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AiThority Interview With Jeff Pigatto, VP and Global Head, Salesforce Practice at Saggezza

AiThority Interview With Jeff Pigatto, VP and Global Head, Salesforce Practice at Saggezza
Hi, please tell us about your role and the team/technology at Saggezza.

As the vice president of the salesforce practice at Saggezza, my role is to build and grow a world class Salesforce advisory and implementation practice.  Our mission is to help our clients do a better job of putting their customers at the center of everything they do, and ensuring their business processes and technology support that goal.  

We want to accelerate digital transformation for our clients through the use of swift ideation and low code, rapid development platforms. To do so, we draw on the deep expertise we have around business processes and the Salesforce platform, as well as other Saggezza capabilities such as analytics, robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, AI, and UX/UI design. 

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How do you empower Salesforce customers to meet the complex demands arising from modern digital interactions?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those companies were on the brink of their digital transformation efforts, but have now been thrust into the forefront with the additional challenge of managing a distributed workforce.

This is the acceleration of trends that were already in motion toward what I like to call America 2.0.  America 2.0 is a more efficient digital economy that will produce clear winners and losers. Our goal is to help our clients accelerate their digital transformation journey, and ensure they land in the “winners” column.

We do this by helping them reimagine their business processes and the technologies that enable those processes, from the perspective of their customers, and the experiences they provide for them. This means thinking through all the touchpoints and moments of truth that their customers’ experience along the journey, from first contact, targeted marketing, the sales and purchasing experience and resolution of customer service issues.

We help our clients build a customer-centric model that:

– Unifies the business and IT.

– Automates time-consuming tasks for speed and simplicity.

– Creates data-driven, actionable insights geared toward helping employees do the right things for customers.

Salesforce is a vast landscape. What tools and solutions are absolutely necessary to include in a modern Enterprise Tech stack?

In the America 2.0 economy, things change quickly and your business model, processes and IT solutions need to be able to adapt – quickly!  

We help our customers create listening mechanisms that can identify those changing elements through portals, ideas, surveys and social listening. It’s essential for companies to have and implement a data-driven KPI model to detect market changes early and respond quickly, enabling the business to deploy new digital capabilities at speed.  

To do this we leverage the full suite of Salesforce capabilities, from Marketing Cloud and Pardot, to Sales and Service, CPQ and Field Service, Community Cloud and collaboration tools like Quip.  We also look to the Salesforce AppExchange to further enhance the platform and fulfill additional use cases using tools like nCino, DocuSign, Conga, MapAnything and Equilar Backbone for Salesforce. Each of these tools is powerful on their own, but when combined to enable end-to-end digital processes, the results can be seismic. 

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How do you help CIOs, CMOs and Chief Customer Success Officers close the gap in their data strategy?

All the data in the world will not help you if you don’t make it actionable. I view Salesforce as “the action platform,” meaning that it allows our clients to draw insights from the volumes of accumulated data.Our clients can then take specific actions based on what they learn from that data. 

We partner closely with Saggezza’s Data and Analytics practice to ensure that our clients’ data are organized, accessible, and high quality with data governance controls.  This typically happens through crafting a data architecture that makes use of big data management platforms like AWS, Teradata, Oracle, Cloudera, or Snowflake, and that leverages Data Integrations / ETL tools like MuleSoft, Informatica, Jitterbit, Talend and Dell Boomi, to create a “single version of truth.”  

Then we use Salesforce tools like Einstein Analytics and Discovery and Tableau to make that data actionable. Einstein allows us to leverage analytics and AI capabilities native to Salesforce to guide the Salesforce user experience in the context of the business process in which they are operating (i.e. marketing, sales, service, and loan origination processes, etc.), and Tableau gives back office users and Data Scientists (i.e. non-Salesforce users) the ability to perform complex analysis and produce powerful management reporting across vast volumes of data. 

Tell us more your expertise in AI ML and Automation domains?

As mentioned previously, Salesforce is the “action platform” for making data actionable. Making data actionable includes the use of powerful AI and ML tools native to the Salesforce platform to bring these solutions to life. This includes the use of Einstein Discovery (AI), Einstein Predictions, Einstein Next Best Actions, Einstein Vision and Language (image recognition and natural language processing), and Einstein Bots (self-service).  We also partner with the Saggezza Automation Practice to leverage RPA tools such as UiPath and Automation Anywhere to enhance our Salesforce-based solutions, as appropriate. 

Our goal is to guide our clients along a maturity continuum that will help them evolve from Ad Hoc CRM and data capabilities to Innovation leaders on the platform:

  • Stage 1 (Ad Hoc) – Multiple forms of customer data, decentralized teams, no visibility into sales or service metrics, teams working in spreadsheets and email 
  • Stage 2 (Aspiring) – Manual management of customer data, excel spreadsheets, siloed legacy systems, no integrations with supporting systems 
  • Stage 3 (Evolving) – Deployed basic Salesforce functionality, centralized repository, single source of truth, visibility into sales pipeline, active and engaged users across the platform
  • Stage 4 (Practicing) – Empower organizations to easily analyze, visualize and report data to make better, more data-driven, decisions 
  • Stage 5 (Innovating) – Fully integrated systems, supporting the entire lifecycle of a customer from lead generation to b******. This stage incorporates Predictive Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Bots, Machine Learning, Social Listening and in-context process insights (Einstein) & guided selling/service/marketing. 
We are witnessing a seismic shift to AI-driven Customer Communications and Experience management platforms. What is the future of the Salesforce economy?

