Stay Proud: How Salesforce Celebrated Pride Month 2017

Salesforce showed its true (rainbow!) colors this Pride Month as members of the LGBTQ community and allies alike joined together as one big Ohana to celebrate diversity and promote #EqualityForAll.

This June was one of Salesforce’s biggest and boldest pride months to date, with record participation in events across the globe organized by Outforce, our employee resource group for allies of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights from an awesome Pride Month.

Around the World

  • Outforce organized 37 events globally, including nine Pride marches, which gathered a total of 1800+ marchers from our extended Ohana. Many of our executives participated, as did all of our Ohana groups and some of our mascots, including Astro, SaaSy, Codey, and Einstein!

  • San Francisco hosted many special guests who joined the ranks of 600 employees, friends, and family members who came out to march, including  including singer Bebe Rexha, who performed on the parade route, mascots Astro and SaaSy, drag talent, and a team of professional dancers.

  • Outforce Chicago raised $40,000 for a local LGBTQ center, called Center on Halsted, during a Pride happy hour. They also hosted a RealTalk event to open up a dialogue about LGBTQ identity and had a great turnout at their parade.

  • Employees in Singapore celebrated Pink Dot, Singapore’s version of Pride. Citizens, all dressed in pink, gathered in a park to form a bird’s eye view of a pink dot, which symbolizes support for the LGBTQ community.

  • Dublin, in addition to marching with a fabulous float in the Dublin Pride parade, hosted notable speakers for in-office talks, including Robbie Lawlor, former Mr. Gay Ireland, and Rory O’Neill, Ireland’s foremost drag queen and gay rights activist.

  • Toronto hosted educational Pride- and Outforce-themed Lunch & Learns, threw an in-office party that featured a fundraiser, music, and drag queens, and marched in their parade alongside a float featuring mascots Codey and Einstein.

  • New York had a massive increase in marcher turnout, including plenty of support from BOLDforce, as they marched alongside a branded truck with a sound system.

Press Hits

  • Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet spoke out about equality and hosted a panel to discuss the role of business in driving equality.

  • Equality Programs Manager and Outforce pioneer Gino Ramos was recognized as one of the San Francisco Business Times’ OUTstanding voices of 2017.
  • Success Principal Agent Charles Burkard shared his experience of transitioning in the tech industry.

  • Associate Art Director Elle Cardenas shared why Pride is for everyone (yes, everyone!).

And that’s not all … we have more Pride events happening through the fall around the world, so stay tuned for more rainbow waves coming your way!

Find out more ways Salesforce is championing #EqualityForAll at salesforce.com/equality.

Moving from Customer Survival to Customer Success

For years, customers were often enslaved by on-premise applications that were very difficult to keep standing due to changing infrastructure, patch fixes and release upgrades. Then many of these customers were promised a seamless migration from on-premise to the cloud, only to have their hopes dashed when several of the same problems occurred, along with a few new ones. The process became more about customer survival than customer success.

Over the last two decades, the cloud emerged as an alternative to on-premise solutions and customer survival, liberating companies from acquiring and managing infrastructure, updating applications and creating data models. For Salesforce, customer success became the guiding principle at the heart of the company's culture. Moreover, with the subscription-based business model, cloud vendors have an important incentive to ensure that customers are successful—they can more easily take their data and business to another cloud provider if they are dissatisfied with the service.

Over the last 18 years, Salesforce has led a path to the future in the CRM industry with cloud, social, mobile, Internet of Things and now artificial intelligence technologies. Today, Salesforce serves more than 150,000 companies of all sizes and across all industries, most who have moved from another CRM vendor to achieve customer success. But, it takes far more than technology to deliver customer success. Salesforce is built on a set of core elements that has led to its success:

  • Customer Success
  • Trust
  • Innovation
  • Platform
  • Ecosystem
  • Equality

Customer Success

Too many vendors place their own bottom line in front of their customer's success, leaving customers to find success on their own. Salesforce is, and always has been, a customer success-driven company. It's not about building technology for technology sake, it's about delivering innovative technology that enables companies to get closer to their customers. It's about more than 26,000 Salesforce employees focusing on customers achieving value.

