Salesforce CEO: Company’s ‘Never Been Better Positioned for the Future’

Salesforce continued to make strides with its Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) platform and Customer 360 cross-cloud technology initiative in the second quarter (ended July 31) and stands to benefit as more companies undergo a digital transformation, according to Marc Benioff, the company’s co-CEO and chairman.

“With Customer 360 we have just never really been better positioned for the future,” he said Aug. 22 on an earnings call. “In fact, we’re at the beginning of an enormous wave of digital transformation,” he told analysts.

Benioff pointed to IDC’s forecast that global spending on digital transformation will reach $1.18 trillion in 2019, which would be an increase of almost 18% over last year, he said, adding: “Salesforce is at the center of this massive shift because every digital transformation of every single one of these companies that we’re talking to begins and ends with the customer.”

He pointed to another IDC forecast – that global spending on customer experience alone will reach $641 billion by 2022. And “every company needs an intelligent, 360 degree view of their customers,” he said, explaining: “They need to personalize every customer experience. They need to predict customer behavior and anticipate their customer needs, and they need to build modern mobile apps quickly and deliver the right services at the right time on any device.” And that is precisely what Customer 360 does, he said, predicting his company’s “vision for bringing companies and their customers together …  will be a huge growth engine for us over the next decade.”

He told analysts to “look at some of the daily milestones our customers have helped us achieve with our Customer 360 platform,” noting it’s created “4 million sales opportunities and 4.3 million leads generated,” along with 77 million service case interactions logged, 4.1 billion messages and emails sent, 4.2 million orders processed, 53 million reports and dashboards created every day and 700 million commerce page views.

Customer 360 includes platform services such as AI and “breakthroughs in vision and voice,” as well as in mobility and security, he said. The company is now making “8.6 billion Einstein predictions a day using our market-leading artificial intelligence platform” and it’s also made Einstein Voice and Einstein Vision available to “every Salesforce app and these AI powered capabilities are the future of the customer experience,” he said.

Salesforce is now also “extending the power of Customer 360 with new services: including Salesforce Blockchain and Salesforce Maps, he noted. On the latter front, “we’re adding intelligent location-based services that improve productivity for sales and service employees to the field,” he said. The company, in May, announced Salesforce Blockchain, a low-code platform that it said at the time enables organizations to “share verified, distributed data sets across a trusted network of partners and third parties.” Salesforce Blockchain made its debut at TrailheaDX, the company’s fourth annual developer conference. It was made available at the same time to select design partners and is expected to become generally available in 2020, it said.

The company’s Q2 revenue jumped 22% from a year ago to $4 billion, with subscription and support revenue increasing 22% to $3.75 billion and professional services and other revenue growing 14% to $252 million.

“Looking at the drivers of growth by cloud, we continue to see strong subscription and support revenue growth year-over-year with sales cloud growth of 13 percent, service cloud growth of 22 percent, marketing and commerce cloud growth of 36 percent, and platform and other 28 percent,” CFO Mark Hawkins told analysts.

The company increased its revenue forecast for the full fiscal year to $16.75 billion-$16.9 billion, which would be growth of about 26-27%. That’s up from its prior forecast of $16.1 billion-$16.25 billion.