If you’re an organization in dire need of digital transformation, who ya gonna call?
While an enterprise software company might not initially come to mind, that’s exactly who brands like Coca-Cola and Philips turned to.
For Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox Film, it’s moved from primarily a B2B company focused on partners like broadcasters, retailers, exhibitors and producers to addressing the consumer directly.
"We’re a film studio that has a deep heritage of creating compelling and entertaining content," said John Herbert, chief information officer for 20th Century Fox Film. "When you think about digital transformation, the media industry has been at the forefront because it’s not just another dimension of our product. Our entire business has been transformed."
In the last few months, 20th Century Fox Film underwent a workshop with Salesforce’s three-year-old digital accelerator, Salesforce Ignite.
Salesforce Ignite’s designers, researchers and strategists (many of whom hail from Salesforce’s acquisition of digital consultancy Gravitytank last fall) help clients evaluate their businesses and gauge creative ways to transform their organization for the future.
20th Century Fox Film’s theatrical business initially worked with Salesforce to update its applications using Salesforce’s developer platform, Force.com.
About 40 people from 20th Century’s management team participated in the Salesforce Ignite program with the hopes of aligning around a common goal while gaining executive buy-in for future strategy.
“I thought they did a great job embracing what was already working really well for our organization and where we want to go, rather than having a team of consultants come in and say, 'Here’s a utopic vision,’” said James Toney, SVP for technology and innovation at 20th Century Fox Film.
About six weeks after its Ignite workshop, the company was transferred to a Salesforce account team to take advantage of tactical recommendations around its consumer strategy – including adoption of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and products like Krux (the Salesforce DMP).
Next up is managing the technology implementation required to understand “user journeys” in a way that maximizes its return.
“Any organization can hire an innovation consultancy and get amazing results and a great vision,” said Peter Doolan, EVP of digital transformation and innovation at Salesforce. “The challenge is going from whiteboard to manifesting it in the real world – and we can [support] any business process with the Salesforce platform, accompanied by an execution plan.”
Salesforce has facilitated more than 200 Ignite engagements since the program’s inception.
The average Ignite workshop lasts about two to three months and is designed to help large enterprise clients break down traditional orthodoxies governing people and processes. Oftentimes that involves thinking outside of the box or leveraging training techniques and exercises like “Kill the Company.”
It’s natural to compare Salesforce’s in-house consultancy to other enterprise consultancies like IBM iX because of its emphasis on design thinking and digital transformation.
But Salesforce Ignite doesn’t charge on billable hours or on a retainer fee. In fact, it doesn’t charge clients at all.
But there’s a catch: Ignite acts as a pre-sales program for Salesforce products.
Does a client need advanced analytics? Then it might be a good candidate for the Salesforce Marketing or Analytics Cloud.
But Salesforce insists Ignite is not one big product pitch.
“When we enter into an Ignite engagement, we don’t come in talking about products,” Doolan said. “These engagements are short-term and the goal is to ignite customers’ journeys to digital transformation, which we hope or expect would have downstream benefits for us.”
Also included in a Salesforce Ignite workshop is an implementation road map, which includes suggestions or recommendations for partners or platforms to help the client achieve their goals.
Salesforce almost always engages an integration partner (For instance, it works closely with consultancies and systems integrators such as Deloitte Digital, PwC and even IBM Interactive Experience) at the execution stage, Doolan said.
“We’re used to the digital connective tissue that happens in the B2C commercial space, typified by marketing and advertising,” Doolan said, “but that doesn’t always translate into legacy industries that have yet to totally embrace this digital-first future.”