Salesforce: The Secret to Digital Transformation Success

By Will Saunders

Beyond the sales side of retail power or oilfield services, the value of Salesforce to the energy sector may not be immediately obvious to someone unfamiliar with Salesforce’s capabilities. For an industry that is heavily focused on operations and may not have armies of sales or service employees, it may be difficult to simply get past “sales” in Salesforce’s name.

Salesforce initially made a name for itself in the sales enablement space, but today it’s Sales Cloud product comprises only 33% of the company’s subscription and support revenue, according to its latest earnings report. The other 67% is generated from its products focused on service, marketing, ecommerce, communities, IoT, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, app development and integration. As Salesforce has grown its capabilities since its start in the cloud customer relationship management (“CRM”) space, it has built a robust platform along the way. Leading energy companies are increasingly recognizing that Salesforce’s platform delivers on the key tenets of digital transformation, which include rapid innovation, automation, data-driven actionable insight, and a heightened focus on user experience and engagement. Let’s explore these themes to understand why management teams are turning to Salesforce’s platform to drive their digital transformation initiatives.

Building a Frictionless Business Through Automation

Oil and gas companies have been challenged to do more with less to survive the recent downturn. To achieve this, many companies have turned to robotic process automation (“RPA”) to streamline and remove friction from complex business processes, which reduces or eliminates the burden of manual and repetitive work that pervades the industry.

If you consider the continuum of process automation, from augmentation through AI-enabled intelligence processes, Salesforce’s platform equips an entire organization – irrespective of the business size, department or role – with capabilities to automate complex business processes. Here’s how Salesforce enables each level of automation:

Desktop Automation: Automating high-touch steps within a process is made easy with Salesforce Macros. Users can build a set of instructions to execute repetitive tasks, such as selecting an email template, sending an email and updating multiple fields on a case, ultimately creating consistency and saving employees time.

Process Augmentation: Not every process can be automated. For these processes, complementing people with technology can drive significant efficiency. As an example, Salesforce Console allows business users to access important information for the task at hand through an intuititve, tab-based workspace, enabling them to operate quickly in a fast-paced work environment. 

Process Automation: Salesforce’s Process Builder gives business users the ability to automate processes behind the scenes, such as updating records, creating tasks or sending emails in response to a triggering event. With Process Builder’s point-and-click interface, users can model business logic quickly through a graphical representation of a complex process.

Intelligent Processes: By pairing Einstein AI with Process Builder, a company is able to create prediction-driven business processes. As an example, Einstein can be used to score a customer’s attrition risk based on new information input into the customer’s account in Salesforce, which can then trigger a process to notify a customer service representative, prescribe a recommended approach or action to engage the customer, and retain his or her business.

Data-Driven Decisions & Action

Many companies, especially in oil and gas, continually miss a tremendous opportunity to leverage the wealth of data around their business to drive insight, decisions, actions and, ultimately, performance. It’s not for a lack of interest in wanting to do this. Most leadership teams understand the importance of using data to inform important business decisions, but their companies lack the tools and resources to manage data and extract insight from it. The Salesforce Platform provides a means to digitize business processes across the organization, from Sales and Marketing to HR, Supply Chain and IT, capturing critical data points systematically, which then allows front-line employees, managers and executives to understand their business in new ways and drive it forward from a single control center.

Modern User Experience

In an experience economy, customers are becoming more difficult to engage given the ever-increasing digital noise that continuously competes for their attention. Speed and getting to the right answer are no longer enough. Customers want and expect an experience personalized for them. Salesforce allows businesses to do this by tailoring an experience to an individual’s preferences based on a 360-degree view of the individual, or in other words, a comprehensive track record of every touchpoint a customer has with the company.

There’s also value in improving the employee experience as a happy and engaged employee will ultimately help drive a better experience for the customer, directly or indirectly. The same thing goes for partners, distributors, suppliers, investors or any stakeholder related to the business for that matter. If they enjoy the experience of working with a particular company, they’re going to want to do more business with that company.

A Platform for Rapid Innovation

Speed and agility are essentials to the foundation of a sustainable business. The Salesforce Platform gives companies the ability to not only adapt and evolve with a rapidly changing marketplace, but more importantly, to lead it. With Salesforce, business users have a framework to rapidly build solutions and solve complex business problems with critical elements of modern applications, such as security, mobility, collaboration and modern UI/UX, innately embedded within the solution. And, they can do that in a fraction of the time it would take for IT to simply plan and start the project, let alone complete it.

Digital transformation is about equipping frontline employees and management with the right tools to streamline the business with automation. It’s about understanding the business differently through new insights extracted from data and using that insight to make decisions quickly and confidently. It’s about delivering modern experiences that engage users through personalization. Most importantly, it’s about fostering a culture of innovation that inspires and builds the business of the future. Salesforce is the catalyst to drive it there.

About the Author:

Will Saunders is a Manager with Opportune’s Process & Technology practice in Houston. In this role, Will helps clients build innovative solutions to address the complex challenges unique to the energy industry on the Salesforce Platform. Prior to Opportune, he has led initiatives to design and build custom applications, extend the capabilities of existing systems, and develop robust reporting capabilities to meet the evolving needs of rapidly growing businesses. Will graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Marketing.

Will Saunders

ManagerOpportune LLP

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