Salesforce Live Cape Town kicked off with a keynote talk from Zuko Mdwaba, area VP and country leader for Salesforce in South Africa, where he touched on the company’s latest innovations and releases, as well as Salesforce’s ongoing commitment to its climate action journey to net-zero.
Mdwaba told the audience that Salesforce continues to be a company driven by innovation. He said that Salesforce launches three products every year, making it a priority to support and empower businesses to be a platform for change, through trust, customer success, innovation, equality and sustainability. These core values are reportedly the north star guiding the company’s success.
Following Mdwaba’s talk, there were various half-hour discussions on how South African brands use the Salesforce ecosystem to help drive business and marketing results. These brands include Coca-Cola, Distell, Clicks Group, Multichoice Group, Cape Union Mart, and Retail Capital.
The announcement of Salesforce’s new skills programmes was a major takeaway from the event, aside from the informative opening keynote talk and discussions around the company’s services for other brands.
The Salesforce ecosystem is expected to create 31,000 new jobs and generate $5.1bn in new business revenue in South Africa by 2026.
Ursula Fear, senior talent programme manager at Salesforce SA, said the company’s talent strategy will focus on the following five pillars: schools; universities and tertiary institutions; the partner ecosystem; customers; and a countrywide digital skills initiative. She also introduced Salesforce’s accredited training partner and workforce development partners, which looks to bring more skills into its ecosystem.
“We need to come together and do things differently if we want to tackle the skills gap. It is not sustainable for businesses to import skills from abroad.”
As part of its commitment to skills, Salesforce will partner with Deloitte to start a skills bootcamp in the first quarter of 2023. This will help people develop specialised skills.
“We need to come together and change the narrative around training and skills development in South Africa and this kind of collaboration is an important step in doing that,” Fear said.
As previously mentioned, Retail Capital was part of the discussions at the event. Retail Capital is a local SME funder that has funded more than 43,300 South African businesses with over R5.5bn in the past decade. The company’s chief technology officer, Carlo Stepcic, was the representative at Salesforce Live. In his 30-minute conversation, he addressed the role of managing customer data for small businesses, saying that business owners need to be able to test, learn, fail fast, and be agile when it comes to customer data.
"What we've been able to get out of Salesforce is exactly that. We also use Salesforce for our debit order processing and collections. Very quickly things can become untidy, so the message is to keep your house tidy," Stepcic said, alluding to the idea that Salesforce's services can help keep the online processes of smaller businesses in check for smooth operating.
A key takeaway from Stepcic's talk is that Retail Capital has had a positive attitude to technology adoption over the years, which has helped the company with carrying out various objectives. Salesforce happens to be one of the companies that Retail Capital has leveraged to stay on the path of using technology for automation and more.