It never ceases to amaze me the variety of opinions that are aired the (literal) second that someone mentions the simple noun “Innovation” in a sentence. Articulated as “(the use of) a new idea or method” it invokes many reactions, both positive and negative. Regardless, it cannot be disputed that, fundamentally, innovation has equally been the foundation behind every pivotal “success”. Whether it be in business, science, technology or even your own personal progression we all strive to isolate and leverage innovation to our benefit. Don’t believe me? Perhaps a few quotes would change your perspective:

 

 

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” – Albert Einstein

 

And if you find the above quote somewhat too chaotic, then try this…

 

      “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

 

Which brings me neatly onto the subject of the Salesforce World Tour London. Every year we hear about the “next big thing” in the industry, whether it’s artificial intelligence, lightning UI/UX or collaborative team applications. Sometimes it’s actually far too easy to lose the core proposition in how the message is put across that de-rails how innovation is perceived. As intelligent beings we don’t simply want to understand the features or even hear the big flashy trend-words like “disruptive” and “deep learning”, what we actually need is to make the connection, to innately resonate with an idea and, in simple terms just “get it”. It’s the approach to promote these visions at Salesforce World Tours AND true application of embracing these values that has seen Salesforce rise to prominence in the CRM industry and beyond by communicating:

 

 

By facilitating all industries and markets, regardless of vertical or horizontal commercial application, the Salesforce World Tour naturally fosters innovation through keynotes, workshops, demonstrations, technology partners and the meta-ecosystems. Organisations ranging from start-ups through to the largest and most respected global enterprises all have something to learn and take away in applying the tools and processes born from some of the most creative and influential business minds in the world.

 

This year, we saw Trailhead at the forefront of the agenda and how it’s empowering individuals, through to teams, through to companies and even horizontals and verticals to become better aligned in both Salesforce.com as well as application of best practice. But practically how does this drive innovation? And how can it be applied as a principle to real world examples. Let’s use data as an example.

 

I’ve always referred to data as the fuel a business runs on. The poorer the quality of data, the poorer the results that can reverberate throughout the business, impacting each and every team and department. For example, poor Lead data results in poor conversion ratios and translates into poor and elongated Sales process and resource utilisation. Now, let’s apply context to this. AI is accelerating the way we capture, interpret and manage data, but how does poor data quality impact this? AI is not a magic pill and will never be able to automatically right the wrong. How about changing process? No good having a perfect approach and proactive workforce if they have to spend time trying to figure out or rectify data sets. How about strategic as well as tactical management? Tracking intelligent metrics AND setting thresholds via automated notifications is 50% of the picture, acting on them is also crucial to being innovative, as you’ll see the signs earlier, be able to react faster and in many cases, utilise the technologies to afford you a true competitive advantage. The source of this… Data.

 

We consistently see a collaborative approach being at the heart of innovation and this comes through in the messaging from the World Tour. From actions as innocuous as simply buying a shirt through Pink that has the potential to be routed through to the customers destination using clever tracking and alignment technologies through to even the recruitment industry in not only targeting once disregarded demographics but also providing a platform to encourage and incentivise additional talent into a market that thrives off innovation.

 

So at the end of all this, I’ll leave you with one other famous quote that perhaps stands head and shoulders above all others in defining the importance of innovation and how we should strive to embrace it…

 

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs

 

Welcome to Salesforce, welcome to VRP – innovators on the Salesforce platform.

 

Andy Webster

Salesforce Consultant

VRP Consulting – UKI division

vrpconsulting.com