CES 2020: Salesforce Looks to Consumer-First Tech Approach; EY M&E Survey Points to Industry Evolution

LAS VEGAS — At CES, Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff took the stage for a panel discussion to look at the changing needs of CEOs in technology and the importance of a sustainable supply chain for businesses today.

“All stakeholders have to matter to us, not just our shareholders,” he said, according to a Salesforce transcript. “This is good business. This is one of the reasons that Salesforce has become a high performance company. This is the marking of a modern high performance culture today.”

He added that the concept of deeply integrating sustainability into supply chains wasn’t on too many people’s radars. “But today, for a modern CEO, that has to be a key part of their strategy going forward,” he said.

And Benioff stressed that businesses can be more than just dollars and bottom lines, they can also be forces for good.

“When I was at Oracle, I felt very much split in my personality. During the day, I was making and selling software,” he said. “But then I had a philanthropic side and I was working in schools, and all that. But, you know, I had a revelation that we can do both. You don’t have to make a decision that you’re going to be philanthropic or business oriented. That’s a false choice. Businesses can be a platform for change; business can be the greatest platform for change.”

Additionally at CES, Salesforce announced that connected vehicle tech specialist HARMAN has chosen Salesforce to help consumers be more productive in their vehicles, allowing for tailor-made connected vehicle experiences via a network of cloud-based applications and services.

“This is an industry first capability, enabling a driver to be productive in a vehicle of the future,” said Vala Afshar, Salesforce’s chief digital evangelist. “The average U.S. worker has 51 minutes of daily commute. With Salesforce on the Harmon Ignite Marketplace, a car becomes a mobile office, whereby a driver can manage sales opportunities, marketing leads and services cases.”

Also at CES:

• Ernst & Young revealed a new media and entertainment study showing that media and entertainment companies are increasingly convinced they must reinvent to survive the next five years, with 50% saying they can no longer rely on traditional business models, 28% admitting their business needs to reinvigorate (but are unsure what to prioritize), and 63% of those already underway with changes saying optimizing the operating model will be transformational.

More than a third of media and entertainment companies (34%) said their company may no0t even exist five years from now unless their business undergoes reinvention.

“Media and entertainment companies remain upbeat about change,” said John Harrison, EY global media and entertainment sector leader. “But with such diversity of business models and revenue streams, the starting point is often unclear. The survey reveals that there is no single path to reinvention, but businesses can succeed by prioritizing three key levers of change: operational excellence, innovation and upskilling talent. Embracing these ambitions can help them address short-term challenges and unlock long-term value creation.”

The survey found three big drivers of change across M&E industry subsectors: responding to a shifting competitive landscape (which could lead to pressure on profitability); struggling to keep pace with technology as businesses evaluate digital innovations (such as artificial intelligence and 5G); and challenges associated with changing customer expectations (which is impacting the uptake of products and services).

Executives pointed to operating model change (41%) and operational delivery and execution (39%) as top transformation priorities, and 55% of all executives indicated they want to streamline their business by consolidating internal segments.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said the increasing availability of data as an opportunity for transformation, and 56% of executives indicated they prioritize building first-party data, compared to 13% who prioritize third-party sources.

“The evolving nature of revenue generation, combined with pressure to release capital to fund growth, is leading companies to reevaluate transformation goals and how they respond to shifting customer demands,” Harrison said. “Making the most of data that resides across the enterprise is one of the most crucial tactics for realizing positive change — particularly in helping businesses to compete by improving the customer experience.”