Salesforce Anywhere isn't just about collaboration, it's about helping people work better together

Michael Machado, VP of product management at Salesforce talks to Bill Detwiler about Salesforce Anywhere, a new product announced at TrailheaDX 2020 designed to help companies improve workforce collaboration.

Salesforce Anywhere isn't just about collaboration, it's about helping people work better together

In our new work-from-anywhere world, tools to help people collaborate digitally are more important than ever before. At its all-digital TrailheaDX 2020 event, Salesforce announced a new product called Salesforce Anywhere to help companies improve collaboration within their workforce. I had a chance to talk with Michael Machado, VP of product management at Salesforce to get the details Anywhere. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Bill Detwiler: So let's jump right in. What is the new Salesforce Anywhere App and how is it going to help their employees collaborate?

Michael Machado: Yeah, well, I think I like to think of Salesforce Anywhere as a whole new way to experience Salesforce and it really thinks about how to bring the power of collaboration and real time data insights into the Salesforce workflows sales service and marketers go through. So we built a one on one chat, group chat, voice, video, real time alerts, and the ability to bring all that together into your Salesforce experience so you have a seamless workflow now to never leave Salesforce when you're trying to get your job done.

SEE: The new normal: What work will look like post-pandemic (TechRepublic Premium)

Salesforce Anywhere app, add-ons, and third-party integrations explained

Bill Detwiler: So talk about some of the components and how they fit into the Anywhere App, because there's a lot of different parts, add-ons that are going to be available for customers who use it.

Michael Machado: Yeah. So it really starts with how do you get information out of Salesforce? So anytime changes happen in Salesforce you can subscribe to alerts now. End users have a ton of power now to talk to extreme granularity about what they want to know about from Salesforce when it happens right in time. So now you can find information out and use that to actually talk to your team, and we make the seamless transition from data insight to data collaboration. And you can embed records right into your chat very natively. You can use those to then collaborate with your team, find out why a change happened, find out how it impacts your business, and then move right into action. All of this is a seamless experience across mobile and desktop, and it really changes the way end users are experiencing Salesforce.

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Credit: Salesforce

Bill Detwiler: And I know one of the things that you and I have talked about with Anywhere is the integration with video. Tell me a little bit about that.

Michael Machado: Yeah, I'm extremely excited. I came from the voice world thinking about how voice changes the way people interact with business applications, but video goes hand in hand with voice and video when it comes to collaboration. So we can easily move from a one-to-one group chat to adding more and more members to the group chat and actually bringing a swarm of sale or service reps to solve a problem. But sometimes you need to jump on a voice or video call just to kind of hash out the final details, and we make that a seamless integration with new Salesforce video that we're launching, which brings in a partnership we're doing with Amazon Chime so that every customer can have a native video experience right into their collaboration suite.

Bill Detwiler: And there are several partnerships like that, that are being launched or incorporated into Anywhere, right? So you've got a bunch of different components. You've got the video chat component. I know it's not your area of expertise but there is a component partnership with Tanium aimed at IT service desks. So there's a lot of different, I guess, parts to Anywhere. It's one place to bring all these things together, like you said.

Michael Machado: Yeah. I mean, everyone's going through a new normal what it means to work. There's going to be people working from home, there's going to be hybrid work environments where communication's incredibly important, but the jobs you need to get done mean that data needs to be at your disposal no matter where you're working. So Tanium brings in great ITSM use cases where you can have a view into your IT department when you are working from anywhere. But also, we understand that Salesforce video and Salesforce Anywhere brings a lot of chat and video capabilities. But we believe in partnering. So a bring your own video service. We have partnerships with Zoom, for instance, where if someone's got a great relationship with Zoom and they want to use Zoom as a native experience in Salesforce Anywhere, you can have that integration enabled as well.

