The Tour of What’s Coming!

I was very lucky to have been invited to the Product Roadmap Tour’s London Event, an initiative where Salesforce brings customers together to discuss the vision and direction of their products.

It was hosted on multiple days across different cities: Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, London and Washington DC – the team visited all of those locations within two weeks!

It was just over a week ago and my head is still ‘ticking’ over it.

It’s all under NDA so I can’t tell you exactly what is coming up, but what I can tell you is that it is great that Salesforce continues to listen to its customers, pushing innovation boundaries and there is definitely plenty to be excited about in the near future.

One of the things we were asked was: If you were to ask one thing of Salesforce, what would that be?

In the moment I mumbled something which I’m still not sure explained really what I meant, so this post is my conscience offload (thanks for reading!).

I should have said: Stick to the roots.

With that I mean that from the beginning Salesforce has offered something pretty uniquely: accessibility.

  1. Declarative
  2. Environments

Lets break that down a bit.

Declarative

From their first V2MOM which served as the foundation for the company and the original business plan, Salesforce were clear that requiring programmatic skills could be an obstacle to their success. They built their product around this idea, with tools and practices to enable faster innovation for their customers.

This not only makes it more accessible but as well enables developers to have a more interesting challenges to solve with clicks, not code.

We can see there has been continuous improvement and innovation around this area. I would suggest there is room for much more on this, for example around AI, allowing data scientists to concentrate on more interesting puzzles to solve.

Aaaand I’m not only talking of the core product here, which leads me to…

Environments

Salesforce has been acquiring multiple companies for many reasons: extend the product offering, enable faster innovation, continous growth, etc. Now, all bits of the puzzle are to fit smoothly together (dropping here a cheeky request to vote for this idea please!) .

Thinking about the core product, one of the great things are sandboxes. Really easy to spin up new environments as a copy of production so that you can ring-fence your development and testing prior to live updates.

This is actually something that is rare in the industry and the process of replicating safe environments with other products out there are cumbersome.

So here is the wish of accessibility on bringing the same ease and flexibility to acquired products, such as Marketing Cloud, Social Studio, Pardot… you name it!

 

So those are my 2 wishes, all about sticking to the roots / the source of goodness. Now, as a closing remark…

I was glancing over Mike Cohn’s book User Stories Applied (highly recommended) and it reminded me of the importance of being close to the user and their feedback. Ultimately they are the ones using your product, and the ones that will ‘make it or break it’.

Initiatives such as this #VoiceOfTheCustomer bringing the roadmap to discuss and learn from and with your direct customers are key to not only the success but the sustainability too. In today’s ever changing environment we need to inspect and adapt more rapidly and deal with greater uncertainty. Only learning organisations will keep up with the future. (That’s why Agile works.)

It’s just this kind of Salesforce/customer connection that will continue to fuel our product plans, in FY19 and beyond. Together, we succeed.

— Bret Taylor, President and Chief Product Officer

 

And they are absolutely right!

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