Groupe Atlantic—a major HVAC player in Europe—is a new customer about to begin its trail to success. "As a platform dedicated to customer success, Salesforce will give us the opportunity to improve each customer interaction and enrich the relationships we have with them over the long term," says Kim Vernier, Head of CRM and Business Efficiency at Within the Groupe Atlantic. "By implementing a solution that integrates the entire customer lifecycle, we will be able to increase customer satisfaction and accelerate our development. We are convinced that the new Lightning experience will be a vector of efficiency and will encourage user acceptance."

Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of customer success. Nothing is more important than the trusted relationships Salesforce has with its customers. Salesforce's technology delivers high levels of trust for critical factors such as performance, availability, and security. Salesforce's point of view is that companies must be more transparent than ever with their customers about their information and they must do more to protect users’ information. This enables Salesforce customers to deliver the same level trust to their customers.

U.S. Bank—the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States—is using Salesforce to deliver trusted, intelligent and personalized experiences for its banking customers. “At U.S. Bank, we’re committed to cultivating trust-based, meaningful relationships with the customers we serve,” said Kate Quinn, vice chairman and chief administrative officer at U.S. Bank.

Innovation

Innovation should not be measured based on vendor promises. Innovation should be measured by a proven track record of introducing and delivering relevant innovations to customers time and time again. Vendors who tend to follow often offer messaging about being innovative but cannot back it up with customers achieving business results. For example, some vendors talk about artificial intelligence, but few are actually delivering solutions that are seamlessly integrated into the business workflow. With its Einstein set of AI-powered services, Salesforce has infused AI across its CRM applications to make every customer interaction smarter and more productive without the need for an army of data scientists.

Platform

Fitting into a vendor's pre-defined box or undertaking expensive application development is a false choice. Salesforce was founded on the principle “Make the Complex, Simple, and Make the Impossible, Possible”. In this Age of the Customer, data and connections are rich and complex and require companies to rethink how they deliver customer apps. And it’s not just about the apps themselves--companies must deliver unmatched customer experiences along with every app, and they must do so in release cycles of weeks, not months.

The Salesforce Platform offers unique advantages for building CRM applications:

  • Metadata Model
  • No Code to Low Code to Code Development Tools
  • Mobility

At its core, the Salesforce Platform has an innovative metadata model (something to this day I find many vendors struggling to get right). Simply put, who wants to deal with low-level database calls and interactions if there is no need to do so? Metadata minimizes complexity and enables benefits such as seamless upgrades and quick time to market. Interestingly, there were some vendors I found who would offer upgrade compatibility tools to validate changes before a customer upgraded. With seamless, automatic upgrades three times a year that don't break custom code, Salesforce customers have had no need for these kind of tools.

From a development tools perspective, Salesforce customers have a complete spectrum of programming capabilities, from no-code to low-code to code, allowing them to have more flexibility and capability in building apps and business workflows. And, with Trailhead, our leading-edge learning environment, customers can explore the possibilities of how technology can improve their business and careers. It gets new customers up to speed faster and enables anyone to learn more and do more—for free.

We live in an always-on, multi-device world. Salesforce's “mobile-first” strategy puts us in a unique position to handle both employee-facing and customer-facing mobile applications via a single, integrated platform. Because Salesforce was built from the ground up as a platform, every app has the flexibility and agility needed to keep pace with the business --something customers place premium value on.

Ecosystem

Customers understand that one vendor can't possibly deliver all the capabilities required to achieve customer success. Salesforce also understood this and developed a diverse ecosystem of developers, partners and the AppExchange, the leading enterprise app marketplace. If anyone in the world has a good idea they can build it on Salesforce, and offer it through the AppExchange and give customers immediate access to new functionality.

But it isn't easy to build an ecosystem—others have found out the hard way. Without cloud platform stability, tools and a focus on a specific application domain, such as CRM, it becomes an almost impossible task. I wrote about Salesforce's ecosystem and the impact of it has had on the customer success. Ecosystems are not created equally—it becomes quickly obvious whether an ecosystem and partner community have breath of capabilities to further customer success. Salesforce's growing ecosystem of customers and partners will contribute 1.9 million jobs and $389 billion in GDP worldwide by 2020, according to IDC. And, for every dollar Salesforce makes the company’s ecosystem will gain $4.14.

Equality

Businesses should not just serve shareholders, but all stakeholders—customers, employees, partners, the communities we live in and the environment. That means giving back to the community by donating employee time, adopting schools and helping train young people for the jobs of tomorrow. It also means supporting initiatives around equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity, equality in education and environmental sustainability.

