Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says there's a major shift happening in business software

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says there’s a huge shift taking place in the business software space that will shape the future: smarter and more predictive software.

Speaking at the Forbes CIO Summit on Monday, Benioff shared his thoughts on the future of enterprise software and pointed out that systems capable of analysing data and recommending the right course of action will be where the next wave of opportunity comes from.

“This will be the huge shift going forward, which is that everybody wants systems that are smarter, everybody wants systems that are more predictive, everybody wants everything scored, everybody wants to understand what’s the next best offer, next best opportunity, how to make things a little bit more efficient,” Benioff said.

Salesforce has been doubling down on this space in recent years by acquiring a number of
machine learning and data analysis
startups such as PredictionIO, MinHash, and Tempo IO. Two years ago, it spent $390 million to buy RelateIQ, a software that helps automate data-input and gives sales recommendations.

In fact, RelateIQ was a big part of this year’s Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual big conference, making its debut as a new service called SalesforceIQ. The new service is now available to all Salesforce customers and can make suggestions on who to contact when, based on the user’s calendar and email interaction data.

But despite all the excitement around predictive technology, Benioff pointed out the biggest opportunity still lies in the core customer relationship management (CRM) software Salesforce sells, which helps companies organise customer data and respond easily. Even after all these years, a lot of companies still fail to use CRM in the right way, to keep themselves connected to their core customer base, Benioff says.

“The reality is a lot of our customers still don’t have a comprehensive customer database, their core employees are not connected in a robust way with their customers,” Benioff said. “That remains the biggest opportunity.”

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