Why Salesforce joining the Internet of Things is a Big Deal

During Dreamforce, Salesforce yearly event, the CRM-company launched Salesforce 1; a platform aimed at future proofing the company’s applications. Part of the agenda was focused on customer relationships that can be tethered to the Internet of things and wearable computing using a series of application programming interfaces (APIs).

The reason is simple: behind every sensor-laden thing is a customer. “The workflow will be integrated into Salesforce. The key here is that the use cases will be totally different,” said Al Falcione, head of corporate messaging at Salesforce. “Salesforce 1 is the way of connecting things in a flexible way to transform sales, service and marketing.”

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Since most companies are still finding their way with how to use mobile apps and services for marketing and sales, the IoT move is a big step for Salesforce. However, considering the amount of things that are increasingly capable of being programmed through APIs, new forms of mobility are quickly becoming a enterprise reality. Here’s a video introducing you to what Salesforce’s calls the Internet of Customers (Which I think is a dumb name, since that’s no new reality whatsoever)

Why it makes sense
It is really about analytics and integrating new data streams, as Ray Wang, principal of Constellation Research, said:

A big hole is really the analytics. There’s a big data opportunity and big data business model opportunity here to enhance customer experiences, benchmark and broker data, and to build new business models around big data and analytics.

Using the internet of things to make better customer connections makes sense of course, since this could (or will, depends on who you ask), be the the next big mobile wave. This recent presentation on BusinessInsider by  its CEO Henry Blodget on the future of digital shows the market potential:

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And these numbers only concern wearable devices, with smart hardware for the home and all types of other stuff the next mobile data boom is going to be huge. Samsung’s smartwatch however, is not doing so well or maybe it is.

What it means
The point here is that this new data streams all become an integrated part of the CRM-system that already exists. It could give a new dimension to CRM-data. What if 3rd party app providers build plug-ins where sensor data is used to track use of a product and add this to the data of phone calls or email exchanges you had with a customer:

  • Your washing machine is showing signs of a defect, call the customer to preemptively schedule for maintenance
  • A customer is running out of medicine, re-order his prescription
  • Knowing when a customer is out of Nespresso cups, offering a new batch or maybe an automatic order-and-deliver system eliminating visits to webshops or retail stores.

Just a few examples of this new dynamic of the top of my head. This is all new, and we have to see how things develop. But the idea of a customer behind every connected thing makes total sense and a CRM-system suited to accompany this fact are building blocks to new systems of engagement.

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