Salesforce's recent research report, “The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business” found that companies who invest in equality and lead with values—such as diversity programs and equal pay—have a competitive advantage over those who do not. The findings indicated that employees are more productive and engaged when their workplace is committed to equality and other values that promote social good. Also, customers want to work with companies that have social responsibility as part of their corporate values.

Many customers are moving from the plodding path of customer survival to an illuminated path in the cloud leading to customer success. Salesforce, guided by its core values and in partnership with its community of customers, developers and partners, will continue to pave the way for those on the journey to customer success.

 

Switching Off For Summer: Advice From The Pool Bar

Summertime, and the living is easy. Or at least it used to be. George Gershwin can probably consider himself lucky to have lived his life well before the smartphone era, when for many of us vacation can end up meaning juggling family and work - and considerably more stress than either of those things can cause on their own.

I don’t mind admitting I am a fan of switching off. I can’t pretend I won’t keep one eye on the world of work, but as a rule, my intention is to keep it at arm’s length. Aside from anything else, I am a firm believer that we’re all more productive for taking time out and broadening our horizons. Certainly, in the world of marketing, there’s a strong argument that you learn more from a good novel than yet another business tome, or worse again an endless email thread about some technical triviality.

That’s why my personal policy is to take control of my technology, and in extreme circumstances, put physical distance between myself and it. I try to keep my laptop in the overhead bin on the plane, and my smartphone in a kitchen or desk draw for at least part of the day.

That isn’t always easy. In its role as the ‘personal digital assistant,’ the smartphone is a fantastic vacation partner. It takes photos, gives us directions, and helps us find a great place to eat when we’re off the tourist trail. So we tend to carry it around with us. If that sounds like you, try turning off your notifications for email, messaging, push and so on. It is remarkable how Pavlovian our response to those beeps and vibrations can be - so don’t take the risk!

Now the case for the defense. I can’t be the only one who prefers to have advance warning of any triumphs or disasters before walking back through the office door. There’s no mistaking the benefits of having the smartphone on hand during a week or fortnight away. It means I can have a decent grasp of the big picture, even if I don’t want the full detail. You could argue that I want to have things both ways, but my attitude probably reveals something interesting about the smartphone generation: we want engagement on our own terms and we prefer to pick and choose when it happens.

We can’t always pick and choose, of course. Some things demand our attention no matter what. But it certainly helps to be aggressive with the filtering process when away from home and trying to spend time with the family (assuming, that is, that you enjoy their company).

Our fellow employees can help in that regard too, and indeed so can the brands and businesses who are lucky enough to be on my phone and from which I am happy to receive native mobile advertising and push notifications. If it’s useful to me right now - like an offer on roaming or FX, then fire away. But try not to interrupt me to tell me about an in-store sale currently 1,000 miles away. You know where I am - please use that information!

Of course, all this relative isolation does mean a mountain of work when returning to base. I’ll be back with advice on that topic right after this cocktail from the pool bar. I promise.

--
Tom Farrell is the VP of Marketing at Swrve. Tom has over 20 years experience in consumer marketing, both with some of the world’s leading brands and in the tech ecosystem that supports them. Tom has been involved in mobile marketing for over six years and has worked with major app businesses to deliver successful campaigns and experiences on mobile. 

Meet the Trailhead Characters: Astro, Codey, and Friends

In 1999, Salesforce changed the mindset of what enterprise software could be. Marc Benioff envisioned making software easier to purchase, simpler to use, and more democratic without the com­plexities of installation, maintenance, and constant upgrades. The logo NO SOFTWARE was created and our mascot SaaSy soon followed. SaaSy brought customers together and cheered them on. Now, like the company, our family has grown.

Our Trailhead characters embrace the fun side of our company and inspire our Ohana to blaze new trails. Each of our characters has a specific job and purpose. Get to know them a little better:

Click to Tweet if Astro is your favorite!

Astro: Your guide to Salesforce

Favorite Badge: Where’s Astro (Archived)

Astro is your friendly guide to everything at Salesforce and helps you become the best at anything you want to do. Warm and welcoming, Astro encourages the Salesforce community to achieve their goals through trying new things, asking questions, and having fun. Curious and always wanting to learn, Astro loves traveling, making new friends, and is always up for an adventure on the trail.

 

Click to Tweet if Einstein is your favorite!

