The Power of the Platform

How Partners Are Driving Salesforce Across the Extended Enterprise

Bruce Richardson
Aug 29, 2018 · 8 min read

In its nearly 20 years existence, Salesforce has not veered off from its mission of being the leader in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Of course, the definition of CRM has expanded dramatically over two decades. It began as lead management/salesforce automation, then expanded into customer service and marketing automation, then moved into B2B, B2C, and B2B2C e-commerce.

“What is the white space between CRM and ERP?”

Meanwhile, customers began requesting new features to better meet some of the challenges and opportunities inside their specific verticals. Boom. A Health Cloud and a Wealth Management Cloud were born. Partners like Vlocity leveraged the Salesforce platform to create industry versions for Communications and Media, Insurance and Financial Services, Health Insurance, Public Sector, and Energy and Utilities.

Focus on CRM or target the broader enterprise?

With so much market available, there’s no need for Salesforce to move into other markets like ERP, supply chain management, or product lifecycle management…except that some customers are asking for help in these markets.

That’s where the Salesforce Platform comes in. Here are three stories:

Rootstock: Delivering Cloud ERP on the Salesforce Platform

When asked “Why Salesforce” Pat said “There are a lot of advantages to running ERP on the Salesforce platform. Much of the implementation can be done over the web, compressing the implementation time and cost. From an ease-of-use standpoint, when you add mobile and allow users to access information via their mobile devices, that makes it even easier to use the system and access data. In terms of reliability, the Salesforce cloud is very stable and publishes statistics on up time.”

One of my favorite Rootstock customer stories demonstrates the flexibility of the platform and the resourcefulness of Pat and team. A company asked Rootstock to build an app to help manage the daily delivery of industrial gases and chemicals to a High Tech customer operating three global High Tech plants on three continents. This involved linking in 24 suppliers and a worldwide network of transportation suppliers, while simultaneously keeping each vendor’s and logistic provider’s information 100% secure while coexisting in a single global technology community for maximum planning and inventory optimization.

To meet some of the customers’s transportation requirements, Rootstock leveraged IoT (Internet of Things) for satellite container tracking and to record vibration and temperature data.

All of this would have been very challenging to do with a traditional on-premise ERP system.

While some may see Cloud ERP as mostly appealing to small and mid-size businesses, Rootstock recently closed what looks to be the largest Cloud ERP deal ever — 25,000 users at 175 locations.

Rootstock’s future looks great as more large companies move some or all of their on-premise ERP apps over to the cloud to improve efficiency and flexibility and to reduce costs.

Barkawi: The First Supply Chain Control Tower on the Salesforce Platform

Of those processes, the Plan function may have been the least represented. Partners like Steelwedge (now part of E2open) have built a bridge to Sales Cloud to pull sales opportunities/pipeline data into Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) so as to get a better view of demand. o9 Solutions is also adding pipe info to S&OP, and has also added Available-to-Promise capabilities in Sales Cloud.

Barkawi may have the most ambitious planning project underway. Founded in Munich in 1994, Barkawi Management Consultants has successfully completed supply chain projects for some of the world’s best known companies in High Tech/Communications, Consumer Durables, Energy, Aerospace & Heavy Equipment, Healthcare & Pharma, Automotive, and Food & Consumer Goods.

While most of the work has been in consulting and implementation services, the company recently built its first application — a supply chain control tower. An early customers is one of the U.S.’s largest quick-serve restaurant chains.

According to Mike Landry, president, Barkawi North America, the customer was looking for a solution to help manage inventory, orders, and shipment status. The new control tower provides visibility into stocked items, inventory levels, orders, stocking locations, SKUs, and other elements. It includes automatically-generated alerts when thresholds or dates are exceeded as well as a dashboard with relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

While Mike has a lot of supply chain experience having started his own software company — Servigistics — back in 1999, this was his first time working with the Salesforce platform. In 2017, Barkawi launched a new software company with this vision called ketteQ (see, which is led by its CEO, Cy Smith. ketteQ, a Demand Optimization Platform, provides functionality to align the sales and marketing, supply chain, and finance organizations with AI and a suite of tools that allow each profession to see how their actions and decisions will affect customers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders throughout the ecosystem.

As to “Why Salesforce,” Mike replied that “The Salesforce development environment enabled the vision to come to life much faster than traditional options. The current footprint used at so many companies offers big deployment and value advantages since Salesforce offers great insights and synergy for predicting demand. Extending the platform to link demand and supply can be a game changer for demand sensing, demand shaping and supply management with end-to-end visibility.”

