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Salesforce president talks hiring, digital transformation, and Tableau cloud integration

Salesforce President and Chief Product Officer David Schmaier joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss company earnings, market volatility, supply chain management, and the outlook for growth.

Video Transcript


AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Salesforce is deepening its integration with Tableau three years after acquiring the firm. The two companies launching a new version of its cloud-based data analytics software at Tableau's annual conference in Las Vegas, integrating Tableau platform with Einstein, Salesforce's AI platform. Joining us to discuss is David Schmaier. He's Salesforce president and chief product officer.

David, it's good to talk to you today. I want to get to the product rollout in just a bit. But I have to ask you about the environment we're in right now. We're talking about a big sell-off we saw yesterday, a huge route in tech names over the last few weeks. You've been in this space for a very long time. What are you thinking as you see the declines?

DAVID SCHMAIER: Akiko, thanks for having me here. And we are very fortunate that what we do at Salesforce has never been more important. There's this trend of digital transformation. And it's very hard to transform without rallying and connecting with your customers in new ways.

AKIKO FUJITA: As a follow-up there, though, we've seen a number of companies in the tech space who've come out and said, look, the focus is going to be more on profitability moving forward. Maybe we have to pull back growth just a bit. What's the conversation within Salesforce? How does this or does this shift the strategy for you at all?

DAVID SCHMAIER: Sure. We had a record year last year. And we hired 20,000 people last fiscal year. And we're on track to hire 4,000 this quarter. So we're very excited about the future.

BRIAN CHEUNG: David, Brian Cheung here. So you actually highlight that market volatility could be a situation where businesses will want products that can help them address and manage their costs and other types of operating sides of business. Tell us about how your company and what Salesforce and everyone within the company fold is doing in terms of products to make sure that these businesses are equipped through this time?

DAVID SCHMAIER: Sure. We see a rotation to the digital first part of the economy. So there was a movement from what we call omnichannel, which is connecting all your channels together, to optimizing for digital channels. And customers see the Customer 360, our Salesforce suite, from sales, marketing, service, commerce, integration, and analytics helps them save money by being more digital, more efficient. And our automation suite of technologies helps them be more cost-effective.

- Yeah, so let's talk about the rollout here. I mean, we just mentioned it-- more and more integration between Tableau and Salesforce. This added feature, including the AI platform-- what does that mean from a customer standpoint?

DAVID SCHMAIER: It's a great question, Akiko. So 83% of CEOs want their companies to be more data-driven. And yet 70% of workers say they don't have the data they need to do their job. And what makes this even more difficult is there's an explosion of data all around us. And so what we're doing with Salesforce and Tableau is democratizing this access to data to make this data available for everyone so that you now don't need data scientists and sophisticated programmers to make sense of what's going on in your company and the world around you.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Can you give us a little bit of detail in terms of how this interacts with existing cloud technology? Because my understanding is that this is a way that you can kind of customize dashboards, be able to kind of sift through, analyze the data. But does the data have to be imported through a Tableau product? Can it sit on top of other competitors' products? How exactly does this interact with the ecosystem of other technology that's out there?

DAVID SCHMAIER: It's a great question, Brian. And I want to say that we just finished our Tableau conference in Las Vegas for the 15th year. And think of this as the Coachella for data. And so there's thousands of data rock stars that all congregate for this conference, and tens of thousands of people were on virtually.

So this is a big, big space. This is the business intelligence market. And what we launched were four major initiatives, the first being data stories. So now these dashboards are not just charts and graphs, but it's like reading the cover of "The Wall Street Journal," where it gives you a narrative of what's going on with the data behind it that you can click through.

And the second major announcement was our Tableau Cloud, which is the cloud version of Tableau, so that 70% of our new customers are going with Tableau Cloud. And this gives you all the great capabilities of Tableau-- ease of use, ad hoc data exploration, the ability to weave in AI. And you can do it all with the fastest way to transform your organization to be a data organization with the full power of the cloud.

AKIKO FUJITA: David, you've got a good pulse on where enterprise spend is given who you work with. We have seen earnings pull back in the most recent results that we've gotten. But increasingly, companies still increasing their capex, partly because of the supply chain issues they've had to deal with. More and more important for them to be able to map out sort of future hiccups so they can foresee them coming. And I wonder what you have seen on your end in terms of companies investing on that front.

DAVID SCHMAIER: Sure. Well, what we do is we capture all of the demand chain information which flows into the supply chain. And as I mentioned earlier, Akiko, we have automation technologies that allow companies to be digital but to be smarter. So for example, Jaguar and Land Rover-- they have 5,000 people that explore data using Tableau and Salesforce. And the data they want to explore is all inside of Salesforce.

It's the richest data. It's the data about-- everything about your customers. And with Tableau, we can connect to all the other information stores you have in supply chain or in the back office or in your operational systems or on the internet. And so this allows them to take the demand chain, map that to the supply chain so that they can be more effective. They can reduce their inventory levels. So this is a trend we see across all of our different customers around the world.

- And finally, David, we started by talking about the acquisition from 2019-- $16 billion, Salesforce acquiring Tableau. That was followed by another blockbuster deal, which was Salesforce acquiring Slack. How do you see that being integrated into this product as you look ahead?

DAVID SCHMAIER: Sure. These acquisitions really enrich our Customer 360 portfolio. So we keep expanding the definition of what is CRM, and what is the front office? With Slack, people go from having a physical headquarters, that during the pandemic, everyone realized they needed a digital headquarters.

And that's what Slack is. Slack as your digital HQ. And so now you can connect to your employees and your partners and even with customers through what's called Slack Connect. They can collaborate in a virtual hybrid world. And that's the world we all live in today.

So our customers want to use the Customer 360 and CRM to connect with their customers. They want to use Tableau to better visualize this data with this explosion of data. And now with Slack, you can collaborate with all this customer data and analytic data within your four walls or across the enterprise to your partners and to your customers.

- Yeah, points to more integration in a "super platform," if we can call it that. David Schmaier, Salesforce president and chief product officer. Good to talk to you today.