Einstein: Resident genius and future seer

Favorite Badge: Artificial Intelligence Basics

Einstein is everyone’s data scientist. Super quick on his feet, Einstein is a problem solver and helps you learn more about your customers. With his analytical mind, it’s no surprise that Einstein has a passion for learning new things, always expanding on the knowledge he’s already accumulated—it even helps him predict the future. Brilliant and unselfish, Einstein is always ready to help you become more knowledgeable and innovative.

 

Click to Tweet if Codey is your favorite!

Codey: Inspiring builders and makers everywhere

Favorite Badge: Catter (Archived)

It’s hard not to notice Codey—he’s the bear tackling projects and getting his paws dirty, all while having a great time. Codey is a maker and a builder. Whether it’s coding an app on Salesforce, or pouring lattes as a ‘Bearista’, Codey isn’t afraid to get noticed or dive in to get things done. While he may be fearless in the face of challenges (and helps you be fearless too!), Codey isn’t a ferocious bear, and likes giving out bear hugs.

 

Click to Tweet if Appy is your favorite!

Appy: Your guide to the Partner Ecosystem

Favorite Badge: Salesforce Ecosystem

Did you ever have a friend who seems to know everyone? That’s Appy. She’s a great friend to have since she knows a lot about everything Salesforce, and is always happy to help out. But best of all, Appy’s got all the right connections, and loves to connect people together to solve problems. Her energetic and positive attitude draws people in, but her willingness to go the extra mile to help her friends learn and grow makes her friends for life.

 

Click to Tweet if Cloudy is your favorite!

Cloudy: Keeping everyone together and on track

Favorite Badge: Process Automation

Known as ‘the reliable one’, Cloudy pushes you to tap into your own unlimited potential. Cloudy may not be the flashiest of the bunch, but she’s always at the center of the action. Like the cloud she’s named after, Cloudy is always there for you. In her own quietly cool way, Cloudy exudes confidence, and encourages you to overcome challenges and complete goals; she knows you can do it.

How to Get Your Team OOO This Summer

Whether you’re working at a startup or a major corporation, no summer ever passes without employees requesting time off to get out of the office and enjoy a quick getaway. In an annual survey conducted by Project: Time Off, full-time employees are getting more paid vacation days (22.6 as of 2016) now than ever before and they’re using an average of 16.8 of those days too. 

However, not everyone is taking a summer vacay. Some employees might want to save their PTO for the holiday season while others might be part-time team members with fewer benefits. And of course, there’s always the issue of ensuring that not everyone takes off all at once leaving your business looking like a ghost town either. For the few, the proud, the ones who stick around full-time during the summer, here are a few ways you can get your team out of the office and participating in fun activities to celebrate the season.

Go to camp for a month

Remember when you went to summer camp as a kid? Bring the adventures to the office! In July, “Camp MyCorp” is in session at my company and all of our team members are campers. We toast s’mores, get creative with arts and crafts, play games, and decorate desks. It’s an inexpensive way to have fun and get the whole team engaged, with everyone looking forward to the next activity. Organize a scavenger hunt around the office, hit the trails on a “nature” hike (which for many might just mean exploring your neighborhood park), and host a summer camp-themed snack potluck loaded with popsicles, fruit, and bug juice. 

Head on a field trip

If you can’t think up fun activities to do every single workday, consider heading on a weekly or biweekly field trip with your team. Close down for a few hours or opt to do the trip after work and have everyone join you for a wine and painting session, escape room, baseball game, or a trip to a museum. 

Spend some time volunteering

If you’re experiencing a slower month in the office, use the extra time to give back to the community. Not sure what to do or what opportunities are available in your area? Check out VolunteerMatch.org to discover causes and nonprofits near you that could use your passion and a few helping hands. Some ideas to get you started include joining up with Habitat for Humanity to build homes, heading to soup kitchens, reading and offering tutoring services at local libraries, and working alongside animals.

Time for a park day!

Ah, the great outdoors! Get a little sunnin’ and funnin’ going by hosting company picnics at local parks. Encourage your team members to invite family along, call in some food trucks, and participate in fun activities like Frisbee, softball, and hula hooping. Make it a point to return back to the park throughout the summer too. Encourage everyone to join you there for morning yoga classes. Go on afternoon Starbucks runs and head to the park afterward to enjoy your drinks and stretch out. Savor the dog days of summer outdoors, rather than use them to sit in front of the computer and aimlessly Google the day away — everybody will thank you for it!

