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How EPAM & Salesforce Drive Digital Transformation

Interview

What does digital transformation with Salesforce mean? What trends are the most common in digital transformations with Salesforce? And how does Salesforce drive digital transformation for clients? To answer these questions, we interviewed our Salesforce experts Lauren Noonan, Head of Salesforce Practice Centers of Excellence, and Tonya McKinney, VP of Strategy Innovation and Consulting.

What does digital transformation with Salesforce mean to clients?

Lauren Noonan

A customer will have an experience with a brand whether the brand intentionally designs it or not. Digital transformation puts clients in the driver’s seat, enabling them to better design and drive the experiences their customers want. To put it simply, digital transformation is experience transformation. Companies start this journey for many reasons, but it usually always comes back to people — transforming how easy it is for customers to do business and improving employee productivity and satisfaction. If companies can get those two elements right, the revenue follows.

At its most basic level, transformation is experience design, processes, data, channels, analytics and automation. But the real goal is to fundamentally change how a company works; engages in a business ecosystem of employees, customers and partners; scales and innovates. It also definitely involves culture change, which is the most difficult thing to transform.

Companies choose Salesforce clouds and platforms to accelerate transformation, help them scale for the future and provide standardization across the business that eases employee adoption and aids — rather than hinders — the required cultural shift.

Successful transformations are different for every business. No two are alike no matter what packaged software you may choose. Salesforce has been at the helm of connecting the customer across the various clouds, which is why it has been so successful, disruptive and transformative.

Tonya McKinney

More organizations are choosing Salesforce as the building block or “center” of their transformations. And Lauren is so right — transformation involves much more than a lift and shift to a cloud platform, which is why EPAM organizes very differently to provide transformation services with Salesforce at the center. We pull the right combination of people — with different expertise — together to solve problems, regardless of where they sit in the organization. Taking this approach enables us to meet the broader demands of digital transformation with Salesforce. We can address brand and marketing, experience transformation, organizational enablement, platform and product strategy, data and AI along with Salesforce.

So, while a client may be deploying Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and MuleSoft, we know the genesis of that effort is in larger company strategies, such as business model changes requiring direct-to-consumer channels or a shift from licensing to “as a service.” Salesforce multicloud implementation requires an understanding of the requirements and demands of business model transformation, and EPAM offers that.

What business and industry trends do you see as most common in digital transformations involving Salesforce?

LN

Going into the pandemic, we had classic drivers of digital transformation — a drop in pipeline and revenue, loss of market share, disruptive new competitors, customer dissatisfaction and attrition, and cost drivers such as the cost to service customers. Coming out of the pandemic, we see companies asking for what I call “transformation interventions.” The pandemic moved up, moved out and changed transformation roadmaps. Clients don’t have the desire or the budget to start over. They want a reality check or assessment to reset their transformation path. We created an Assess & Elevate offering that helps clients quickly identify the capabilities and roadmap that will have the most incremental business impact. This offering can be delivered in as little as two weeks and helps clients understand where they are on the maturity curve and where should they go next.

The other biggest trends we’ve seen have been a heightened move to predictive intelligence and continuing to break organizational silos that hinder the customer experience. It’s become less about meeting customer expectations and more about predicting expectations and improving the day-to-day operations, and, therefore, satisfaction of their employees. At its crux, digital transformation is focused on making things simpler and easier for everyone.

TM

Transformation trends are trending fast. As we adjust transformation plans coming out of the pandemic, new drivers are starting to emerge. Sustainability will drive many transformation activities, as companies need better end-to-end visibility, governance and reporting on investments in their environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs. Salesforce Net Zero is maturing quickly to meet these needs.

Companies will need to track not just Net Zero, but their social efforts as well. As a Salesforce partner, EPAM is expanding on the Sustainability Cloud solution. We have been tracking the initiative of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), moving beyond employee to customer, which is tied to another future transformation trend, “total experience.”

We’ll see more companies adopt transformation strategies around “total experience” or “ecosystem experience,” which is a holistic experience strategy across customers, partners, stakeholders (such as your community) and employees. EPAM and Salesforce will ensure that transformation is transparent, trackable and scalable with new EPAM Inclusive Total Experience offerings, such as Accessibility in Retail and Inclusive Personalization on Salesforce Customer Data Platform.

How does a Salesforce-enabled digital transformation impact business and add value?

LN

Salesforce-enabled digital transformations allow clients to control the design and orchestration of their customer experiences. Our goal at EPAM is always to help our clients deliver more personalized, thoughtful experiences that increase loyalty, satisfaction and spend. Speaking of loyalty and spending, clients obviously look to add value with their investments in Salesforce platforms, so there is always a component of ROI. Salesforce investments link directly to revenue-driving KPIs to make it easy to track ROI.

Using Salesforce products can also help transform employee experiences. These transformations can result in process optimizations that improve productivity for employees, which reduces handle time and the amount of capital that it takes to convert customers. These platforms are also designed to be relationship builders with customers that drive additional loyalty and purchases. Salesforce platforms help you continue to build a two-way, bidirectional relationship with customers.

I know we’re focused on Salesforce here, but large transformation efforts go beyond Salesforce to drive even bigger outcomes. EPAM can create a solution that combines Salesforce systems and other products because we have capabilities beyond the Salesforce tech stack. And, because Salesforce is embedded in our digital unit, that cross-platform, multicloud solution will be design led; not just integrated with data and processes but integrated with experience. That integrated employee and customer experience across an entire new digital infrastructure is what ensures a transformation investment pays off.

