Big news, small news: Salesforce's Canadian investment heightens the importance of creating self-sufficient Salesforce customers
Recently Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Salesforce's new headquarters in San Francisco as Marc Benioff announced Salesforce's commitment to invest $2.5 billion dollars in their Canadian business through 2022.
If you're in the technology ecosystem, this is both big news and small news. It's big news for the obvious reason that the investment will unleash a wave of both job creation and heightened innovation in Canada. It also happens to be small news for those who already view Salesforce as a titan in their industry, the world of tech, and business at large. Acquisitions and innovation have placed Salesforce in the leading technology position in both B2B and B2C categories. What was once a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is now an end-to-end business application platform with customers across every line of business and vertical. If Salesforce hasn't been on your radar, this announcement underscores the need to brush up on the technology landscape; be it as an individual looking for in-demand jobs, or a Canadian business looking to grow. You haven't missed the bus yet, but you better start running.
What's creating the demand for such a large investment by Salesforce in Canada?
The accessibility of cloud-based software platforms, like Salesforce, has transformed how organizations implement and adopt technology. Salesforce allows companies of any size to leverage enterprise-grade software, which was once only available to organizations who could hire the “big guys” to deliver multi-year, multi-million dollar transformation projects. It's cheaper, faster to implement and easier to customize. Because of this, companies are able to adapt the platform more easily and build high-value applications that overcome their biggest challenges. While that's great news for Salesforce, it presents a very real challenge in finding someone to implement and manage this technology. In fact, in 2016 Salesforce predicted that 28,208 jobs would be created in Canada through 2022 to meet the growing demand for Salesforce implementation and administration. That was before Benioff's recent announcement, so one can imagine that number climbing higher. As much as Traction would like to create all these jobs, that's not going to happen. Traction currently has 54 open positions in Canada, and has created 300 jobs since 2014. That's a lot of jobs, but it's not 30,000. And Salesforce? They have even fewer open positions in Canada: 49.
If that's the case, who are these people, where are they going to work and who's going to train them?
They're going to work everywhere - in every Canadian business as dedicated Salesforce administrators. There is just one complication to this vision; the shortage of trained Salesforce administrators. Training and education is going to need some serious attention to supplement current resources like Salesforce Trailhead and our own customer and employee enablement program, Traction University. And here's where things are going to have to change rapidly. Client enablement, helping companies develop the skills and expertise to effectively manage their own Salesforce instance, is the most sustainable option to ensure the supply of qualified administrators will be able to meet this growing demand.
Learning from one of Canada's fastest growing companies
Canada Drives began their Salesforce journey two years ago. At the time, they had one Salesforce developer. Wanting to undertake a transformation project that included Salesforce as a central component, they quickly realized that they would be overly reliant on outside consultants. So, they started a project that spun convention on its head with a company that specialized in the unconventional. Traction helped Canada Drives develop the training and strategy to run their own Salesforce practice. Following their enablement, Canada Drives now has a team of 21 full-time Salesforce employees.
“The growing presence of technologies like Salesforce in businesses across the country is stimulating the need for more skilled employees to implement and manage the software. Canada Drives is the perfect example; to meet customer expectations, we needed to consider people, process and technology equally when developing our growth strategy.” - Cody Green, Founder & Co-CEO, Canada Drives
This is where Traction is hoping to make a real difference that doesn't solely contribute to our own growth. We want to create new job opportunities to meet the expected need. With over 600 Canadian customers and counting, Traction is adapting our model to ensure we do our part in enabling each and every one with a dedicated Salesforce team, just like Canada Drives.
“If your organization is investing in technology, do not underestimate the impact of internal training and skills development on overall success”Cody Green, Founder & Co-CEO, Canada Drives
The traditional SIs may say we are crazy and working ourselves out of a job; but managed services are not going to address the development of talent and skills required to support this technology revolution. For Traction, Benioff's announcement manages to be both big news and small news. It's big news because our dedication to client enablement has become that much more important. It's small news because it changes nothing about who we are and how we work. It's just business as usual.
image credit: Marc Benioff (Twitter)