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Summary

Few would argue against digital transformation and innovation being good things to do, but what they might mean in the context of each individual enterprise is wide open to argument. My view is that if they are not centered on the customer, the likelihood is few benefits will accrue.

Salesforce ignites co-innovation to support purposeful digital transformation

Many organizations seek outside help to inject some outside-in inspiration, and a growing number of Salesforce's largest customers have turned to the Ignite team, the company's co-innovation management group, to inject some life into their thinking. After all, Salesforce has a history of innovation and is recognized on an almost annual basis by Forbes magazine as a leading innovator.

In recognition of this, the Ignite team has taken the lessons learned at Salesforce and is applying them in a structured way for their most valuable customers. The co-innovation practice helps customers apply five principles:

  • Build a more human company – by applying design thinking

  • Ignite change from within – by creating an environment where everyone is encouraged to participate in ideation

  • Bring together art and science – to understand the art of the possible

  • Create a culture of insight and nimble expertise – to foster continuous innovation

  • Never stop innovating – one of the core attributes of the customer-adaptive enterprise

When evaluating ideas, the practice looks at them from three angles: the human to determine what is desirable, the technical to determine what is feasible, and the business in terms of viability. Typically, the practice will work with a cross-functional team and a mix of business, IT, and user experience design practitioners so that the three angles are fully addressed.

Customers aren't charged; neither is the team rewarded on a commission basis. By offering these services, Salesforce also gains deeper insights into the challenges its key customers face. Those are worth their weight in digital gold to Salesforce and provide a good lesson for other enterprises seeking to become truly customer-adaptive.

Appendix

Further reading

Salesforce Customer Success Platform – Through the Omnichannel Lens, IT0020-000238 (December 2016)

"Watson and Einstein – creating the enterprise nervous system," IT0020-000253 (March 2017)

Author

Jeremy Cox, Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement Practice

jeremy.cox@ovum.com

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