October 4 by Eric Dreshfield

Salesforce kicked off the 16th annual Dreamforce with an inspirational keynote address featuring Marc Benioff, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Salesforce. In what has traditionally been a showcase for new launches and features on the world’s largest cloud-based CRM, was instead a celebration of trailblazers, partners and customers. Benioff used the platform to show gratitude to all the users around the globe that have helped make change happen, not just in their companies, or for the platform, but also the positive change they’ve made in the communities around them.

5 Companies Shaping the Next Era in Tech

Benioff talked about how we are all moving forward and helping transform society through the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a message he has spoken on before. Here are 5 examples of companies: Brunello Cucinelli; PepUp Tech; Unilever; Marriott; and United Way; that are all working in different ways to reshape the future.

1. Brunello Cucinelli

Renowned fashion designer and Italian luxury clothing manufacturer, Brunello Cucinelli prides himself on promotion philanthropy and humanistic capitalism. His brand is known for donating 20% of its profits. “Let’s use the most innovative technologies that the universe has given to us, but let’s use them in a considerate way.” He is partnering with Salesforce to leverage the 360-degree view of the customer to create a “white glove experience” for everyone who engages with his brand whether online or at one of the many available retail locations. Brunello says: “The great dream of my life has always been to work for the moral and economic dignity of mankind.”

Video courtesy of Salesforce and Brunello Cucinelli

2. PepUp Tech

The Trailblazer receiving the biggest audience reaction was the nonprofit PepUp Tech. PepUp Tech was founded by Salesforce MVPs Rebe de la Paz, Stephanie Herrera, and Shonnah Hughes, along with Salesforce employee Selina Suarez. The four founders each overcame a tremendous amount of adversity in their own lives, and they created PepUp Tech to create a pathway for others to succeed and benefit from what they’ve learned. “There are so many communities across this country where there are bright motivated individuals who would be a tremendous asset to our entire industry, but they don’t have the resources, the allies, the connections to break into tech.” This nonprofit has seized upon the recent Salesforce model of upskilling and enhancing career trajectory through knowledge and certification, creating courses and training to help inspire individuals to learn about computer science and technology and ultimately gain access to new career opportunities. They are using the platform to reshape the workforce and reshape diversity. As Shonnah states, “A diamond is just a stone until it is unearthed. We go and try to find those diamonds and polish them, so people will take notice.”

Video courtesy of Salesforce and PepUp Tech.

3. Unilever

Unilever brought on Global CIO Jane Moran to help deliver technology to the organization and help bring their systems into the 21st century. At the heart of the challenge was bringing the technology of the back office to the front office and ultimately closing the gap between CRM and ERP. She sought to put the power of the technology into the hands of the people who use it, which was no small task considering Unilever is comprised of 400+ brands across 190 different countries. “We needed to shift from a project-based way of working to a platform-based approach to really enable digital for the organization,” providing digitally native and intuitive tools, something that everyone could understand and use. By doing so they knew they could deliver personalized and relevant brand experiences with their consumers, drive efficiency and profitability and ultimately more success. Unilever hopes these changes will help them decrease their overall environmental impact and improve their social impact, creating a unified brand that consumers recognize and love.

Video courtesy of Salesforce and Unilever

4. Marriott

Marriott, in the hospitality industry, thrives on its ability to create a tremendous customer experience. By partnering with Salesforce, they have been able to completely reshape that view and brand experience. Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, explains “Technology will never replace the human touch of hospitality. But a warm smile coupled with technology to deliver something that is spectacular, that’s a double win.” Salesforce is allowing them to innovate and execute like never before. But the advantage of Salesforce is twofold. It has helped reshape their employees’ day to day as well. CEO and President Arne Sorenson feels the partnership has allowed them to provide a “strong focus on building careers for people. A strong focus on empowerment. A strong focus on opportunity.” The philosophy is if they can take care of the associates, the associates will take care of the customers and everyone wins.

Video courtesy of Salesforce and Marriott

5. United Way

The nonprofit United Way exists to create conditions to help people live better lives. But, as CEO Brian Gallagher explained, “Digital technology is blowing apart all business models and speeding everything up.” They needed a new way to connect people at scale in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Enter Salesforce. AI and personalization allow them to connect with benefactors around the world with charities they care most about and show them the impact their contributions are making in the lives of others. “When you focus on other people, great things happen,” explains Orvin Kimbrough, CEO United Way of Greater St. Louis. “When you fight for those who are the most invisible, great things happen. When you meet donors where they are, and you help them tap into their imagination about what’s possible and you give them a platform on which to engage, amazing things happen!”

Video courtesy of Salesforce and United Way

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