-- 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

All About the Salesforce MVP Program: Summer ’17 Nominations open NOW

It's time for the Salesforce MVP Ohana to grow again! Our Summer '17 Salesforce MVP nomination period will run now August 7, 2017. Read on to learn about this special program, what we look for in MVPs, and how you can nominate an MVP.

About the Salesforce MVP Program:

The Salesforce MVP program honors and awards exceptional contributors to the Salesforce Community. This special group of Trailblazers has deep product knowledge and embody the spirit of Ohana by actively sharing their expertise to help everyone in the community thrive. In the six years since the program launched, Salesforce MVPs have consistently inspired us with their individual contributions and collaborative innovation. The MVP program rewards are focused on helping MVPs get even more opportunity to help the community, as well as special access and networking with each other and Salesforce executives. MVPs also get premier training and certification so they can always be their best when it comes to product knowledge and

What we look for in Salesforce MVPs:

Salesforce MVPs make exceptional contributions to the community, have a strong understanding of the product and Salesforce ecosystem, actively advocate, and embody the spirit of Ohana.

Since community members are always doing something new and amazing, we don't follow a specific contribution check list. But some great examples of MVP contributions include:

  • Sharing valuable content and insights through books, blogs, social channels, and collaboration groups
  • Helping customers get answers fast on Success Community Answers, and responding to Twitter #askforce posts
  • Dreaming of and building new programs like MVP Office Hours, Mentorship Central, and Community-led Dreamin' events
  • Outstanding leadership of Community Groups and programs
  • Sharing their success stories to inspire the next generation of Trailblazers

There are a few guiding principles that determine eligibility:

  • We award MVPs for their individual contributions, completely independent of where they work.
  • Nominees must have been active in the community for at least a year to be considered for MVP status.

The Community-first Nomination Process:

Selecting Salesforce MVPs is community-first, team sport. The community nominates, current MVPs review and provide feedback, and a variety of internal community stakeholders help finalize the list.

  1. Nominations take place twice a year, in the summer and spring.
  2. Any customer or Salesforce employee can make a nomination.
  3. After nominations close, our current MVPs review each nomination and provide unique and valuable feedback on every nomination based on their real-life experience within their online and local communities.
  4. A diverse team of internal stakeholders from different teams review nominations together. This global team includes Salesforce.org, Alliances and AppExchange, Developer and Admin relations so we can be sure all communities, groups, and regions are fairly represented as we discuss feedback about each nomination.
  5. After all of the above, we create the final list of new MVPs to be awarded.
  6. New MVPs are notified the night before we make the official announcement (watch the blog for the announcement). MVP rewards last for one year from the announcement, and ongoing participation is reviewed annually based on contributions in the last 12 months.

Want to Nominate Someone to Become a Salesforce MVP?

Now that you're familiar with what we look for and how we select new MVPs, we want to hear from you if you know a special Salesforce Community member who consistently goes above and beyond. Nominations for the Summer '17 class will be open now through August 7. Please submit your nomination here.

Want to get to know our current MVPs?

There are so many ways to engage with Salesforce MVPs. Here are a couple places to get started:

How to Explain the Cloud During Small Talk

If you work in technology, you've probably come across the task of attempting to explain what your company does to your friends, family, and even random people you make small talk with at a party. There's one question in particular you've probably come across: "What is the cloud?" So, how DO you explain the cloud

Small talk is inevitable when it comes to meeting people and building rapport. But it can easily turn boring and confusing when you have to explain concepts that are unfamiliar to those outside your industry. Being able to articulate those concepts so the other person can quickly and easily grasp them goes a long way in keeping them engaged and connecting with them. One such concept I have run into trouble with during my small talk conversations with people outside the technology industry has been The Cloud.

But first, some background.

I am fortunate enough to work in the marketing department at Salesforce, and that means I've been able to collect a variety of hoodies, shirts, and other apparel covered in Salesforce logos and branding. I am also grateful that my company has allowed me to work remotely, which allows me flexibility in what I wear. So, I spend most of my days as a walking billboard (hey, our swag is really comfortable and yeah, I'm proud to represent Salesforce).

Occasionally I'll leave the confines of my home office to grab some food or fresh air, and I'll strike up conversations with others because I'm social or desperate for human interaction (or both). And many times it has gone something like this:

Person Not Familiar With Technology: Hey! What's that on your shirt?
Me: Oh, it's a lightning bolt - it represents the new UI for our product. I work at Salesforce.
Person: What is Salesforce?
Me: We're a company that helps businesses connect to their customers.
Person: How do you do that?
Me: Well, we're a cloud-based CRM system that organizes your customer data.
Person: ...I've heard of the cloud but don't really understand it. And what's CRM?
Me: Um... well the cloud is a network of servers...

