SAN FRANCISCO, November 25th – There’s hardly a need to say that an event organized by a giant like Salesforce.com would be gargantuan in scope and influence. This year’s major event of the SFDC world has been everything you’d expect it to be, and even more, with 171,000 people physically present at the campus, and estimated 13 million interested online. Among the celebrity participants were U.S. President Barack Obama, Apple’s Tim Cook, as well as the GoT star Emilia Clarke. Yet Dreamforce is not just a huge party – it’s one where vitally important insights are exchanged. It’s impossible to cover everything in one article (in fact, Salesforce themselves only scratched the surface in 4 blog posts). Here, we’ll look at what pharma professionals need to know about Dreamforce 2019.

The frenetic pace of change over the past several years might have made enterprises forget about the reason for it all. Technical innovations are not there just to disrupt the routine – at the core is the dream of better customer experience and engagement.

The new possibilities can, thus, be grouped into “layers” – data, integration, intelligence, engagement, experience. As these layers get progressively closer to providing the actual experience (moving from company back office to the customer), they present the corresponding capabilities. Thinking in terms of capabilities (not trend or functionalities) is one of the points emphasized at the event, be it about data visualization, chatbots or multichannel.

The quest for CX: chasing the horizon

Customer experience was clearly at the center, even if not mentioned explicitly. Responding to the immediate customer needs requires companies to ensure they work in a truly integrated way. Services, sales, marketing – businesses will need to align all these if the CX goal is to be attainable. According to stats mentioned, about 84% customers value experience over the products themselves, and about 2/3 are ready to pay for personalized CX. This translates to several changes that need to be made to the entire way of thinking about business processes.

The first step is to break silos, both in data and in workflows. A dialog between departments will allow to work in a “lean” manner, providing meaningful experiences at every touchpoint. This effort involves the whole architecture:

To put it directly, customers don’t really want to know they are interacting with different company divisions at different touchpoints. If you, as a customer, interact with “Brand X”, you expect it to be the same identity no matter what the nature of your interaction is – purchase, getting help or information.

What it means for pharma: Ever since the introduction of the “beyond-the-pill” concept, there has been talk of transforming healthcare into something that other industries have started to implement: a holistic experience. With the discussion about EHR, patient data, mobile health and other apps, HCP-pharma-patient communication, managing adherence, these things were revolving around patient experience. Now, with Salesforce Health Cloud, we’re starting to see this paradigm coming alive. Enterprises will most likely have to either pioneer or adapt to this emerging patient journey, and the first option is definitely more fruitful.

Integrate!

The problem of providing a holistic customer experience along the value chain is first tackled with breaking silos in both data and workflows. Why do these exist? Historically, different activities (think customer relationship management, support & service workflows, marketing, sales) have been conducted on separate platforms. A typical transaction, it has been calculated, crosses about 35 tech processes.

The general movement now is towards unification and a “single source of truth” when it comes to data or workflows.

What it means for pharma: Major pharma-oriented platforms like Veeva Suite (already a Salesforce.com partner) are moving towards a deeper integration of the various products and services. At the same time, it is beneficial to think of integrating the currently used systems into a single whole before adopting, say, AI or other distinct technologies. This is one of the reasons why we at Viseven have integrated our eWizard content authoring solution with Veeva Vault as close as possible.

Data excellence: Customer 360 and Tableau

On a purely practical level, Salesforce.com already has something to suggest to bridge the gaps. Ensuring data integrity was in the center of the opening keynote by Marc Benioff, CEO and cofounder or Salesforce – and the announced Customer 360 Truth is intended as the answer. This platform will unite customer data across all the touchpoints along the non-linear customer journey into a single 360-degree view, with universal Salesforce ID for each customer.

At the heart is integration of various Salesforce platforms (Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud & Commerce Cloud) into a SSOT (single source of truth). In this way, enterprises get the possibility to track and manage interactions across not just different channels but different modes of interaction.

