Hrvoje Supic, Regional Vice President for CEE, compared the digital transformation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to trends in the western countries and showed us which companies and industries are picking up the fastest. He also raised the question of whether digital transformation could be a catalyst for corporate social responsibility.
Salesforce as a company has a very strong legacy in B2B business, but these days, the fastest-growing part of what we do is B2C. Both are on a significant scale, for example, we send about 4 billion marketing messages, there are 6 million sales opportunities, and 3 million online visitors’ orders are created in our systems every day. I think we can comfortably say that we have a good indication of what is happening out there.
This ecosystem will generate over 9 million jobs by 2026, according to IDC. Eastern Europe has a strong legacy of near-shore centres and a local economy. This is an invitation to all of you, your friends, and your family – if you are looking to start your career, Salesforce is a good place to start. No need to be an engineer, the Salesforce technology is built on the idea of low code. We are looking for consultants who don’t have an IT background. And as businesses are becoming digitalized, it’s a fit for anyone. We are enabling any individual, regardless of their background, to improve their skills and become more relevant in the digital age. When it comes to digital transformation, you won’t get far if you don’t have people.
Hrvoje Supic has worked in this environment for the last 8 years, and for those 8 years, we’ve been pitching customer-centric transformation, which means changing consumers' expectations, and behavior, creating digital journeys, digital experiences, and end-to-end experience for customers. All these things have been happening for the last 8 years and are still as relevant now as they were 5-6 years ago.
“Different industries and companies have a different sense of urgency of how fast this is coming, but I think we can all agree that this is happening, with industries and companies being affected in different ways,” said Hrvoje Supic.
For the last few years, to whichever country’s industry Hrvoje Supic has talked to, the stories were really getting crazy – supply chains, pandemics, working from home, digital experiences for employees. So, the emerging topics are really becoming quite challenging. And it seems that whatever is happening, the market requires more digitalization. When it comes to employee transformation, it’s affecting us right now, all over the world. The demands of us as individuals and businesses are changing fast.
This slide shows Hrvoje Supic’s main KPIs in business by industry. Let’s see how we stand in Eastern Europe – for us, the absolute number one is high tech, and no wonder, this industry was the fastest to pick up, most agile and a lot of Unicorns that are based out of Eastern Europe use Salesforce and are present in the global market.
Retail is growing super-fast. Just 3 years ago, retail was much lower on this list, but it’s picking up fast, especially in Poland. Poland is also picking up quickly because we as consumers expect digital experience, we are buying online and practically any major retailer is looking to improve digital experiences, loyalty programs, online sales, etc.
Financial services are usually number one, here this sector is on te 5th place. According to Hrvoje Supic, this is to be expected. Four years ago, selling a cloud to a bank was very hard. In addition, sales cycles in financial services are long, with 2 to 3 years being absolutely normal. So, what we can say from the engagement and everything that is happening and all the RFPs currently in place in the region, 2 to 3 years from now, financial services will be on top of this list. However, for some reasons that he cannot really explain, the Czech Republic is the most advanced in financial services. Even looking at the agenda for this event, you can see that the major banking players are here to present how they proceed. He sees some trends in marketing, personalization, and hyper-personalization and thinks we will see a lot more of it on the operational level in the next 2 to 3 years. According to Hrvoje Supic, the most attractive transformation project currently going on in the region is with Mol in Hungary. It is a major company and an example of a company that is preparing for the future. They will probably stop selling oil at some point. This only proves that
these significant changes are happening and affecting every industry in different ways.
“I think manufacturing is super interesting for eastern Europe, typically seems conservative, slow-moving, but there is a big base of manufacturing companies as they are expanding to different markets. The trends are to significantly improve the efficiency of Salesforce. B2B commerce became a major thing during the pandemic, so that is something that is happening quite fast. You see a lot of manufacturing companies trying to capture a part of the B2C market, which is interesting because 3 years ago, this was not present.” explained Hrvoje Supic.
Healthcare and life sciences are not there yet, but we have some extremely attractive projects happening, for example in Poland, which indicates that this industry will transform. It’s not easy to transform this sector, as it is mainly public and government-owned and it is slow to change, but some private innovators are making some changes that we will see in the next 4 to 5 years.
The public sector, as you can see, almost does not exist, again for reasons that are not hard to explain. However, coming from interest and RFPs, all government-to-citizens use cases that are very similar to creating experiences, services, and journeys are practically a perfect match for digital transformation, as it increases efficiency, productivity, and transparency. So, all these use cases are here to follow with this transformation. Therefore, in Hrvoje Supic’s opinion, we will see this segment picking up, the same as it did in countries like the UK, France, or Spain and it’s only a matter of time when we will see the public sector come up.
For every in, we survey to understand what customers are getting out of utilizing Salesforce technologies. So, whether you already use Salesforce technology or are planning to implement your job is to be demanding. You should expect more revenue, fewer costs, more productivity, or fewer IT expenses. All these projects are successful only if they are driven by clear business objectives.
Something very interesting that we have learned in the last 2 years is that some companies and industries adapt fast and survive the crisis, some of our customers have just disappeared, and some customers have failed at utilizing and growing their businesses. And this will happen again. We are going through a supply chain crisis, we don’t have the access to the resources we used to have, and it looks like we are going to experience inflation. About 5-6 years ago, the mantra of Salesforce was that fast beats slow. It looks like agile companies will be the winners of the upcoming years, because in all these changes that are happening in the market, the companies that are able to see what’s happening, make fast changes, and move on will be in the position to be the winners in the market.
In each of these categories, we have a leading product in the market. But the most important thing about Salesforce is that it all runs on the same platform, which allows you to have end-to-end journeys, same technologies, and same skills across different segments of your operations as a company. Salesforce is very careful about building a portfolio. That’s why everything you need, like managing customer expectations, we probably already provide, because the whole portfolio is built to support our customers to grow and utilize all these essentials. The transformation is not only pushed by customers in the market but also internally. That is the reason why we acquired Slack because we positioned this as a digital HQ to make companies that are transforming their IT operations more agile, faster, and more transparent.
Having said that, Hrvoje Supic concluded his keynote.