Kimble

Three Predictions for 2019: Planning for unpredictable events improves; Bots become boring; Germany closes on the UK as the largest European market for Salesforce

By Rob Bruce, VP of Marketing

1 The Rolling Plan

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – this famous quote from the world of boxing surfaced in a recent Kimble-sponsored webinar, on the subject of planning and how it is changing today. We are particularly aware of the need to deal with unpredictable twists of fortune at the moment in the US due to the trade stand-off with China, and the UK, of course, has Brexit uncertainty to contend with.

In business, we all need to bring as much flexibility and agility as we can into the planning process to take account of rapidly-changing circumstances. One response to this is the increasing tendency of businesses to change from making an annual plan to using a rolling plan.

It used to be the case that an annual plan would be drawn up at the beginning of the year and then reviewed at the end. The power and flexibility of new technological tools combined with rapidly changing political, economic and regulatory conditions mean that many businesses are moving to rolling planning.

The rolling plan has, as its name suggests, movable start and end dates. The sophistication of workplace technology today means that it is much easier than it would once have been to flow the data that is required into the plan. The rolling plan start date should always be now. There are two periods to look out over, medium term of two to three quarters, short term of two to three months. Planning this way means you can turn on a pin – as soon as you see what is coming down the road towards you, you can start adjusting to deal with it.

Historic data can be useful of course – but we can only affect the future after all, and in business the more energy that goes into looking ahead and adjusting the plan according to what we see the better.

 

2 Bots become boring

A few years ago, AI and bots were everywhere across the media. They were perceived as exciting, interesting, and at times alarming. There were predictions that huge swathes of the population would lose their jobs.

But as bots that we use in the home and at work have become more familiar, they have gained a degree of acceptance that would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago. Lines like: “Siri, what’s the weather?”, “Alexa, play my favorite album” are heard routinely in many a home. They are also beginning to be perceived as useful – essentially a way of making technology more accessible and easier to use. People who might struggle to programme a complex heating system, for instance, can use their voice to change the temperature of a room.

As the sophistication of workplace management tools increase, expect to find bots supporting us at the office and helping us to perform better at work.

For instance, a bot may prompt someone to take the next expected step in a process, help to nudge newer and less experienced staff to work at the level of the best staff or remind busy executives of important tasks. Next year and beyond, bots will remind people to complete routine tasks, highlight areas of risk or suggest actions that are likely to lead to the best outcomes for the business. And far from being the threats we once worried about, they will dwindle into useful workplace tools. Soon we will start to take them for granted – they will become boring.

 

3 Germany is on the brink of becoming Salesforce’s most important market in Europe

Salesforce – the world’s number one customer relationship management platform – has been quietly building momentum in the German-speaking area of Europe, Germany, Austria and Switzerland for some years now. EMEA is now the fastest-growing area for Salesforce. Within that Germany is now the fastest-growing core market.

Expansion really took off after the company opened their European data center in Germany in August 2015, with ambitious targets for jobs and growth. Since then, Salesforce has been working hard on building relationships in the area. In 2018, Salesforce’ non-profit arm Salesforce.org launched a German language website and donated $1 million to future-workforce programmes in Germany.

In 2019, Salesforce plans to hold seven customer events across the region, investing heavily in the opportunity this creates to engage in face to face contacts with customers. This is almost double the four they held in 2018  – and the events themselves are also expanding, with many more keynote presentations, training sessions and product demos. This investment seems to be paying off and 85% of the DAX30, Germany’s blue-chip stock market index, is now Salesforce customers. At some time within the next three years, and perhaps as soon as 2019, depending on what happens in the UK, Germany is poised to become Salesforce’ biggest European market.

 

For more on what the future holds, listen to this podcast on What AI Means for Consulting?

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