There’s no doubt that Salesforce has changed the way the world works. As leaders in cloud computing, pioneers in CRM, and perhaps the best-known example of SaaS in the world today, Salesforce, with Chair, Co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff, has created a legacy that lands them among the great tech titans.
But despite these incredible accomplishments, in a recent conversation with our own CEO, Martin Migoya, at Converge 2023, we learned that for Marc, the true measure of success isn’t just Salesforce’s impact on the business and tech world but rather its impact on the community.
In this post, we recap the inspiring discussion between Martin and Marc and share some of the major takeaways on building a world-class brand through culture, the need to approach challenges with a clear mind, and the role of AI in our collective future.
- The importance of culture in a tech-driven world.
“Culture is going to eat your strategy for breakfast.”
This statement, often attributed to management guru Peter Drucker, is relevant even to the world’s most successful and renowned brands, such as Salesforce. That’s not our opinion – it’s Marc’s observation.
During the conversation, Marc explained how culture, even more than products and technology, plays an outsized role in determining the success of the company and the power of the brand.
“It’s not about the products we’re building…The code, the constructs, the hardware, the software – all of it will change,” he explains. “But the culture—this is something that we have to nurture and move along to take care of our employees, our customers, and our communities.” Culture impacts every Salesforce business process.
For Marc, a key part of organizational culture is about being a positive force within the community. Salesforce, as a company, is the largest corporate philanthropic player in San Francisco, having made significant donations to public schools, parks, and hospitals in California. The company has also enabled employees to donate millions of hours to volunteerism collectively and offers free platform services to tens of thousands of NGOs. The company’s innovative 1-1-1 model, which pledges to allocate 1% of its product, 1% of its equity, and 1% of its employees’ time to benefit others, has been replicated by more than 20,000 companies worldwide. Like Salesforce, Globant embraces a similar model with our Be Kind culture and initiatives that guide our approach to everything we do – across our clients, people, and communities.
“At Salesforce, we have an ‘ohana culture,’ which is the Hawaiian word for family,” says Marc. “It underscores the idea that we’re really focused on giving back and trying to improve the world. We believe that business is the greatest platform for change and that we can use our business in ways to improve the world.”
The 1-1-1 model bridges the gap between Salesforce as a development company, and a powerful force for good.
2. The “beginner’s mind” is the key to success in a fast-changing world.
In the tech industry, everything is constantly changing. And that means most things are replaceable.
In order to keep pace with this rapid and profound change, Benioff stresses the need to embrace a “beginner’s mind.” Often referred to as Shoshin, a term from Zen Buddhism, the beginner’s mind enables people to approach new tasks and challenges with a sense of openness and enthusiasm.
“With a beginner’s mind, you have every possibility,” Marc explains. “In the expert’s mind, you have few. We need to have a beginner’s mind in the tech industry because things are changing so rapidly.”
He points to the incredible rate of change around predictive AI and gen AI over the past several months as proof positive of the need to be nimble and agile in order to adapt to the world around us.
“AI is an incredible accelerator,” agrees Martin. “This technology is enabling companies to do what would have been considered impossible in the past. The change will be dramatic for those who push forward now.”
Globant is investing heavily in AI technology, with a recent announcement of its USD 1 billion investment plan in Latin America, including an Innovation and Emerging Technologies Center in Brazil, which will focus on emerging technologies and developing new AI applications for Salesforce solutions. This investment will transform Salesforce project delivery, reinvent digital customer experiences, and accelerate time to value for Globant’s customers around the world.
3. The AI revolution will occur faster than anyone expected – and trust must be at the center.
We are on the cusp of a new reality – one in which AI will be omnipresent and help companies across industries work in new and exciting ways.
“We will remember 2023 as the year when AI entered the mainstream,” says Marc. “It has become part of everything that we do, and we’re realizing that…it’s going to change the world, hopefully for the better. But as we bring it into our enterprises, we have to be very careful and cautious that we do so with trust. Trust is our highest value.”
At Salesforce, that means building a trust layer that provides a “prophylactic shield” to protect their data while also allowing customers to draw out the full power of predictive or generative AI.
For example, one world-renowned luxury brand recently leveraged the Salesforce platform to augment customer call centers through AI. As a trailblazer in this arena, the company wasn’t sure what to expect – if the tool would replace agents, have no effect on operations and productivity at all, or fall somewhere in between. What they found was that the technology was able to augment the employee experience, making them exponentially more effective in their roles.
“With AI, these employees became not only service agents, but sales agents and marketing agents, with the ability to work with customers in new ways,” says Marc. “This very much fulfilled our vision for the future of Salesforce, which is that cutting-edge technology, in the hands of some of the finest craftsmen and most esteemed brands in the world, can make their company better. It’s making their customer relationships better. It’s making their products better, their brand better. That is the promise for all of us with artificial intelligence.”
Drawing inspiration from Salesforce for our companies and communities
As our premier event where great minds, ideas, and technologies meet, we are beyond proud to have hosted Marc Benioff and so many other tech and business leaders at Converge 2023. We wholeheartedly echo his sentiment on the importance of culture and community in the modern business landscape and agree with the idea that the rapid pace of change requires companies to proceed with an open mind and willingness to adapt.
For companies that are in the throes of digital transformation, embarking on their AI journey, or using the power of the Salesforce platform to build their legacy, Globant is here to help accelerate the path forward. Our unique Studio model brings together the industry, domain, and digital expertise companies need to power their reinvention. We invite you to browse our capabilities offered through our Salesforce Studio, Data & AI Studio and Cultural Hacking, and set up time with our experts to discuss your unique needs and challenges.