September 29, 2021 By Al Jenkins 3 min read

The expanding expectations of customers and employees isn’t a new phenomenon. New expectations have always driven businesses to transform and address new challenges while creating new opportunities for growth and acceleration. But today’s world is different and we find ourselves at a crossroads magnified by the pandemic and unforgiving of those businesses holding on and hoping things will go back to the way they used to be.   

But, businesses looking forward, embracing challenge and committing to real transformation are the ones that continue to separate themselves from their competition. They are emerging as today’s Modern Businesses and they will be best positioned to attract the most valuable customers, loyal employees and committed partners. 

This new business dynamic—with shifting priorities, ever changing market conditions and emerging business models—has offered IBM a chance to reimagine and expand our annual The State of Salesforce report. This year, in our 10th edition, we look forward and we share insights into how C-level leaders around the globe see Salesforce, its expanding portfolio and how it enables a modern approach to business leadership. 

Explore The State of Salesforce: Future of Business 2021-2022  

Below I’ve shared a summary of the three new rules shaping the future of business—rules that will guide creation of competitive advantage and engage your customers and employees across the world. I hope you will find this summary useful and I encourage you to read the full report and dive into our research, expert opinions and guidance. 


Rule #1: A modern business requires modern ways of working

Modern ways of working consist of several areas like cultivating culture, ways to foster connectivity, policies, technology and of course, world class talent. Employees today are working differently, with new tech that engages, informs and builds connection and collaboration. Building a tech-savvy, flexible digital workforce is, and will continue to be, a top challenge and an opportunity for businesses in 2022 and beyond. Business leaders will need to embrace cloud portfolios like Salesforce and Slack to design smarter, more intuitive systems to expand their talent strategies and employee enablement efforts.  

Slack presents a new opportunity to engage your employees and solicit feedback from them in a very conversational way, similar to how they communicate outside of work. We believe investing in this type of conversational, collaborative platform is an important wave of the workforce of the future and will have a significant impact on the ability of businesses to attract, retain and empower a dynamic and diverse workforce. It will connect your business, employees and customers to the information and experiences that matter most.  

AI investments in customer channels continue, with emerging investments in employee collaboration and personalization—the fastest future growth area for AI and automation is in Collaboration, up +81%.
– The State of Salesforce: Future of Business Survey, 2021


Rule #2: A modern business is an intelligent business

Workflows in the generic sense are processes. They are simply how things get done in your business. But intelligent workflows are predictive, automated, agile and transparent. And the more you expand, the more intelligent your business becomes. Modern businesses need to take a holistic view and evaluate their entire process end-to-end, identifying points of friction and applying AI and business intelligence strategically to create seamless, flexible experiences across the enterprise. 

Many business leaders we work with express the most interest in technology-infused workflows because they view this as one of the most important competitive advantages for them in the next few years. Investing in intelligent workflows on a platform as robust and expansive as Salesforce will create meaningful and continuous value and improved experiences for your customers and employees.  

Salesforce is more than a CRM—it is a platform connected to core business processes enabling broader transformation. +80% of respondents believe Salesforce is important for delivering AI and process automation.
– The State of Salesforce: Future of Business Survey, 2021


Rule #3: A modern business builds community

The future of business depends on the unique value of concentric communities interlocking technology, ideas and capabilities that drive maximum value for customers. When those communities connect, the ecosystem expands and customer value increases. Salesforce is a terrific example of this rule and Trailhead, the AppExchange and the broader partner network all work in concert to create incremental value for customers.   

There are many examples of industries leaning on the Salesforce ecosystem and embracing new partnerships and business models as they were forced to become digital overnight throughout the pandemic, Governments, healthcare providers, retailers were, and continue to be, looking for new ways to serve their constituents, patients, and customers. The constantly evolving business requirements for innovation, speed, and flexibility mean that Modern Businesses will continue to lean on their communities and ecosystem capabilities to drive value-based experiences. 

As market disruptions force businesses to adapt, many are leaning on the Salesforce platform. 8 out of 10 C-level leaders believe Salesforce transforms business models—while half of those think it is essential.
– The State of Salesforce: Future of Business Survey, 2021

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