​Microsoft and Salesforce partner on the 'Internet of customers'

Executives of the two software giants claim the new cloud integration is beyond anything ever imagined and could see a redistribution of wealth

Salesforce and Microsoft claim their new partnership is set to create a stronger connected customer service ecosystem across the board and drive the next evolution of cloud-based marketing solutions.

SalesforceIoT cloud integration with Microsoft is part of a new collaboration between the two systems that will also encompass Salesforce for Office, integration with Sharepoint and OneDrive, integration with Windows10 as well as Wave, PowerBI and Excel Integration.

Speaking at the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Salesforce CEO and chairman, Marc Benioff, revealed the partnership was something beyond neither he or Microsoft’s chairman would have ever imagined more than 20 years ago when the two first met.

“Back then, the PC revolution was just starting,” Benioff said in his keynote speech. “But one of the amazing things that has happened over the years is that with each touch point within the industry, more and more users and more and more services are available. I think as we make this transition into an IoT-based cloud, involving more data, once again the opportunity for more services will become even more.”

According to Microsoft chairman, John Thompson, the partnership will see mobile devices also playing a more pivotal role in providing seamless information about customer touch points and interactions in an automated flow between the Microsoft and Salesforce cloud ecosystem.

“ I think the real opportunity is to change the lives of people everywhere, and that’s because we will make the system available to everyone in the world,” Thompson said. “That will change the distribution of wealth of this planet and that will change the opportunity for every individual in the world to participate in this great future.”

Microsoft was the launch company for Salesforce’s IoT Cloud, which forms part of a suite of three new Salesforce products released including SalesforceIQ and Salesforce Lightning.

According to Benioff, Salesforce’s new IoT Cloud captures customer IoT events and takes action triggers using one-to-one real-time rules, then enables one-to-one customer engagement through the Salesforce Apps. He claimed the new products form part of an overarching strategy to empower better sales strategies and drive more effective management of customer journeys moving forward.

Making it all possible is Thunder, a massively scalable, real-time event processing engine that's part of App Cloud, Salesforce's integrated set of platform services.

“Our customer service platform at Salesforce truly focuses on the customer and sales,” Benioff claimed. “We have had huge breakthroughs in technology and we need to get ready for a new kind of customer success.”

Moving forward, Benioff predicts a US$270 billion spend in the cloud computing market, over 6 billion smartphone users, over 3 billion social media users and 75 billion ‘connected things’ by 2020.

“Already, 1 billion people use Facebook every day,” he said. “We’re more connected than ever before and it’s no longer about an IT revolution, but a customer evolution. It’s no longer about the Internet of Things, but about the Internet of Customers.”

But Benioff highlighted there is still a significant customer gap, with less than 1 per cent of customer data currently being effectively analysed by businesses.

“We’re here to work on customer fidelity, but there’s a problem,” he said. “Even though we’re creating all this data and interactions and we’re doing all this amazing work, there is still an unbelievable gap between our companies and our customers – and that’s the gap that we’re all here to fill at Salesforce.

“We’re here to fill this gap across customer productivity systems across any industry, whether it is healthcare, the financial industry or goods.”

Salesforce has also recently strengthened its partnerships with global brands like Cisco and Western Union. Saleforce’s latest offerings have also played an integral role in strengthening customer engagement for major brands, retailers, social media channels and software companies including the likes of Coca Cola, L’Oréal, TOMS, LiveFyre, Instagram, Maserati, Mattel, Uber, Boomingdale’s, Macy’s, DocuSign and Symantec.

- Azadeh Williams attended Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.

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