And then I stumble through a confusing explanation usually involving computers, databases, SaaS models, the internet, security, and products. But that was getting old and I was always slightly embarrassed that I couldn't do a better job communicating, so I decided NO MORE. I've been researching many definitions, and while you can go into lengthy explanations filled with industry jargon (not conducive for enjoyable small talk), I wanted to create a quick, easy answer that anyone could relate to and understand, even if they don't have a great understanding of technology. Here are my new answers, as tested on my family and friends:

What is the Cloud?

The cloud is like a storage facility within the internet. Instead of boxes, you can store software or information and access it anywhere you have an internet connection. The reason this is a big deal is previously you could only access information stored locally (or in one place).

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM system allows you to store information about your customers to make it easier for your employees to sell, service, or market to them.

Again, this is just a super high-level (cloud-level?) explanation so whoever you're talking to can get the basic idea. If they want to dive deeper, you will probably have start to using industry terms and more technical explanations. If all else fails, just make a beeline for the bar and grab another drink to get you through all the small talk.

4 Best Practices for Learning on Trailhead

Trailhead is known as the fun way to learn Salesforce. As a millennial relatively new to both Salesforce and the industry, I am interested in taking advantage of all opportunities to increase my Salesforce knowledge and overall business skills. By combining interactive mini-courses with engaging projects, Trailhead has been a key learning resource as I have worked to build my understanding of Salesforce since joining the company. Here are my four best practices to blaze your trail in the environment that is Salesforce:

1. Focus on the Basics First

 

As you start your Trailhead experience, you may be overwhelmed with the number of options presented in front of you. I suggest starting your journey by doing modules that are tagged as beginner. Though it's good to show initiative and desire to do advanced badges, starting with the basics helps in acclimating yourself with how Salesforce works. For me, I needed to understand what a CRM was. Though I understood the definition you could look up on Wikipedia, I didn't know how it manifested itself in a product offering. The CRM Basics module in the Learn CRM Essentials trail helped show it to me. Trailhead is great at taking complex concepts used throughout the company's ecosystem and explaining them in a relatable way. Decide where you have gaps in your understanding of Salesforce, and focus on doing modules that can fill those gaps in first.

My Suggested First Badges To Earn:
CRM Basics
Salesforce Ohana Culture
Salesforce User Basics

2. Learn Through a Hands-On Approach

 

In some modules, each unit culminates in a multiple choice quiz to test one's understanding of the material, while other units feature hands-on challenges in place of quizzes. These hands-on challenges require a user to go into a functional Salesforce environment called a Trailhead Playground and complete a specific task tied to the lessons learned in the accompanied unit. When I first started working on Trailhead modules, I was nervous to undertake hands-on challenges. The challenges are excellent, however, at walking a user through the step-by-step process behind completing actions in Salesforce. For example, if a user wants to know the steps required to build a report to capture certain fields, the Reports and Dashboards trail walks them through it in a step-by-step manner.

Hands-on challenges present the blueprints a user will need to go forward with the real world tasks they need to accomplish on the job. One of my first assignments when I came to Salesforce was to create a report capturing certain fields of data from various company records. In addition to receiving the support of my manager, I utilized the Reports & Dashboards module to understand how to properly build real-time reports that reflect the data I need. To this day when people ask me how to build reports, I use that very dashboard as a guide on the process behind it.

3. Expand Your Knowledge Base

 

To successfully blaze a trail in Trailhead, the user needs to expand their knowledge past what they may be comfortable with. A successful Trailblazer completes modules and trails across a variety of subjects, in the process showcasing a vast understanding of Salesforce. Although I completed many technical badges focusing on the integration and development of Salesforce's wide product array, the area in which I expanded my knowledge the most was management. Though I may not necessarily be a people manager right now, a Trailblazer completes badges that they believe are important for their growth as an individual. The skills I learned in the Learn Drucker School MBA Essentials trail, for example, are adding benefit for me now as I learn how to manage and be a leader for my cross-country team at NYU.

