A Quick Breakdown

Salesforce Anywhere
Released 2020

2016

Salesforce spends $750m to acquire Quip, a collaboration tool with a built-in document management suite.

2019

Salesforce embeds Quip into the core product to enable easier document collaboration for Sales, Marketing, Support.

July 2020

Building on the 2019 integration of Quip, Salesforce Anywhere is launched with richer communication & collaboration tools.

From Quip to Salesforce Anywhere

Backstory:

In July 2020, Salesforce announced the launch of Salesforce Anywhere, which was available for beta customers and widely released in Q4'20.

Salesforce Anywhere is the start of Salesforce's answer to Slack & Microsoft Teams - or at least, a very necessary upgrade that allows users & stakeholders to more easily collaborate while staying within Salesforce (remotely and from ... anywhere).

It's worth noting that Salesforce's VP of Product, Michael Machado, says "the tool is focused on sharing Salesforce data, rather than being general purpose like Slack or any other business chat tool"; however, it's unclear how much that speaks to the future plans for Salesforce Anywhere. Our opinion on this messaging is simply to say that the product is still in phase 1, so this is better than overselling - the tool does have significant chat-features built in.

For those that closely track Salesforce's acquisition strategy, you will recall that Salesforce acquired Quip for $750m in 2016. It wasn't until early 2019 that Salesforce embedded Quip into their product offering but it had remained a standalone product until that point.

Quip is a collaboration tool with a built in document management suite, including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software - all functionality Salesforce planned to embed at the platform level.

Why did Salesforce launch Salesforce Anywhere?

Salesforce Anywhere is a huge step forward for native collaboration tools offered by Salesforce.

Third party services have emerged over the past couple years that enable Salesforce users to access their data from within Slack - an early vendor in this category is Troops.ai, which is a Slack-based chat bot that allows Salesforce users to generate reports, surface dashboards, query specific account or pipeline data etc. all from within a Slack chat window. While this type of accessibility and ease of use is beneficial to Salesforce, any tool that requires you to navigate away from their tools/interface is going to: A) be viewed as a negative by a Salesforce product team that wants you to do all of your work from within their platform; and B) decrease the productivity of the user, based on the tool and context switching.

Providing a single place to collaborate without task switching is a clear objective, not only to maximize productivity of the end user, but likely to ensure that Salesforce remains a sticky front office application rather than being relegated to a back office engine that is powered by interfaces & external products not controlled by Salesforce themselves.

The Core Features of Salesforce Anywhere:

Salesforce was quick to adapt to the dramatic shift in work culture amid COVID-19 as most organizations scrambled to transition to remote work. While many of the Salesforce Anywhere features were clearly on a roadmap well before COVID hit, others (like an IT Help Desk) may have been timely additions.Here's a quick overview of the core features:

- Salesforce Help Desk integration: through a strategic partnership with Tanium (announced the same day that Salesforce Ventures invested $125m in them), this provides employees with a self-serve help desk chat to submit, track, and resolve service requests or incidents. The Salesforce support team can build workflows on Salesforce to further automate common tasks and leverage Einstein to prioritize incidents.

- Real-time alerts: users can set customized, real-time alerts on desktop & mobile for specific updates across accounts, records, opportunities, or individual fields.

- Team collaboration: features include chat, instant message, and video from within the Salesforce window. Native real-time chat will be powered by Amazon Chime with Zoom available as an out-of-the-box integration.

- Embed records & activity in chat: as Salesforce describes it, this enables users to "transition from data insights to data collaboration" - all within Salesforce. Easily generate reports, share across an entire team, and facilitate discussions around the data from a single view. No more hopping between Slack and Salesforce.

- Update records on the fly: add comments to any record that needs a discussion and receive suggestions from Einstein for recommended actions to be taken.

Salesforce Add-ons to watch

There is a new trend emerging with vendors that are building tools to act as an intermediary to your Salesforce instance. These tools work in a very different way than AppExchange products that seek to add functionality - instead, they make it easier for you to access, support, or build on the current platform.

A few we are watching:

Avonni: Create Salesforce Lightning Experiences fast.
For companies that are constantly creating new pay layouts or custom views (for internal or external users), this is a product that allows for easy prototyping, so you can visualize how the final product will work. Then, use their Builder product to create Web Components using a drag-and-drop interface.

Scratchpad: Update Salesforce faster.
Claiming that 'working in Salesforce requires too many clicks and is slow to load', this is a standalone product that Salesforce users can leverage to get data into Salesforce without actually having to interact with the Salesforce UI.

Addapptation: Build Simple, Beautiful Salesforce Apps using Low-Code UX.
This is one of several low-code or no-code platforms that have emerged around Salesforce. (Another that has been in the space for years is Skuid.)
These tools allow non-technical users to design & build applications within Salesforce, extending certain features or functionality without custom development and continues on the 'clicks, not code' capabilities of the tool.
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