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Embedded Collaboration with Comments and Chat

Image: Salesforce

Collaboration is critical as companies accelerate remote work and digital transformation plans in response to COVID-19

Bill Detwiler: Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about that new normal. We mentioned it earlier and I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we really are in this work from anywhere kind of an environment, and I know that Anywhere is kind of part of, I guess, a trio of products that Salesforce is announcing talked about has already launched whether it's Salesforce Care or Work.com that all fit into this new, we're not post-pandemic yet, but the world of work that has been happening for a while but now the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and forced companies to adjust to. Maybe talk a little bit about, from a broader context, of how Anywhere fits into Salesforce's efforts to help companies deal with that new normal.

Michael Machado: Yeah. I think we've all been going through a transition over the last even few years about what a distributed workforce really looks like. How do you handle communication across geos, for instance? But what COVID-19 really did change is I went to work on a Friday expecting to show up to work on a Monday in the office at Salesforce Tower. I didn't go to work to Salesforce tower on that Monday. So within a day we had rapid transformation and companies all over the world tried to like look at their business model and say, "How do we react to this new normal?" Collaboration now is dispersed across many applications and low hanging fruit, whatever the easiest way to communicate is, is usually what people adopt. But business process starts to break down when you have people using lots of different tools, some that are approved by IT, some that are not.

And so we wanted to really create an experience that unified the workflow so people didn't feel like they had to adopt a new business process, but made it feel very native, very lightweight, and fast. And so as people had to adapt to this new way of working, whether you're a sales rep and talking to your customers or a manager and trying to make sure your team is still operating efficiently and is being able to adjust, Salesforce Anywhere really gave you a tool set so that you could adapt to this new way of working. And we've been using it internally at Salesforce since February. So we were almost prepared for this in a way before we knew we had to be, and Salesforce Anywhere has changed the way our sales managers work, sales reps work. It's really been great to see everyone really swarm on this product and get excited about what it means for us internally but now giving it to our customers and letting them not only get back to work but change the way they work now that they're in this new atmosphere.

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Credit: Salesforce

Salesforce wants to help people "work together better"

Bill Detwiler: And like a lot of Salesforce's platforms, Anywhere seems to be designed to reach across all those different kinds of platforms and bring collaboration into them like Einstein did or like some of those other products, Customer 360. It really is bringing collaboration tools across the entire suite. So you've got things like the alert subscriptions, you've got records and video, which you talked about, we've got record history, and aggregate sort of bringing everything together. You've talked about you all using it internally. So how important was that? So it's not just a separate thing, I mean, it's going to be in Anywhere app, but it really is something you can use throughout your ecosystem.

Michael Machado: Yeah, that's a great question. And we are at TDX, virtually at TDX. I'm at my home, but anyway.

Bill Detwiler: We're all virtually at TDX year.

Michael Machado: Which is the best community. It's got such an amazing diverse group of professionals in the developer landscape of Salesforce's ecosystem, the admin ecosystem, who really love to take all of our technology and show us how they want to use it. And so what we've actually done is we're thinking about, how can we transform the sales, the service, the marketer's user experience of Salesforce? But we understand that this is a platform company and our developers and our admins are really what extend our capabilities. So everything we're doing we're looking at from a platform landscape. We're thinking about ways that we can take some of our chat capabilities and let people extend that into their own custom applications. But really interesting technology around presence, for instance. Understanding how your team is working, where they are in Salesforce is incredibly powerful but it's also incredibly hard to build.

And so building some of this technology for not only collaboration but also understanding and being able to work together better is incredibly powerful for our user experience but it's also incredibly powerful to give that to our developers. Presence is something that I get pretty passionate about because it wasn't that long ago that you kind of peek over your neighbor's shoulder at your desk and look at what they were working on and they'd have a question for you and you can kind of have that intimate collaboration without really feeling like you had to jump on a call or share your screen. That's what presence really brings and I think you'll see some amazing demos that we're going to be showing at the keynote where you get to actually see two people working together, chatting, following each other, understanding why people are making changes without really having to change anything about what they're doing because of the power of presence, chat, collaborative features, all integrated into one workflow.

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