4. Put in the Work to Become a Trailblazer

 

Becoming a Trailblazer takes time and effort, and it's important to not to let yourself get discouraged along the way. Trailhead is designed to be both engaging and fun, so if a particular module or trail has you feeling frustrated or burnt out, the vibrant Trailhead community is here to help you. Check out the Trailhead group in the Success Community and on Twitter, ask any questions you have and get answers from Trailblazers like you! In the meantime you can set that module aside and start another which teaches something entirely different, if you'd like. Since Trailhead maintains your progress on a trail, you don't have to complete everything in one big swoop. The key is to not slack off on your overall goal of gaining more knowledge. I knew that I was a Trailblazer when I wasn't deterred from learning about Salesforce via Trailhead, despite not understanding a concept the first time through. A person knows they are a trailblazer when they circle back on a concept they didn't get the first time to try to understand it better, because it shows that learning about that particular area of study is valuable and important to them.

My List Of Suggested Trails:
Navigate the Salesforce Advantage
Learn Drucker School MBA Essentials
Get Smart With Salesforce Einstein

Becoming a Trailblazer is a process that takes both time and dedication. It isn't a process that can be completed overnight, and it isn't one that should be rushed through quickly just to get badges or finish trails. Remember, the goal is to learn and develop the skills that are featured in Trailhead. As a millennial, Trailhead was my ticket to gaining knowledge about Salesforce, and was as valuable as my internship in teaching me about the company. Create an account today and begin your journey to become a Salesforce Trailblazer!

This piece is the second in a series that will be released this summer titled “Re-Think: A Millennial's View On Current Technology”. It will highlight the viewpoints of a millennial who has spent the past three years interning at Salesforce, one of the fastest growing and most innovative technology companies in the world. The writer is a current rising senior at New York University's Manhattan campus.

How Cloud Ecosystems Deliver Economic Impact and Innovation

The concept of a technology ecosystem isn't new. Early ecosystems emerged decades ago to help companies develop and run applications on desktop and server computers. Partners in these early ecosystems resold or wrote software to run on computers, installed infrastructure to run software, loaded patches to fix software bugs and kept software versions up-to-date. These services were valuable, but often expensive and time-consuming. Partners had little room to innovate and build value-added intellectual property (IP) for customers.

Now we're in the age of cloud computing. This next-generation technology took away the burden of on-premises software implementation and maintenance challenges, and laid the foundation for a new type of ecosystem provider. With cloud computing providing the foundation, three primary components emerged that separated this new cloud application ecosystem from the old-world, on-premises ecosystem:

  1. A large customer base already “in the cloud” and willing to buy value-added applications and services around a specific business domain (such as CRM, ERP, etc.)
  2. An industrial strength platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for building enterprise applications
  3. A vendor committed to using the same platform as its partners in building its applications

It's no secret vendors that started in the old ecosystem today are struggling because their strategies were driven by legacy economics. Partners' business models are almost entirely oriented around system integration and getting the software to work and stay working. In addition, many legacy tech vendors making the shift to the cloud simply don't have their own applications on their latest PaaS offerings, creating a disconnect with customers and partners alike. Finally, these older technology vendors lack a large, cloud-ready installed base of customers to attract ISVs, with limited apps as proof points and no on-boarding programs to foster new partners (and ultimately create jobs).

Salesforce is an example of how leap-frogging an entire generation of technology — skipping the on-premises, client-server revolution altogether — has paid off.

In the same way Apple created the leading consumer ecosystem build on the iPhone, iPad, iOS and AppStore, Salesforce created the leading enterprise ecosystem built on its cloud-based CRM, app development platform and AppExchange marketplace. In fact, between July 2015 and June 2016 the “Salesforce Economy” accounted for more than 300,000 job postings calling for Salesforce-related skills, ranging from administering Salesforce’s products to complex software development. Veeva, a leader in the global life sciences industry and one of the largest enterprise cloud companies in the world, is built on the Salesforce platform.

A recent IDC study showcases the impact of Salesforce Economy:

  1. Salesforce and its ecosystem of customers and partners will enable the creation of 1.9 million jobs globally from the use of cloud computing between the end of 2015 and the end of 2020.
  2. Over the same period, the benefits of cloud computing accruing to Salesforce customers will add $389 billion in net-new business revenue, or GDP impact, to their local economies.
  3. By 2020, for every dollar Salesforce makes, the company's ecosystem will achieve $4.14.

