“We Firmly Believe That India Will Always Be An Important Market For Salesforce”

“We Firmly Believe That India Will Always Be An Important Market For Salesforce”

Salesforce has been experiencing robust growth and steadily expanding its footprint across India. The company's strong focus on innovation, customer success, and strategic partnerships has enabled it to build a robust ecosystem that supports businesses in their digital journeys. During the exclusive interaction with DT, Arun Kumar Parameswaran, SVP and Managing Director at Salesforce, India, revealed company’s future plans and key trends that are shaping the industry.

DT: How did Salesforce India perform in the CY 2023?

Arun: As per our filing with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ Registrar of Companies, in 2023, we saw a total revenue rise of over 50% to over ₹6000.3 crore in the year  ended 31st March from the previous year. Last year, we successfully expanded our portfolio by winning customers such as Air India, Atomberg, Ather Energy, NIBAV Lift, and Ampere, among others, further strengthening our presence.

We had also announced the expansion of our Center of Excellence in Hyderabad in order to better service our growing customer base. Additionally, we revealed plans to expand our Bengaluru office and are actively recruiting talent across various functions, spanning technology and product development, sales, and business support. Currently, we have over 10,000 employees in India, strategically distributed across Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurugram, Pune, and Jaipur.

In 2024, we will continue driving transformation for customers with a stronger industry focus, and are fully dedicated to supporting India's economic growth through our role as a trusted digital advisor to businesses across the country. At the forefront of the AI revolution, we are also brilliantly positioned to deepen India’s reputation as a global tech leader. At Salesforce, we’ve been investing in safe, responsible AI for over a decade — with Trust at the center of everything we do.

DT: What are your expectations in terms of business performance and market sentiments in 2024?

Arun: We at Salesforce are committed to fostering a culture that encourages collaboration and continuous learning. Our aim is to create an environment that encourages growth and exploration, ultimately contributing to the broader landscape of India. Similar to the revolutionary strides seen over the previous 25 years, we anticipate that India will make major technological progress in the following year while riding the growing wave of AI. We firmly believe that India will always be an important market for Salesforce, and our strategy reflects our commitment to addressing challenges with greater significance.

Gartner expects that, by 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used generative AI and/or deployed generative AI-enabled apps in production environments, up from less than 5% in 2023. AI platforms will propel the use of AI-driven digital assistants that will permeate every organizational layer, with executives leveraging AI insights for strategic decisions and frontline staff depending on AI for daily tasks. Business verticals, from sales forecasting market shifts to HR optimizing talent acquisition, will experience a profound AI-driven metamorphosis. By 2025, AI won't be an auxiliary tool but the core around which successful businesses revolve, marking an era of unparalleled transformation.

DT: Could you please tell about two major tech trends that will dominate in 2024?

Arun: AI will transform the tech industry in three big ways. Firstly, AI will be infused at every layer of product roadmaps and platforms to bring value to customers. This is as true for SaaS companies as it is for semiconductor and gaming companies. AI will also impact the very nature of development and how these products are built. Through augmentation of mundane coding tasks, developers can boost their productivity and ability to focus their skills on the gnarliest problems. Finally, AI will be felt through enhanced productivity within these ever-changing business models. In short - AI will touch every aspect of the tech industry and the markets they serve.

In 2024, the tech landscape is poised for transformative trends: Generative AI and Sustainable Technology. Generative AI transcends its role as a tool, becoming a creative companion, enhancing human experiences and fostering meaningful business connections. In the realm of GenAI, machines tackle intricate tasks, fueled by advancements in machine learning and natural language processing. GenAI goes beyond cutting-edge technology; it's about enriching the human experience and fostering efficient, meaningful business connections. We will see Semantic queries reshape customer interactions, empowering businesses for rapid, personalized service. We will come across more robust data governance frameworks, establishing clear policies for data collection, storage, and usage, and continuous monitoring and auditing of training data. We will also see a new era of cyber defense take shape to address new threats.

DT: What is your current channel strength and how are you planning to strengthen your partner network in 2024?

Arun: The significant shift in the last few years involves global partners recognizing the immense potential in the Indian market. Channel partners play a crucial role in fostering the growth of manufacturers and establishing trust with their customer base. Through our Simplify Partner Engagement solution, we can provide suppliers and channel partners with immersive digital experiences. This allows channel partners to gain insights into orders, service cases, sales agreements, and rebates, and facilitates collaboration on demand forecasting, enhancing overall engagement.

Looking ahead to 2024, our focus is on fortifying and expanding our partner network through collaboration, knowledge exchange, and co-innovation. We aim to onboard new partners aligning with our vision, enhancing the diversity and strength of our ecosystem and turning service into a revenue centre.

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