(Note: On July 18th, Genpact announced that it was acquiring Barkawi Management Consultants. It also said that Mike Landry will lead the integrated Genpact global supply chain business.)

Propel: The First and Only Integrated PLM, PIM and QMS App on the Salesforce Platform

He is a cloud application veteran with 20+ years of PLM, development and product launch experience in both hardware and enterprise software organizations. Prior to starting Propel, Ray held senior executive positions at leading Bay Area companies, including nearly 10 years running product strategy and product management at Agile Software and then 2 years with Apttus where he learned about the amazing capabilities of the Salesforce platform.

When asked “Why Salesforce,” Ray said: “Two reasons: First, we’ve been able to leverage the best business cloud platform to quickly build the key PLM capabilities that Agile and other PLM vendors have. It took us 2–3 years to do what it took them 8–10 years to do.

“Second, to launch successful products everyone in the company needs to work collaboratively across the organization. Propel brings design and engineering together with the sales and services teams — with a ‘whole office’ and intelligence platform that old legacy PLM systems just can’t do. The cloud and the Salesforce platform is a game changer.

“Unlike other PLM solutions, Salesforce’s flexibility can help our customers easily model any of their product data and business processes. The security, reliability, and collaboration that’s built in the Salesforce platform make it easy for them to share data with anyone, any time on any device. What’s really amazing to them is our ability to rapidly deliver new features and enhancements — and it’s all because of the platform.”

Like the developers of the SCOR model, Ray also thinks in terms of process. In his case — Design, Make, Market, Sell, and Service. Propel manages the Design and Make processes and can manage all the product information and changes that happen inside Salesforce for the classic CRM and Commerce applications. The goal is to have a tight link between product design and any new, emerging product requirements and/or quality issue to speed up response times.

This is also why Propel has combined PLM, Product Information Management (PIM), and Quality Management Systems (QMS) across all these processes. With Propel on Salesforce, teams see where products are in every step of the process. This holistic and transparent view gets better products to customers and consumers faster.

Like his Rootstock and Barkawi counterparts, Propel adds a lot of new first time users to Salesforce. In this case, it’s from engineering, product management, quality, and other groups. In many cases, Propel is the first Salesforce app implemented and creates demand for platform sales, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and now Commerce Cloud through tight connections to CPQ and e-Commerce with their PIM offerings.

While Propel has a lot of interesting use cases for Industrial Manufacturing, High Tech, Consumer Goods, and Medical Device customers, Ray is teaming on a very cool project with a leading 3D printing company and a cloud-based MCAD vendor that involves medical devices and prosthetics.

Propel is the hub that allows the three vendors to feed data to and from the Salesforce Health Cloud. Part of the motivation came from the challenges that the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing had ordering and adjusting to new prosthetics. This is a real-world example of Industry 4.0 being implemented to solve new problems in a collaborative manner.

Propel has a lot of runway for future growth and is leading the transformation of how people are driving digital transformation around their new product introduction processes. By combining PLM+PIM+QMS in the cloud, diverse teams work together, products iterate faster, decisions are made with more real-time data such a customer feedback, and the result is a higher quality product built with more empathy for end-users. The result: Easy collaboration between all stakeholders.

Propel is also targeting the legacy Agile base. Now part of Oracle, the database company has lagged in bringing Agile to the cloud.

Focus on CRM or target the broader enterprise? The answer is both!

While Salesforce will remain laser-focused on improving the customer experience, the company will continue to add software and service partners to the Salesforce AppExchange that extends the reach from front office to back office to what Ray referred to as “the whole office.”

While we focused on three platform partners today, there are over 3,000 apps in the AppExchange. This is a great place to start if you are looking for new enterprise apps for ERP, financials, transportation management, supplier management, project management, asset management, forecasting and demand planning, as well as more vertical solutions and CRM add-ons.

See you on the platform!

AppExchange and the Salesforce Ecosystem

Brought to you by Salesforce AppExchange, learn customer…

AppExchange and the Salesforce Ecosystem

Brought to you by Salesforce AppExchange, learn customer and business success insights - straight from leaders in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Bruce Richardson

Written by

Serve as Chief Enterprise Strategist at Salesforce after nearly 20-year career as Chief Research Officer at AMR Research (now part of Gartner).

AppExchange and the Salesforce Ecosystem

Brought to you by Salesforce AppExchange, learn customer and business success insights - straight from leaders in the Salesforce ecosystem.