Salesforce is rapidly expanding its presence in India. Recently, the San Francisco headquartered enterprise software maker announced the opening of a centre of excellence in Hyderabad. It plans to add over 1,000 jobs in Hyderabad by 2020 to tap into the highly skilled technology talent in the region. The new centre will provide services such as application support, incident management, escalation management, operation functions and back-end services.
In recent years, Salesforce has seen steady growth in India, with clients like Bajaj Finserv, Paytm, Snapdeal, Inmobi and Urban Ladder using its solutions. “India is really a big market and there is potential for further growth. Gartner projects that the public cloud services market here is expected to grow 30.4% in 2016 to total $1.26 billion,” Atul Nanda, senior vice-president, Global Customer Success, Salesforce, tells Sudhir Chowdhary & BV Mahalakshmi in a recent interaction.
How important is India market for you from a business point of view?
Salesforce is the 6th largest enterprise software company and the fastest growing top 10 software company in the world today. Companies of every size and industry rely on the Salesforce Customer Success Platform to help them connect with their customers in a whole new way.
Specific to India, Salesforce is rapidly expanding its presence here. As a part of our growing commitment towards India, we have established our first centre of excellence’ in Hyderabad. We will be creating over 1,000 jobs by the year 2020. I think it’s relevant to India also because the cloud is here. We are a premium brand in cloud enterprise/cloud software globally and are growing in India.
We also have customers worldwide with large facilities in India. They are building on our platform to run call centres on Salesforce, enable automation and run marketing campaigns.
We also have a very large developer community in India that’s using Salesforce. So again there’s a lot of innovation happening here. India is really a big market and there is potential for further growth. Gartner projects that the public cloud services market here is expected to grow 30.4% in 2016 to total $1.26 billion.
Give us a sense of the big story emerging out of Salesforce.
I think we have redefined enterprise computing with our software. We are the guys, in your words, who frighten Oracle or SAP. So there’s a reason behind that. I think globally what we have seen is a big shift to the cloud. It’s happened that the rate of cloud adoption is phenomenal. Everyone knows that the world is moving towards cloud. People want to go there. We have now given them the tools, solution, innovation, road map, blue print or how to do that. So I think that’s what we are bringing.
We were born cloud, and that was 17 years back when we started our business. It is all about a new technology model which is on cloud and multitenancy, which is very popular today. We also started a new business model which is subscription based which is very popular today. We have constantly innovated, and kept our ear very close to our customer needs. We have been bringing all those hottest features and functionalities which our customers have been demanding from our products.
The beauty about cloud is that it completely democratises the use of technology. Whether it’s a large enterprise or a SME, they get exactly the same features, functionality and the product. Salesforce is hugely popular and as we continue to add on new technologies like Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence it starts to get available to our customers globally.
Especially for India we know the penetration of mobile is huge. Our product is mobile first. It’s social, and the other thing is the sheer brain power we have here in India in terms of developers. People are building new applications on our AppExchange which is like the App Store that we have on Apple. There are thousands of partner applications on there, so it’s not just sales, service, marketing it could be human resources or inventory management.
Who is adopting cloud solutions in India—large enterprises, SMBs, or a mix of the two?
It’s a mix of both. We have seen some large enterprises like Bajaj Finserv, which is catering to a huge customer base. On the other hand, there are startups like Urban Ladder, who are embracing technology and going early to the market. We do have very large customers, with a very large uptake, primarily because of the advantages that cloud brings. Even if it is a SME, it doesn’t have to live with any legacy systems or build infrastructure or software in their environment. They can straightaway leverage what Salesforce has to offer as a global leader in CRM. Therefore it becomes very easy for a small startup to quickly adapt to technology and move forward with their growth.
How is India different from other emerging markets?
There are lot of commonalities in terms of what the customers want to achieve out of every dollar that they spend on technology, the cost models and the ROI. However, there are little differences which could come in because of the nature of the markets they work in. Indian customers value technology, and are conscious of every investment they do. And that’s where I think Salesforce is hugely popular, because the kind of value that we give back is enormous.
Not only do we have our own clouds, we also allow our customers to build their own apps and integrate with their own systems. We integrate into SAP, Oracle, whatever it may be you could have. So we are not saying we are one of the place, Oracle, great but if you want to keep that, if you like that fine, you can build integration to us. We have seen lot of that also happening in India, where people are trying to understand that this can work in, side by side with all these other technologies.
Government has announced major plans to adopt technology with its Smart Cities, Digital India and other e-governance initiatives. How could Salesforce partner with the government in this initiative?
Public sector is one of our key verticals. We do a lot of work with the government in many parts of the world. We are constantly understanding, learning and exploring areas where we could partner with the government. And it’s happening both ways actually, government is also trying to see how they could leverage public cloud provider to support their aggressive growth plans on Digital India.