Additionally, with the acquisition of the Tableau data visualization tool, it is hoped that data culture will become more established in organizations, as the enterprises will not have to rely on dedicated specialists to manage complex data calculations.

What it means for pharma: The accent on customer data is not new in pharma communications. Notably, Veeva have encouraged the use of custom MyInsights dashboards for improved data visualization. In the coming months, we can expect that the industry will strive to integrate insights obtained across various channels. However, in some points this is likely to trigger the issues of privacy and sensitive data many more times, and the question will be solved at local levels. The progress is definitely not to halt, though.

The power of AI, once again

AI is being demystified, and its capacities are becoming clearer. Salesforce introduced Einstein Analytics / Einstein Voice about a year ago, and with the recent improvements Einstein is becoming ubiquitous thoughout the Salesforce universe. Einstein voice assistant, for example, can be asked (in voice) to analyze a customer or lead, or retrieve data, as shown in an amazing demo at the event:

Einstein is to enhance the functioning of different Salesforce solutions, including (and not limited to) the Customer 360 Truth mentioned above.

At the same time, with Einstein Voice Skills, voice feature can be embedded into any application in the nearest future.

What it means for pharma: There already have been experiments with AI in the general heathcare field, and companies are taking notice. Once AI analytics become available in the CRM, and voice in apps, things can get widely different. For example, AI may suggest building promotional content, while voice assistants can provide added value to the customers.

Trailblazers

The event also celebrates the community of innovative enterprises around Salesforce that drive innovation along the lines envisaged or opened by Salesforce itself. The title “trailblazer” is a way to appreciate contributions that have the potential to transform certain fields.

The Trailhead GO initiative, jointly launched by Salesforce and Apple provides a free mobile app to learn business, tech and soft skills – thus fostering innovation.

What it means for pharma: The landscape of mobile apps conceivable (and buildable with Salesforce) is expanding, so life sciences companies can now count on a wider range of possibilities when it comes to custom applications. Also, with the new possibilities for low-code and no-code app building, the power will increasingly belong to those with original initiatives – not just impressive starting positions.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

A major part of what makes Salesforce corporate culture noticeable is how they recognize the enormous weight they already have on the society. Sustainable Development Goals include ambitions to eliminate social problems like poverty and hunger, care for available education, affordable clean energy, etc. (full list here).

Salesforce encourages everyone around to make these goals attainable by 2030 and suggests several practical steps.

What it means for pharma: Good public relations are part of communication, and trust is crucial for making clinical decisions in favor of (or against) a particular product. A number of enterprises have included information on their participation in humanitarian or eco-friendly initiatives as part of their key messages.

The need for reskilling

With the shifting accents and widening horizons, the workforce need to adapt, too. As mentioned earlier, data visualization has reduced the load on the employees supposed to decipher the data, but has come up with new requirements for decision makers, who now have many more factors to guide them at hand. This is just one example. Technology only becomes meaningful when there is workforce qualified to use it, so the problem of reskilling is a major one. Increasingly, as yesterday’s technical difficulties get eliminated, the soft skills come to the surface.

What it means for pharma: Several years ago, a trend of appointing Chief Digital Officers (and similar positions) swept pharma enterprises, and the development was justified. The current situation, when more integrated digital environments are being set up, there will be need for real digital culture within organizations, on global-to-local scales.

There are numerous ways in which the pharma & life sciences world is affected by what was discussed at Dreamforce. These are no longer limited to CRM activities. Analytics and, notable, content, are the adjacent field of transformation. Being directly involved with Salesforce and Veeva, we at Viseven are working towards the same goals, bringing more value to the customers. This is why we ensure that our content authoring solution, eWizard platform, is interconnected with major systems, notably Veeva Vault, and is ready for new features, as well as the new way to produce digital content. The future is never tomorrow, it’s always the next moment.

Want more on how Viseven can build upon the current new possibilities, enhancing your digital organization? Book a meeting with our expert in the field, Dr. Kenneth Sanchez, who attended the event!