By Olivia Cahoon
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) maintains business relationships and strengthens customer strategies for a better business model. As industry practices continuously improve, customers want faster and simpler solutions.
Salesforce is a cloud-based provider of CRM solutions. Founded in 1999, it is a public company that launched with a vision to create a new kind of company that incorporates a technology model pioneered with a cloud platform, pay-as-you-go business model, and focuses on customer service. With 24,000 employees worldwide and headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Salesforce reported a revenue of $6.7 billion for fiscal year 2015.
The Salesforce Customer Success Platform allows companies to connect with customers using modern methods like running their businesses from mobile devices. Customers can also create one to one customer journeys and make smarter, predictive decisions in real time from anywhere. Using these applications, Salesforce helps customers accelerate growth. Today, the company has more than 150,000 customers worldwide.
In 2013, the company launched the Community Cloud, which combines online social communities and next generation portals into a productive and engaging online experience. “Salesforce Community Cloud combines a rich social, mobile, and branded environment with direct integration to business systems and processes,” offers Mike Stone, product marketing senior VP, Salesforce Community Cloud.
The platform is designed to consolidate and extend business processes beyond the company walls. Stone shares, “For example, service cases can be exposed or created within the community—the same case objects that are addressed by the internal CRM system.” The platform allows contacts, quotes, and opportunities to be shared in the community and updated by partners. It enables the community to become a shared environment for members work.
Lighting up The Industry
Salesforce recently launched the Lightning Bolt framework. It enables companies to easily create and implement a broad variety of communities, portals, and websites in a fraction of the time. Based upon the knowledge of functionality and best practices used in different types of portals and communities, Lightning Bolt Solutions is developed by Salesforce strategic partners.
Stone shares that the new framework allows customers to select an industry specific Bolt Solution as a starting point. The customer can then customize it using a drag and drop interface that doesn’t require coding. “At launch, we introduce more than 12 pre-built Bolt Solutions from leading partners including Accenture, Cognizant, and Deloitte,” says Stone.
The Bolt Solutions include a community for insurance agents, store operations, retail store collaboration, lightning commerce, mortgage broker, customer service for manufacturing, patient community, retail audience, supplier marketing community, patient scheduling, retail clientele, retail store operations, and PartnerFirst.
Salesforce received an overwhelming response after they introduced the Lighting Templates for Community Cloud that enabled companies to quickly create online self-service support communities for customers. Since last year, customers use the Lightning Templates to create nearly 1,000 Lightning communities. “Our customers asked us to come up with many more of these templates or a wide variety of different communities and portals. So we created additional templates, and also enabled customers and partners to create their own templates—recast as Bolt Solutions,” says Stone.
Salesforce urges that the Lighting Bolt framework is compatible with all industries but is particularly popular for e-commerce, partner relationship management, health insurance, and financial services. “For example, Accenture has designed a Bolt Solution that facilitates greater insurance agent productivity with the help of Zurich Australia,” shares Stone.
By integrating Lighting Bolt, Salesforce has strengthened its portfolio and found new ways to improve customer experience and enhance engagement. “Partner enthusiasm has been great—we now partner-built Bolt Solutions for franchise management, insurance brokers, social supply chain, social e-commerce, channel sales, healthcare, retail, and more,” comments Stone.
Using the Salesforce ecosystem, developers can leverage Lightning Components to build Bolt Solutions, which have deep business logic and workflow built in. The Lightning Bolt framework is designed to make customer’s experience faster and simpler. All within Salesforce, customers can use the new framework to develop, market, and sell Salesforce Bolt Solutions.
A Faster Solution
Lightning Bolt Solutions include business logic, CRM data integration, and workflow. The solutions are based on industry deep knowledge from partners who have implemented and designed innovative online experiences. “Lightning Bolt makes it easier than ever for our customers to implement their own transformative customer experiences using Bolt Solutions,” says Stone. With its lightning fast new technology, the Lightning Bolt framework will surely help industries to improve their online social communities and next generation portals. SW
Aug2016, Software Magazine