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There are three pillars of digital transformation: Salesforce Co-CEO

Heidi Chung

As companies look to adapt and adopt in the fast-paced world of technology, Salesforce.com Co-CEO Keith Block noted that there are three key pillars of digital transformation.

“There’s a lot of discussion about digital transformation,” Block told Yahoo Finance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “This was really teed up in 2016 here at the World Economic Forum. When I speak to other CEOs, we talk about the three pillars of digital transformation. The first is really a tech refresh.”

Block was referring to updating technologies within an organization to maximize efficiency. An example of that would be when a company moves from on-site technology to cloud technology.

[Watch Yahoo Finance’s free live coverage of the 50th annual World Economic Forum]

However, just doing a tech refresh is not in and of itself digital transformation, according to Block. “You have to do all three elements of digital transformation. Second is a business model change.” He explained that this not limited any one industry but applies to all industries. An example Block gave was how companies that typically have business to business (B2B) models are thinking about also moving to direct to consumer (DTC) strategies. These shifts are considered business model changes, according to Block.

People pass by the Salesforce Tower and Salesforce.com offices in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
People pass by the Salesforce Tower and Salesforce.com offices in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Lastly, the third pillar of digital transformation is cultural. “So you’re introducing new technologies into an organization. You have to ask ‘what is the ethical use of that technology?’ You have to ask about the impact on the workforce, and is your organization ready to accept that technology? What are the implications of re-skilling, which is a big topic of the fourth industrial revolution.”

This is just the beginning, Block argued. “These transformations will take some time. Everybody absorbs these technologies at a different pace... We see a lot of opportunity to drive great results for our company but more importantly for our customers.”

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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