LinkedIn told CNBC that the top three tech skills in demand are artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing. However, they noted that many technology skills have a market value of only six years, so soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving should also be honed. In order for workers to keep up, they should avail themselves of courses from LinkedIn Learning or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
“It’s important for companies to
continue to invest in their people so that they are upskilling and reskilling
their people to keep up with the roles that are in demand,” said Feon Ang,
LinkedIn Vice President for Talent and Learning Solutions, Asia Pacific.
“But, at the same time, people need to continue to invest in themselves
and have a growth mindset,” said Ang.
At last month’s Tenbound Conference Mark Dean, Head of Sales Development-Americas for LinkedIn, noted that soft skills are becoming increasingly critical for employees. LinkedIn research found that 57% of leaders weighed soft skills over hard skills. In demand skills include creativity, persuasion, and collaboration. In short, he asked, “Can they tell a story?”
“In the age of continuous change, global competition, and the use of AI, the employees who will become leaders and visionaries are the ones who can communicate effectively and create connection within the organization. It is only when employees have a sense of shared purpose and connection that they will do what it takes to help the organization succeed. The best way to build this connection is through authenticity, vulnerability, and storytelling. Soft, human-focused skills are the currency of the future. Employees need to take it upon themselves to grow and learn on a continual basis, whether it’s finding a mentor or continually investing in their growth to hone these skills.”
Lynne Levy of Arena Consulting
For Salesforce skills, there is Trailhead which the firm promotes at both public forums and on earnings calls.
Gartner forecasted continued growth of global public cloud services. The analyst firm projected 17.5% growth in 2019 to $214.3 billion. The fastest growth rate will be in Infrastructure as a Service which will jump 27.5% to $38.9 billion. Platform as a Service is expected to rise by 21.8% this year.
services are definitely shaking up the industry,” said Gartner Research VP Sid
Nag. “At Gartner, we know of no vendor or service provider today whose
business model offerings and revenue growth are not influenced by the
increasing adoption of cloud-first strategies in organizations. What we
see now is only the beginning, though. Through 2022, Gartner projects the
market size and growth of the cloud services industry at nearly three time the
growth of overall IT services.”
research found that a third of organizations listed cloud investments as a top
three investment priority. Thirty percent of technology providers new
software investments are shifting from cloud-first to cloud only. Thus,
SaaS and subscription cloud models will continue to replace license-based
Scott Brinker published his 2019 Chief Martech eye chart and it now spans 7,040 companies, up 211 since last year. While the industry continues to grow, the rate of growth appears to have moderated. Between 2014 and 2018, the industry was adding over 1,000 companies each year with the biggest jump for the 2018 chart (1,800).
so much a slowing down as a flattening out, a plateau,” said Brinker. “At
face value, it would seem that, indeed, we have achieved ‘peak martech.’ (pause
for dramatic effect)”
industry growth may have plateaued, Brinker admitted that 7,040 significantly
underestimates the total number of Martech firms and joked that he may have hit
“peak martech landscape.” Brinker noted five areas where his chart is
Regionally – When comparing to national MarTech landscapes, Brinker spotted hundreds of companies on the UK, Canadian, Chinese, German, Swedish, and Finnish country charts that were absent on the 2019 Chief Martech chart.
Vertical – Likewise, verticalized solutions are also underrepresented.
Apps built for specific MarTech platform ecosystems
Apps built by services companies (but packaged as products)
Apps built with low-code/no-code citizen developer platforms
these trends — the growth of platform ecosystems, the blending of software and
services businesses, and the rise of citizen developer platforms — are birthing
whole new galaxies of martech apps.
marketing suites have all embraced becoming true marketing platforms, with ever
more open APIs and official marketplaces for third-party apps.”
lists Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, Microsoft, and G Suite amongst the platform
ecosystems, but one would also include browser extensions, mobile apps, and
sales engagement platforms (technically, SalesTech, but there is a fair amount
of overlap between MarTech and SalesTech these days) to the list. Brinker
noted that WordPress has 54,480 plugins.
Many of the
DaaS and Sales Intelligence vendors covered in this newsletter are amongst the
204 vendors listed in the Audience / Marketing Data & Data Enrichment
category and the 457 vendors listed in the Sales Automation Enablement & Intelligence
TechTarget added a set of Confirmed Projects to their Priority Engine service. Projects include company information, project location, project contact name, purchase criteria, and purchase details. Purchase criteria include top purchase drivers, product feature criteria, and vendors under consideration.
details include capabilities being considered, key factors in choice of
vendor(s), deployment method, departments where the purchase will be used, and
“The integration of Confirmed Project intelligence within the platform provides an expanded view of the Total Buying Team as well as new deal insights and angles – all in one place – to help Sales teams win more meetings, opportunities and deals. The addition of Confirmed Project data provides a much deeper layer of intelligence on project criteria, specific vendor shortlists and key purchase drivers which enriches and expands insights available within Priority Engine to give sales teams more points of entry into live deals.”