In the End, the Customer is the Real Winner

Ultimately, the output of an enterprise cloud ecosystem is making customers successful. Customers understand that it takes a village — a vibrant, growing ecosystem with a common foundation, a culture of innovation and access to the tools, solutions and talent — to transform their businesses. Older, on-premise vendors are trying to adapt their ecosystems, but customers and partners may not be willing to wait for their economies to scale.

So, What is a Trailblazer?

You may have noticed a snazzy piece of fashion more and more people are sporting. It’s a soft, black, zip-up hooded sweater with the words ‘Trailblazer’ emblazoned on the front. If you see someone in a Trailblazer hoodie, you’re looking at a person who is a leader, a transformer, an innovator.

At Salesforce, we believe anyone can be a trailblazer -- developers, administrators, sales leaders, marketers, even CEOs.

It’s our mission to empower people to blaze their own trails. We want to inspire and enable people to change the trajectory of their lives and their business, and then to celebrate their successes. That’s why we launched our global Blaze Your Trail ad campaign, showcasing some of our customer Trailblazers. While the campaign’s aesthetic design is a unique National Parks-meets-Salesforce look, at its heart, the campaign’s mission is to highlight Trailblazers.

So, what is a Trailblazer, anyway? If you’re brand new to Salesforce or have never heard of our company, you might not know what a Trailblazer is, and what makes them special. But before we talk about Trailblazers in more detail, we need to take a look at what drives them and makes them so unique.

 

The Age of the Customer is here

Today’s customers are faster, smarter, and more connected with each other than any other time in history. Sellers are no longer in control: it’s now the Age of the Customer, and their expectations have dramatically changed the way we do business. Customers now demand consistent high-value customer experiences both in-person and digitally. They want their interactions and experiences with your company to be effortless, yet highly-personalized and tailored to solve their problems. They want to engage with you on their terms, so companies need to not only be where their customers are, but be relevant at the right times.

Simply put, customers are shaping business strategy, and if you’re not meeting their needs, they’ll go to elsewhere.

That means you can’t sit back, following trends, and watching others innovate and lead the way forward. To get ahead of competitors, you’ve got to be the one leading the way. You need to be a Trailblazer.

 

Salesforce is for Trailblazers.

/treyl-bley-zer/ noun
(1) a pioneer; an innovator; a lifelong learner; a mover and shaker.
(2) a leader who leaves a path for others to follow.
(3) most importantly, a person who builds a better world for others.


Trailblazers are pioneers, innovators, and lifelong learners. They inspire others with their constant innovation, by transforming the customer experience, and by growing their careers. Trailblazers drive change. Let’s look a little closer at what Trailblazers value.

 

The Salesforce Ohana

Trailblazers are a big part of what makes up Salesforce culture—they’re a part of the Ohana (the Hawaiian word for family). The Salesforce Ohana—made up of employees, customers, partners, and communities—are united by a mutual desire to live Salesforce’s core values: trust, growth, innovation, and equality. Guided by mindfulness and intention, the Salesforce Ohana is committed to making the world a better, more equal place.

 

Commitment to Customer Success

For more than 18 years, we’ve focused on one most important thing—our customers' success. This is because we know one simple thing: when our customers succeed, so do we. And that’s what Trailblazers do: they forge paths ahead with new innovations, always focusing on putting their customers at the center of everything they do. Today, Salesforce is partnering with companies of all sizes, in every industry, to connect with customers in new ways. Every day, we see all the amazing things their employees are doing, blazing new trails towards seamless, intelligent, breakthrough customer experiences.

 

Always learning and growing

A desire to keep learning and improving is instilled in our Trailblazers. Whether it’s growing career skills, promoting equality or diversity in the workplace, or looking for new ways to engage with customers, Trailblazers are leading the way in shaping their companies to be better. And the best part is that Trailhead, the fun way to learn Salesforce, empowers everyone to become Trailblazers. With equal access to education and opportunity, everyone can be a Trailblazer, regardless if they’re an admin or a CEO. There’s always a member of the ohana to help along the way.

 

Calling all Trailblazers

The Age of the Customer is only just getting started. Up ahead, we see new trails that need to get blazed, together. We want to empower everyone with the next generation of technology so they can work toward being their best selves. We want to build a Salesforce economy that generates hundreds of billions of dollars in GDP. We want to create millions of new jobs, and help new Trailblazers learn the skills they need to succeed in them. Let’s get to work. Join us and blaze your trail.



Meet the companies who are blazing new trails and find out how you can become a Trailblazer yourself.