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February 3, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:40pm

Extensive Lightning CRM changes and new number two for Salesforce

News: Keith Block has been named as the new Chief Operating Officer

By James Nunns

Salesforce has announced a new version of Lightning CRM platform and named Keith Block as its Chief Operating Officer.

Block, who will keep his existing roles as vice chairman and president, will now hold three major executive roles and a seat on the Salesforce board.

Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce said that he looked forward to working more closely with Block to: "deliver customer success and achieve our goal to surpass $10 billion in revenue faster than any other enterprise software company in history."

Block will continue to lead global sales, alliances and channels, industry strategy and customer success.

In an interview with CBR at last year’s Dreamforce, Block said: "We’re very focused on our platform, that’s our secret sauce, and we won’t be diluted. You’ll continue to see our product portfolio grow. But it will always be based on our platform."

Salesforce Lightning is a multi-tenant, metadata platform that is built to provide a consistent experience across any device.

The CRM platform that includes built-in Wave analytics, intelligent email and configure-price-quote features has now had a built-in phone tool added that will allow sales people to make a call directly from Salesforce.

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This functionality comes from Twilio’s Voice API which is built into the application as Lightning Voice.

Enhancements that are coming to the company’s Sales Cloud will include SteelBrick CPQ, this gives the platform the ability to offer capabilities from lead-to-cash and comes after the acquisition of SteelBrick CPQ.

Intelligent email comes with SalesforceIQ Inbox, this will turn employees’ inboxes into a CRM app by bringing Relationship Intelligence to Sales Cloud users through their email, the company said.

Apps will be available on iOS, Android and Chrome Apps and will combine Sales Cloud data with email and calendar, which will aid sales reps to manage their email, leads and contacts.

The Sales Wave App will also be coming to the Sales Cloud, with the app delivering data-driven insights across any device. Lightning Actions in Sales Wave aims to increase collaboration along with the ability to update Sales Cloud records directly within Wave.

Salesforce1 Mobile is also being enhanced with full offline capabilities for iOS and Android devices. Users will be able to enter information when they are offline and then sync it when they are reconnected.

In the extensive list of enhancements, the company is also adding 20 Lightning Sales components that include Sales Path, Account Insights and Kanban.

The services side is also being enhanced with Field Service Lightning, an enhancement that will give organisations the capability to connect their service workforce with tools for agents, dispatches and mobile employees.

The purpose of this is to give customers a more seamless service experience, the company said.

Omni-Channel Supervisor is the last upgrade that the company will be adding at this moment in time. It is designed to give call centre managers more insight and visibility into their operations and agents’ workloads. This will help them to allocate resources in order to give a better customer experience.

Its capabilities will include real-time activity view, operational alerts, filtering and sorting capabilities and dynamic activity tracking and routing.

Under the comprehensive updates, Salesforce will be introducing new core editions for Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. Salesforce’s Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition and Unlimited Edition for Sales Cloud and Service Cloud will be replaced by Lightning Professional Edition, Lightning Enterprise Edition and Lightning Unlimited Edition for the two clouds.

The new editions are expected to be generally available in Q2 ending July 31st 2016.

In addition to the enhancements to Sales Cloud Lightning and Service Cloud Lightning, the company is planning to include more than 300 advancements across its Customer Success Platform.

App Cloud will be getting a new Process Builder to make it easier to automate business processes. Heroku Enterprise will have customer-centric big data services added such as private Postgres, Connect and Redis.

The Marketing Cloud is having features added that are designed to improve personalised email programs while Workbenches for Social Studio will give brands deep social insight to inform marketing strategy.

Finally, Community Cloud Lightning is being given new templates, community management and Integrated Live Agent that is designed to help companies to become smarter and more connected.

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