TechTarget Press Release
Projects are displayed alongside TechTarget intelligence including Owler
company overviews, TechTarget buying teams, DiscoverOrg contacts, and HG Data
Projects are collected by TechTarget’s “team of skilled in-house research
assistants who are responsible for calling active prospects from high-ranking
Priority Engine accounts.” Prospects exchange project intelligence in
exchange for TechTarget research.
TechTarget intelligence is accessible from “any browser and imported directly into Salesforce.”
“We saw rapid growth in the use of Priority Engine to fuel inside sales efforts in 2018 as more and more of our customers’ sales teams are using the insights we provide into prospect interests, research focus, vendor considerations, and tech installs. Using this data, leading sales teams have seen up to a 4x increase in opportunity conversion. The addition of Confirmed Projects within Priority Engine will fuel this growth even more.”
TechTarget SVP of Products Andrew Briney
Priority Engine raised revenues 29% in Q4 year-over-year and “bookings remain strong.” The firm signed an additional 32 customers in Q4 and the firm raised Priority Engine prices by 10% in January 2019 after raising them 20% in January 2018. The price increase was across all Priority Engine solutions. As price increases are recognized over the life of contracts and renewals are overweighted to Q4, much of the 2018 price increase will show up in 2019 revenues.
signed up prior to the beginning of the year were protected in their previous
year’s pricing, but then we added other add-on bundles and solutions,
because…we are integrating a lot of our branding lead generation offers into
Priority Engine,” said CEO Mike Cotoia. “So there is an up-sell
capability and opportunity for our customers to…create a greater share of voice
percentage within the markets they care about.”
“Our customers continue to increase their commitment to becoming data-driven sales and marketing organizations. This is creating opportunities to strengthen our partnerships with our customers by further embedding our purchase intent data into their systems to make their sales and marketing efforts more intelligent, competitive and efficient.”
TechTarget Shareholders Letter, February 6, 2019
TechTarget admitted that the data subscription business differs significantly from their traditional quarterly marketing campaigns. Over the past two years, they have learned that service requirements vary greatly by size. Larger firms “who have sophisticated systems and ample resources” can immediately leverage intent data for awareness campaigns and fueling sales outreach. Enterprise accounts have revenue renewal rates “well over 100%.” However, smaller firms require more handholding and renew at less than 100% of revenue. To assist SMBs, TechTarget has assembled a unified customer success team to offer post-sales service and support. “We believe over time that this will increase our revenue renewal rates with this customer segment. “
TechTarget described a strong IT spending environment with multiple catalysts for growth: AI, security, data analytics, and cloud migrations. In the US, accelerated depreciation of capital expenses through 2022 gives “companies a short window to invest in technology with favorable tax treatment.”
The theme of this year’s Dreamforce was The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Following after revolutions driven by steam, electricity, and information technology, the fourth industrial revolution blurs the “physical and digital worlds” creating a wave of “innovation in technology” which is transforming the economy, society, and lives while creating new jobs, industries, and opportunities. This next wave is based upon intelligence. Elements include IoT, 3D printing, biotech, robotics, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, and quantum computing.
“This is what we call the fourth industrial revolution,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “There’s all these amazing new technologies, things like autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence and nanotechnology and mobile computing and all these things are really hitting at once. And companies are really transforming themselves and bringing all these new technologies in really to connect with their customers in new ways.”
Thus, elevators loaded with sensors now communicate back to the manufacturer and predict failures, calling for service prior to trapping people. Likewise, with tires, “if the tire blows, nobody knows; but in the future, if the [smart] tire blows, everybody knows.” So, firms like Kone (elevators) and Michelin (tires) are now B2B2C companies. In the future, if a tire is about to blow, it will communicate to the autonomous vehicle to pull over.
“Every company is getting closer to their customers. We’ve been talking about this for years. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B company or a B2C company, everybody’s becoming a B2B2C company.”
Salesforce and its customers are “delivering personalized one-to-one engagement at scale,” said Stephanie Buscemi, EVP of Product Marketing. This is done “declaratively, with clicks and not code.” Through the Salesforce Data Management Platform, ads are customized and delivered cross-device, allowing companies to redisplay ads or present new advertisements to their customers and prospects.
