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Salesforce’s Deepak Pargaonkar On Cloud Acceleration In India

Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution provider, was founded in 1996. Analytics India Magazine caught up with Deepak Pargaonkar, VP, Solution Engineering, Salesforce India to understand more about the inner workings of the company.

“Today we have 4000+ employees across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore. Salesforce India, has the highest workforce outside of the US. As we grow, we will continue to invest in expanding our employee presence in the region making India a leading global talent and innovation hub for the company,” said Deepak.

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Deepak currently leads Solution Engineering at Salesforce India. Prior to Salesforce, Deepak has worked with organisations like Oracle, Cambridge Technology partners and Videocon. 

Excerpts:

AIM: What’s your role at Salesforce?

Deepak: I currently lead Solution Engineering at Salesforce – India. A part of the India leadership team at Salesforce, my key responsibilities involve creating compelling value propositions to support sales efforts in the region. Each customer has a unique set of challenges, most of which can be simplified by leveraging technology. We work closely with our customers to identify these complexities and build customised solutions. 

I have had the opportunity to work with various leading organisations in their journey of Customer Management over the last 15 plus years. In India, we are at the forefront of the revolutionary cloud computing wave, and I strongly believe that customer management is more about the organisation’s desire to build intimate relationships with customers and derive maximum business benefits – technology is an enabler to build these relationships. 

AIM: Tell us about the evolution of cloud computing in India, especially in the wake of the pandemic

Deepak: The past year has truly taught us the meaning of digital transformation across every industry – particularly in terms of reimagining businesses to better serve customers and having the agility to respond to evolving circumstances. Companies leveraging cloud computing have shown us what it means to be resilient in times of crisis, and these migrations are only set to accelerate in 2021 – enabling scalability, availability and accessibility of information from any location.

The digital imperative is now a priority for every CEO. Leaders are recognising the level of risk that their companies will be exposed to if they don’t have a digital strategy in place. Whether B2B or B2C, organisations need to accelerate their efforts to go all digital and build direct, trusted relationships with their customers.

At least 28 percent of spending in key IT segments will shift to the cloud by 2022, as per a report by Gartner. Our customers such as Edelweiss continued to service customers seamlessly through the lockdown. Since adopting Salesforce, the company’s customer satisfaction rates have jumped from 78% to 92%. Teams are better able to monitor customer sentiment, personalise services, and resolve issues faster. A traditional brick and mortar educational institute NMIMS managed to pivot to a digital first university by adopting Salesforce.  

AIM: How important is the Indian market for Salesforce?

Deepak: As we step into the new year we will continue to strengthen our vision of working together as One India, leading with relevance, integrity and trust, guiding our customers through their digital transformation journeys. Every business strategy over the last year was digital, making Salesforce more relevant than ever. Our priorities include: 

  • Customer centric digital transformation: Our customers have had to learn how to sell, service, market and more, from anywhere with the customer at the center of it all. We will continue to help companies transform by unlocking the value of their customer data, providing a single source of truth, while ensuring scale and confidence in the all-digital, work from anywhere world. 
  • Innovation on the Platform: India is a unique market with unique challenges. Innovation with confidence and scalability is essential. The Salesforce Platform offers this opportunity for individuals and businesses to solve problems for India and the world with easy-to-use flows, pre-written low-code blocks and much more. Our priority is to bring the power of this trusted, intelligent, integrated and sustainable platform to the customer building them up for success.
  • Skilling and Upskilling with Trailhead: COVID-19 has accelerated the digital skills gap and companies everywhere are trying to pivot to go digital fast, while rebuilding and reskilling their workforces. In fact, a recent Salesforce study found that in India, there has been a heightened interest in online learning since COVID-19 with 83% of survey participants from India saying they are more interested in online learning or training. 

With the power of Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform, we will empower both learners at every stage of their career journey and companies looking to reskill their employees with the platform, expertise, and guidance to skill up for the future.

AIM: How is Salesforce reimagining Sales Cloud to drive growth? 

Deepak: Sales people need to learn how to cultivate relationships remotely and understand how different industries are reacting to the current state of the world.  There is an urgent need to have the right tools, processes, and agility to adapt and take hold of a new competitive landscape. Salesforce is reimagining Sales Cloud as a growth platform to provide everything a business needs to transform sales, from anywhere for anyone at every stage of growth. 

Even when salespeople get back on the road, 51% expect to travel less than they did pre-pandemic—so seamless, virtual interactions will continue to be a critical part of field sales. 

  • Salesforce Meetings makes meeting prep and wrap ups simple when you’re in back to back calls and Einstein Conversation Insights helps to understand trends in customer conversations and train sales teams. 
  • Moving forward, sales is going to be extremely data driven. Tableau aims to empower sales teams to analyze data and make smart decisions, faster, without relying on data scientists/ experts. 
  • Most importantly, the pandemic was a clear reminder that successful businesses must be able to react in real-time to changing market conditions. MuleSoft Composer for Salesforce now allows business users to connect data and apps without writing code, such that, sales operations teams can connect apps and systems to Salesforce, automate sales processes, and unlock richer sales insights without waiting on development resources. 
  • Lastly, enablement and training will adapt to virtual too, so new reps can onboard quickly right within Salesforce from Trailhead. Sales people can see relevant education materials like competitor analyses surfaced right in their workspace. 

AIM: How does Salesforce keep up with the increasingly digital world?

Deepak: Salesforce is built on innovation and agility and we are committed to providing tools to help organizations respond and recover from the challenges of COVID-19. For instance, our Work.com solution enables organisations to manage the logistics of returning to work while putting employee and visitor health and safety first. Vaccine Cloud is another great example that allows government agencies around the world to manage the deployment of vaccines in a fair and equitable way.

Our industry strategy has been very focused over the years. Today, we have 12 industry clouds in financial services, healthcare and life sciences, public sector, communications, manufacturing, energy & utilities, consumer goods, media, education, and nonprofit. Within these clouds, we are also increasing capabilities in specific verticals, like insurance and healthcare payers. 

In India, we are seeing accelerated adoption across the financial services, Oil & Gas, education and manufacturing sectors. We will continue to accelerate our focus on re-imagining what technology can do for certain industries, creating an ecosystem of trailblazers, delivering the power of the Salesforce platform to drive business growth with scalability, agility and resilience. 

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kumar Gandharv
Kumar Gandharv, PGD in English Journalism (IIMC, Delhi), is setting out on a journey as a tech Journalist at AIM. A keen observer of National and IR-related news.

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