Salesforce Says Latest Apps Let Users Run Business on Mobile Devices
Salesforce marketing exec Sara Varni gave a demonstration of how Accenture might use the SteelBrick component on a mobile device. In the demonstration, an area defined in red indicated a future shortfall in revenue. A click-through showed that a key customer had dropped its plans to buy. Using SteelBrick, a new quote was created, which also generated a red flag because the discount was outside the accepted norm. In this scenario, a note is sent to the manager, who approves the discount on his Apple Watch; the deal is approved; and the revenue is saved. It's easy to imagine things not going quite that smoothly in the real world, but the demo did show how an enterprise sales application can work on a mobile device. Improved Mobile SecurityThe updates will keep coming steadily. This summer Salesforce plans to offer its 50th release. Harris admitted mobile technology didn't have a place in original the business plan when he and Benioff created Salesforce.com, but it is front and center now. "Customers are going to love the ability to now work offline with their mobile device," he said. He also hinted that Salesforce will release "amazing security" for mobile apps via an earlier "small acquisition." He said the app will make security "super easy" without having to enter passcodes each time. A new Field Service Lightning app is also coming. Sarah Patterson, Salesforce senior vice president of marketing, demonstrated a preview of the app, calling it "the Uber of field service apps." The demonstration showed how Field Service Lightning tracks the location of service representatives and has the ability to assign work to the rep closest to a new job. But the system also lets the dispatcher see if that first choice is stuck in traffic and automatically assign the job to someone who can get to the job site faster. An online map shows the field representative's progress in getting to the job and when he or she has arrived. Benioff summarized the day’s announcements by noting that Salesforce was creating "a deep system of intelligence" that leverages the latest technology advancements. "In our industry everything is changing, and we need to create a whole new environment," he said. Better mobile apps are essential to attracting a new generation of workers, he observed. "We have millions of users on mobile, and we don't even travel with our laptops," said Benioff.
Today's news represents the 49th release of Salesforce software since the company was founded in 1999. Cofounder Parker Harris said the latest statistics show customers are using the platform in large numbers, noting that Salesforce customers pumped 259 billion transactions through the platform in the fiscal 2016 third quarter, a 46 percent year-over-year increase. Transaction statistics for the most recent quarter aren't quite ready for release.