Benioff cited a series of companies providing customer service and support through Salesforce platforms including Louis Vuitton, Marriot, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Adidas, and Ducati Motorcycles.
“Behind all these things…behind everything is a customer. And that’s what all of us do. We are working to connect with our customers in an incredible new way.”
Simplified customization, development, and branding were emphasized during the keynote. A set of customizable products provide a “smarter, more personalized Salesforce”:
MyTrailhead service supports custom branding, content, and learning paths that allows firms to onboard and train employees on desktops and phones. Tools include quizzes, reference links, trails, and badges. Salesforce Trailhead content is also available.
MyEinstein provides an artificial intelligence layer driven declaratively by “clicks, not code” supporting “smarter capabilities including bots.”
MyLightning customization provides an app builder with custom pages, a Lightning theming and design system, Lightning Flow, Components, and Bolts which operate automatically on both desktops and phones. Designers will have access to dynamic components which are conditionally displayed.
MySalesforce branded “mobile apps without code” can be uploaded to the Google Play and App Store.
MyIoT supports native integration capturing real-time events, business rule automation, and low-code orchestration.
Based upon customer feedback, SFDC has shifted from IoT as a separate platform to an integrated feature of the CRM platform which also operates “declaratively without code.”
Benioff admitted that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating concerns and wondered whether it is “uniting us or dividing us. Are we more connected or somehow less connected?”
He also asked whether there is more or less equality in the World.
“There is this stress being created by this fourth industrial revolution. Yes, we have this promise of this new connected World. But what is it doing to us? And what are other actors doing around the World using these technologies? Are they changing our society? Are they changing our elections? What are they doing with this technology?”
Benioff is looking at the Trailblazers attending Dreamforce as the Customer Innovators, Technology Disruptors, and Global Shapers to ensure that the next wave is directed in a positive direction. “You have all these new tools at your fingertips, these incredible new technologies, but you are doing some amazing things in the World. You are changing your companies. You are steering this technology in the right direction. I’m so confident in who you are. I’m so confident in what’s in your hearts and where we are all going.”
Benioff noted that most technology is generally neutral in it effect upon society. It is therefore incumbent upon technologists, developers, and companies to deploy technology in a socially responsible manner which promotes greater equality. Benioff called for companies to fight for equality through equal pay, investing in schools, and opposing discriminatory laws. He also noted that it is the poor who are most hurt by environmental degradation and proudly stated, “we are a net zero cloud.”
Benioff was also proud to have founded and led the leading CRM with an 18.1% market share (2016 IDC) nearly double that of Oracle (9.4%). Salesforce has the top solutions for sales (34.2%), service (33.7%), marketing (9.9%), and Platform-as-a-Service. Within the marketing cloud, Salesforce claims to offer the leading Data Management Platform and commerce Platform.
What’s more, the firm is on track to be the fastest enterprise software company to hit $12.5 billion in revenue. They hit $10 billion this year and have FY19 guidance of $12.5 billion in year 20.
One of the issues facing businesses and policymakers is an increasing skills gap. Benioff proposed MyTrailhead as one of the tools to help address the problem of workers across many industries and skill levels. MyTrailhead provides a customized, branded training platform.
TechCrunch complained that this year’s Dreamforce lacked drama as it lacked new initiatives such as the social enterprise, artificial intelligence, and IoT. “They are a company that embraces the cutting edge, but this year lacked that kind of big announcement,” complained enterprise reporter Ron Miller. To be fair, though, the company has rolled out a series of new platforms, clouds, and acquisitions over the past few years. A year with few fireworks is not necessarily a year without forward progress for Lightning, Quip, Einstein, Trailhead, and platform customization.
The conference remains a monster with 170,000 registered participants joining in San Francisco and millions of online views.
One of the most avidly anticipated presentations is Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends presentation. This year she had deep dives into India, China, and Healthcare. The two slides that caught my attention, though, were the importance of immigrants to technology companies. Specifically, she evaluated the percent of top companies with first or second-generation American founders.
Amongst the top 25 US technology publics by market cap, 60% were founded by a first or second-generation American such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Sergey Brin. These fifteen firms employ 1 1/2 million.
Even more impressive, the top five global publics by market cap are all US technology firms, of which four of the five have at least one first or second generation founder.
When looking at private technology firms, around 50% of the top firms by valuation were founded by first-generation Americans.
US technology firms have benefited from immigrant founders and employees along with access to global markets. Calls to restrict immigration will result in restricted access to foreign markets combined with a greater outsourcing of development jobs overseas. While H1-B visas need to be re-calibrated to ensure that the visas are awarded to high-demand, highly skilled positions, immigration is vital to US economic vitality.