies to connect Salesforce apps and create a unified customer ID to build a single view of the customer. It was introduced at Dreamforce 2018 and benefited from application and data integration technology from Mulesoft, which the CRM supplier acquired in May 2018.

“Hyperforce is one of the most exciting new developments at Salesforce in the past 20 years,” said Taylor. “We’ve completely re-architected Salesforce to run on the public cloud. This is a big change for us. But what’s more important is what it does for all of you – we can meet your customers where they are. And on top of Hyperforce, we built the single source of truth.”

At the time of the Hyperforce announcement at Dreamforce 2020, a company spokesperson told Computer Weekly: “Hyperforce is a long-term project. Salesforce will continue to maintain existing infrastructure and datacentres for an extended period of time.”

Also confirmed was that public cloud providers Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba were all partners for Hyperforce.

In the statement coincident with the keynote, Taylor added: “Customer 360 is not just about addressing the problems that we can see ahead of us. It’s really thinking about how you set up your company to respond rapidly to this all-digital, work-from-anywhere world, where your employee expectations, your partner expectations, your customer expectations will all change more rapidly than ever before”.

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