In Conversation with Charles Woodall, Salesforce

Charles Woodall, SVP – Alliances and Channels – APAC at Salesforce was in India recently. In between his hectic schedule, he was kind enough to share his perspectives with me on the rise of digital economies in APAC, the digital fluency in India, and the role played by Salesforce therein, amongst others.

Prabhu: From a Salesforce perspective, what are some of the key pandemic-induced  transformation trends that you are witnessing. How do you see the India market, in  particular?

Charles: Digital is the new norm. Over the past two plus years, digital transformation has  accelerated. For those who have not embraced digital yet, digital disruption is looming ahead. 

The new digital future poses enterprise challenges in reaching and interacting with customers.  Whether it be work or forging connections with customers, hybrid will continue to be the predominant. At Salesforce, customer-centricity is at the core of business. Salesforce platform enables customers to swiftly move into the digital environment, irrespective of  whether they operate in a B2C or B2B environment. Salesforce is focused on an array of  industries, including BFSI and Manufacturing. It has industry-specific Clouds to enable clients  – whether it be BFSI or Manufacturing. 

India is one of the fastest growing markets for Salesforce globally. The rapid growth of India’s  digital economy is unprecedented. Salesforce partners in India have been building new and  exciting use cases to be closer to their customers. These use cases are emerging not just from  urban India, but from non-traditional digital adopters from emerging India. 

Prabhu: Given the digital inflection, digital skills is emerging as a key challenge. How is  Salesforce addressing it?

Charles: The pandemic has accelerated the workplace transformation. More than ever  before, employees now value the opportunity to ‘work from anywhere’. On average, <20% of  employees are looking to return to the workspace. These trends are posing an unprecedented  demand on company culture. It is not just about wages, but rather about culture and values. 

Small businesses can prepare for this new hybrid world by investing in digital transformation,  through Cloud as well as automated processes.

In the new digital economy, digital skills are in demand. Salesforce is committed to addressing  the digital skills imperative. 

Salesforce Trailhead is a self-learning and development platform. It is free-to-access  for anyone seeking to get trained on their digital skillsets.

For Salesforce partners, Salesforce has launched the Partner Learning Camp (PLC). PLC  enables partners to further their capabilities in meeting customer needs in the present  as well as the future.

To enable the digital economy with right skill-sets, Salesforce has launched the  Salesforce Talent Alliance globally. The Talent Alliance connects employers to  Salesforce candidates and brings new talent from universities, as well as from minority  and marginalized communities to truly build a diverse digital workforce. Interestingly,  Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing regions under the Talent Alliance. 

Prabhu: Let’s talk about the Salesforce partner strategy?

Charles: India is one of the fastest growing markets for Salesforce. It is also one of the largest  investment markets for Salesforce. Much of the partner ecosystem growth is centered around  India. For instance, Salesforce partners, such as WIPRO and Cognizant are undertaking  significant digital transformation initiatives, not just in India but globally. 

Through the course of the pandemic, digital transformation initiatives have significantly  spiked, and this, in turn, is translating into significant opportunities for Salesforce partners.

Mid-market businesses are a key growth driver for the Indian economy. Given how the  pandemic has accelerated enterprise digital transformation, there are significant opportunities and benefits for mid-market enterprises in embracing technology and  preparing for a digital-first future. Salesforce is furthering the mid-market businesses through  broadscale enablement.

Lastly, Indian Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) have navigated the pandemic, and  leveraged technology for productivity, revenue generation, and increased  employee/customer satisfaction. Salesforce is enabling the rapidly growing SMB segment  with meeting evolving market and customer needs, and equipping them with the right digital  capabilities.