Back in 1999, when the internet was still in its infancy, Salesforce was founded with an ambitious goal: to disrupt the traditional software business by moving everything to the cloud. Back then, the idea of online shopping and apps was still largely in the realm of science fiction, and our first customers were companies that were willing to be bold and explore a new technology and business model.
It’s hard to imagine life without the cloud—a world without iTunes, Fitbit, Spotify, or LinkedIn. Salesforce has used the power of the cloud to create new ways for businesses to connect with their customers, and help them make smarter decisions to fuel their growth and success. All these years later, the cloud is now broadly recognized as a global economic engine driving new innovations, business models and industries.
But as everyone and everything becomes smarter and more connected, there remains an incredible opportunity for businesses to dive deeper into the cloud and the tremendous business success it can bring. Last year, IDC found that spending in public cloud accounts for less than 5% of total IT spend and 15% of total software spend today.
Forrester projects that software delivered via the cloud is set to rise significantly this year, with $351 billion USD spent worldwide in 2017. And in Canada, small businesses are getting in on the trend: 46 per cent of them are using at least one cloud service. But numbers alone do not tell the story. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible, and it’s imperative that business and government continue to find competitive advantage through strategic investments in the cloud.
It starts with the low hanging fruit: operational efficiency. So much of today’s IT costs are tied up in the maintenance of legacy systems and routine upgrades—efforts that together diverted 71% of IT spending in 2015, according to IDC. It’s been proven time and again that cloud investments are well worth the upfront costs. On average, Salesforce customers have experienced payback from their technology in 13 months or less. For businesses looking for ways to work more efficiently, cut costs and make life easier for employees by connecting them to each other and their customers, the cloud is an ideal place to start.
As compelling as cost savings are, it’s a benefit that’s easily overshadowed by the potential to use cloud technology to drive real-time insight from customer data. With 90 per cent of the world’s data created in the last year alone, organizations that don’t mine insights from their data will be eclipsed by those that figure out how to innovate effectively. This applies to every industry, from banking to retail to manufacturing to healthcare. Change and adaptability are paramount in this competitive age of the customer.
A good example of this can be found with one of our customers, a Canadian-based airline. Rather than looking for a quick fix to their data shortcomings, they drilled down into how they could use the information gathered throughout the organization to build better relationships with their customers. This meant considering all stakeholders beyond their passengers—including pilots, flight attendants, baggage personnel, mechanics and ticketing agents. Now, because Salesforce dashboards can be accessed from a variety of devices and well beyond ticketing desks, employees across the company can quickly tap into customer data to make decisions that will solve problems and enhance the customer experience.
The benefits of cloud also go well beyond the walls of any one company. Canada is a country with many advantages: a population that’s hungry for innovation, world-class colleges and universities, and thriving tech hubs. By embracing the cloud, now more than ever, businesses are primed to stay relevant and competitive in today’s digital economy.
The good news is this message is resonating in Canada with its business leaders and political leaders alike. With a Federal Government committed to tech innovation, Canada is poised to continue to grow and innovate.
It’s incredible to look at how much we’ve accomplished since we launched Salesforce 18 years ago and to see so many of the world’s biggest organizations succeed through the power of the cloud. This will be a major focus at our annual Salesforce World Tour in Toronto on April 20.
But let’s not let that spirit of boldness and innovation slip away. Businesses have much to gain by continuing to invest in the cloud. The technology is still in its infancy, and I for one can’t wait to see what the next 18 years will bring.
Rich Eyram is Salesforce’s country manager for Canada.