One final point on ROI I want to add: It doesn’t stop on launch day and neither do we. On top of handling Salesforce and implementations, we can roll right into a managed services engagement and continue to drive business outcomes. And our managed service offerings aren’t just back office. Our Run the Brand and Run the Store offerings support both marketing and commerce organizations by managing all campaign touchpoints, reporting back on the success of those campaigns and providing recommendations for optimization based on our own insights and findings. We recently used these offerings to improve triggered campaigns for a large U.S.-based outdoor apparel retailer, which resulted in a 25% lift in conversion rate.

In addition to running the brand, we can run a company’s digital commerce stores and keep the lights on with online commerce. This offering even includes ongoing maintenance to the catalog and any deals a business is running and making sure their website is dynamic and personalized. We also have offerings that grow with our clients as they move through transformation.

How is Salesforce continuing to drive digital transformation with their new product offerings?

TM

Salesforce paces multiple market spaces and is quick to release products based on client needs. In my view, Salesforce Customer Data Platform and Loyalty Management are the two recent releases that bring the most impact for customers’ digital transformations. Salesforce Customer Data Platform is a powerful maturation from Customer 360 that charges many of the clouds and capabilities essential to digital transformation.

Like most CDPs, Salesforce Customer Data Platform unifies and rationalizes data, making it more useful across an entire customer experience. The State of Marketing research report finds that companies expect data sources to proliferate by 40%, so getting it together is job number one. The next CDP job is “action,” and Salesforce Customer Data Platform turns data into action across all the Salesforce Clouds. We see that connectivity pay off in the launch of Loyalty Cloud, which puts Salesforce Customer Data Platform to work by immediately driving two of the highest priorities for digital transformation — keeping customers and earning more of the customers’ spend.

We already noted that digital transformation might be anchored in Salesforce, but it always involves other apps and platforms. Salesforce Customer Data Platform comes with out-of-the-box MuleSoft connectors, so your micro-segmented, one-to-one, hyper personalization can be extended to any touchpoint, any engagement and even emerging channels, such as augmented reality (AR). The same CDP data that delivers the right offer can also deliver the right AR scene.

Salesforce Customer Data Platform is also the key to meeting emerging trends in digital transformations. As we move into the demand for “total experience” and the crossover of DE&I efforts from employees to customers, partners and stakeholders, EPAM is leveraging Salesforce Customer Data Platform as the foundation to a fully inclusive business ecosystem framework and solutions. Real-time personalization for all ages, abilities, ethnicities, genders, geographies, etc., will unlock more revenue from the market.

LN

I couldn’t agree more Tonya, and EPAM was among the first to see the value of both Salesforce Customer Data Platform and Loyalty Management, which is why we have several success stories with both platforms. For these solutions, we have already delivered five out of five Salesforce CSATs on our first implementations. Delivering a five out of five CSAT on a brand-new technology is a truly incredible achievement, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team for their fearless ability to jump in and commit to learning a new platform.

We were able to move quickly and provide value in Customer Data Platform and Loyalty Management because engineering is in our DNA at EPAM. We are also in an excellent position, as we have a renowned data science practice that works closely with our Salesforce practice, which has helped catapult our capabilities to the next level. Together, these teams can successfully implement Salesforce Customer Data Platform and determine the right segments to build, the right data sources to pull from and the right way to leverage data to optimize data models for businesses. Add that to our experience-led approach and behavior science capabilities, and we’re able to design an intelligent and super-sticky loyalty experience on Salesforce.

We’ve also launched the EPAM Plus Customer Data Action offering for Salesforce Customer Data Platform, which provides our Data Factory model to rapidly create Salesforce Cloud-ready data components for agile adaptation to the customer.

Can you describe a client we’ve helped through each step of their digital transformation journey and how our work has impacted their business?’

TM

We just reviewed in depth Emakina’s — which is now an EPAM company — retail transformation work with Hartlauer that won the Salesforce Partner Innovation Award for Retail last year. It fully exemplifies most of the points Lauren and I discussed above. It was a project from strategy and design to delivery and launch, through growth and scale.

It was a large Salesforce-based multicloud transformation that included Customer 360, Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Advertising Studio, Social Studio, Service Cloud, Dataroma and Tableau. It was a solution that encompassed third-party apps and a direct integration into the store POS systems.

LN

Hartlauer also had an interesting driver for digital transformation, too. They are a European retailer offering cutting-edge products and expanding into younger markets, but their home-grown web shop and software, plus multiple applications, didn’t reflect their brand and growing business.

So, to start the project, our team did a deep dive interview cycle on target audiences, then rapidly moved through design sprints to create prototypes and tests for target groups. They shifted quickly to tech sprints to visualize information flows. This is an example of the experience and design-led capability that brings business value within and beyond Salesforce.

Next, our team created the powerful solution that uses Salesforce Commerce Cloud to deliver extensive features on a single platform. The team also designed a smooth checkout process with multiple, flexible payment methods, including PayPal, Klarna and credit card. They integrated the product information management (PIM) tool inRiver into Commerce Cloud to provide rich, up-to-date product descriptions, instructions and photos from various sources. They then added the headless CMS Kentico Kontent to provide the flexibility and extensibility needed to enable easier workflows for content management.

Our team integrated a full marketing stack from Salesforce, including Journey Builder to manage customer journeys, Mail for personalized content and Advertising Studio to optimize Google Search and Display as well as ads.

They also added Salesforce Service Cloud to enable documentation and resolution on one platform no matter where a message originates. With our help, Hartlauer's renowned in-store customer service is replicated online now.

TM

And back to customer insight as the foundation of a transformation: The team created a full and rich customer view connected to all channels using Salesforce Customer 360. CRM and other tools now seamlessly exchange information to prevent duplicates and discrepancies. Information can be accessed online and offline at all touchpoints. With Salesforce, Hartlauer employees can provide a personal service across all channels, whether in a web shop, email campaigns, social media or in store.

To learn more, read the full Hartlauer case study here.

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