With the advent of the cloud, most organizations are looking to utilize cloud-based environments to overcome the barriers of traditional app development. While traditional application development demanded significant investment in expensive tools and resources (in terms of skills, hardware installation, data storage, maintenance, etc.), the new cloud-based platforms allow a faster, scalable and more efficient development of applications. Modern cloud-based platforms like Salesforce provide integrated development environments and tools for monitoring and debugging applications to quicken development and reduce delays in delivery cycles.
With more than 150,000 customers and four million developers, Salesforce is considered as one of the leading enterprise cloud computing platforms. In fact, for the fourth consecutive year, Salesforce has been named a Leader by Gartner in its 2019 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. Let's discuss the key trends to watch for in the world of Salesforce in 2019:
Customer 360 is an enterprise-grade customer data management platform that enables granular profiling and hyper-personalized engagement of customers across various aspects of customer interaction, including marketing, sales, and services. It provides integration with the existing products and services, like Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud, providing a complete view of the customer across all channels, and thus enabling better customer engagement and personalized experiences.
A single unified data model called 'Standard and Custom Objects' helps keep a standard format across all Salesforce products, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Health Cloud, Pardot, CPQ, Financial Services, B2B Commerce, and Lightning Platform. This helps in the smooth transition of data across these tools, and also enables unified functioning of all data for Einstein Analytics and the Salesforce Mobile app.
Einstein Voice is a new voice-based platform, with two supporting products: Einstein Voice Assistant and Einstein Voice Bots. Einstein Voice Assistant is a voice-based user interface to interact with Salesforce products and services, that allows users to get voice-based briefing (via Salesforce app or smart speakers), and allows voice-based commands to make updates to Salesforce records. Einstein Voice Bots enables the Salesforce customers to build their own voice assistants on top of their applications. Announced in Sept 2018, these tools are scheduled to be rolled out in Q3 or Q4 of 2019.
Mulesoft is a leading platform for building application networks that powers enterprise apps, data, and devices across on-premise as well as cloud environments. Salesforce had announced the completion of its acquisition of Mulesoft in May 2018, and since then it has integrated its services with MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform, enabling advanced capabilities like mobile payment and real-time location-based data services. Integration with Mulesoft also enabled several additional enhancements like connecting with customer data across different record systems, reconciling these records into different applications, and then enabling seamless access to the entire system irrespective of the source of the data.
Salesforce Blockchain is a low-code platform, which leverages the open-source blockchain technology from Hyperledger, and the proprietary Salesforce Lightning platform, and enables the users to deploy and manage their own blockchain networks, contracts, apps, and workflows. It enables organizations to share their verified and distributed data sets across their ecosystem of partners and third parties. Blockchain offers a distributed public ledger, shared between all the trusted partners, and allows them to conceptualize a variety of use cases like asset tracking and authentication and verification of goods. The blockchain data can also be combined with CRM workflows to develop new business processes and models for sales, marketing, and services related tasks.
Besides knowledge of the commercial products, there are several other aspects that may impact the productivity and future growth of a developer. Here are a few additional traits that can help Salesforce developers keep themselves updated:
In the current competitive market scenario, most IT leaders rank user experience as a top priority and identify this as one of the priorities while taking investment decisions. A recent survey by Gartner suggests that customers are not just sensitive towards uptime of service availability, but also sensitive towards the choice of engagement channels. Around forty percent of customers said that they wouldn't prefer a business with any company that is not available on their preferred channels. So developers need to ensure that user experience is imbibed as a well-planned outcome of their Salesforce applications, rather than just a loosely coupled post-development makeover.
For any organization, having a mobile-first mindset has become a key trend to meet the expectations of both the customers and the employees. According to a recent survey by Gartner, more than half (56%) of millennial and Generation Z customers have shown preferences for mobile apps rather than traditional desktop-based experience. But at the same time, customers also give priority to cross-channel engagement options. For instance, while traveling, using a mobile phone for replying to an email may be the preferred channel of communication, but for sending a detailed email communication having several attachments, the obvious choice would be a laptop or desktop. So, customers prefer having seamless access to emails or business documents across distinct channels. Also, very often customers use multiple channels to complete a single transaction. For delivering such extraordinary customer experiences, you need to know the preferences of customers across different touchpoints, channels and ensure a personalized and seamless experience across them.
With the ever-booming market of Salesforce products, there are thousands of independent software vendors (ISVs) and system integrators (SIs) that help further extend and implement the Salesforce functionalities, by developing customized apps for Salesforce platforms, or by specialized expertise and support. Vendors like AutoRabit provide their support to solve any SaaS automation-related challenges faced by Salesforce clients. Their value-added services help developers achieve continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and application release automation (ARA). Such vendors can help developers achieve advanced capabilities like intelligent version control, deployment automation, and sandbox management which aren't part of the default Salesforce development experience.
As a leading cloud-based software and service provider, Salesforce has taken several innovative initiatives to retain its position as one of the top service providers. While on one side, it has further steps to deepen its partnerships with top vendors, including Google, and Apple. As a part of its partnership, Salesforce now offers its US and Canada based customers options for direct purchase of Google Marketing Platform products, including Google Analytics 360, Google Optimize 360 and Google Tag Manager 360. At the same time, Salesforce Essentials, the out-of-the-box CRM for small businesses, is now offered via the G Suite and Google Cloud Platform marketplaces.
Similarly, the strategic partnership between Apple and Salesforce has resulted into several innovative options for the developers, like Salesforce Mobile SDK for iOS, which can help embrace the native mobile platform with exclusive new features on iOS. In addition, there are several promising developments around IoT, Salesforce DX, VSCode and Packaging that the Salesforce developers should keep their eye on. It is indeed an exciting time to be a Salesforce developer. There is a lot of innovation, and all this points to a promising future for the entire Salesforce ecosystem.