Given  all the tools and capabilities that I mentioned previously, I believe that Salesforce is in a prime position to play a major role in the shift to AI-driven Customer Communications and Experience management.  In fact, Salesforce IS an AI-driven Customer Communications and Experience management platform. The ability to build rich customer journeys and enable and manage those on the Salesforce platform leveraging products like Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Commerce Cloud and Einstein Discovery (AI) will make Salesforce a leader in this space. I believe that companies who embrace these capabilities will “win” in the America 2.0 economy. Those who don’t will lose, and probably cease to exist. 

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How have various IT modernization roadmaps evolved with the maturity of AI and Automated Machine Learning models?

I believe that companies are finally realizing that IT modernization is not just about lifting and shifting their old, legacy technologies to new, modern, cloud-based platforms.  While this may offer some savings around the total cost of ownerships (TCO) of their technology stack, the real opportunity for IT modernization efforts should be on transforming business processes and developing business models that allow them to compete in the America 2.0 economy. 

AI and automated machine learning will play a massive role in those new business models and modernization roadmaps.  IT modernization must start with rearchitecting and better organizing data, and then using the platforms available in the marketplace, including Salesforce, to make that data actionable, streamline and automate business processes, and ultimately provide the best possible experience for their customers and employees – one that’s personalized, easy to use, builds trust, and is empathetic to their needs.   

How do you pair the power of Human Expertise with Advanced Data Science capabilities?

Building on my answer to question #4, I view Salesforce as “the action platform,” meaning that it allows our customers to draw insights from the volumes of data they have accumulated, and take specific actions based on what they learn from that data. 

Humans can’t generate business insights from large data sets like complex algorithms can. But that’s what Salesforce, specifically Einstein, is for – it’s designed to pair, manage and improve the interaction between human expertise and data insights.  We use Salesforce tools like Einstein Analytics and Discovery and Tableau to make that data actionable.  Einstein allows us to leverage analytics and AI capabilities native to Salesforce to guide the Salesforce user experience and help them make better business decisions in the context of the business process in which they are operating. For example, it helps customer service reps know what product to offer a customer, whereas a sales reps uses it to know which deals to pursue. Tableau gives back office users and Data Scientists (i.e. non-Salesforce users) the ability to perform complex analysis and produce powerful management reporting across vast volumes of data. 

How do you define your relationship with the Chief Data Officer and Privacy Officers?

I see the Chief Data Officer and Privacy Officers organizations playing a bigger role in many of the Salesforce implementation projects that we do. I have spoken quite extensively on the critical role that data plays with Salesforce.  There is a critical need not only to architect and organize data across the enterprise, but also to govern it and keep it clean.  

Prior to implementing Salesforce, we use our Salesforce Blueprinting engagements to advise our customers on data governance and stewardship models that will ensure their data remains clean. That way, it can be leveraged more effectively by Salesforce and other platforms to drive actionable insights that help you grow the business. Data privacy and security also play critical roles in these engagements, and fortunately, Salesforce provides many tools for that. 

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Hear it from the pro: How do modern security and privacy measures impact the Enterprise-grade Salesforce platform? What are your commitments toward data privacy and security?

Data privacy and security play critical roles in our client engagements, and fortunately, Salesforce provides many tools in this space. As Salesforce states on it’s site, Salesforce is “hosted in a secure server environment that uses a firewall and other advanced technology to prevent interference or access from outside intruders. Customer Data is stored on a primary database server with multiple active clusters for higher availability. Customer Data is stored on highly redundant carrier-class disk storage and multiple data paths to ensure reliability and performance.”  

In addition, we can use products like Salesforce Shield to provide platform and field level data encryption.  For this reason, many organizations, including financial institutions, healthcare organizations and government entities use Salesforce to store personal identifying information (PII), sensitive/confidential data, or proprietary data to meet both external and internal data compliance policies, without worrying that their data is vulnerable.  This is extremely important to Chief Data Officers and Privacy Officers, and I think that it is important for them to know that Salesforce and Saggezza have them covered. 

What is the Future of Digital Transformation? Which technologies are you particularly keen to explore and adopt for your businesses?

The future of digital transformation will be defined by winners and losers.  The winners will be those companies who make investments – quickly – to optimize and digitize business processes and transform the way they work.  

Given the transition to a post-COVID world in which companies will need to adapt and work differently across a variety of locations (office, virtual, client site, etc.), Saggezza is keenly interested and laser-focused on enhancing the employee experience for our team and for our clients.  We will accomplish this using the full breadth of Salesforce platform capabilities, including employee journeys built using the Marketing Cloud Journey Builder, Community Cloud, Quip for Collaboration, Sales Cloud, myTrailhead for learning, and other tools. This helps us provide a consistent employee experience regardless of whether or not an employee is working in a Saggezza office, working remotely from home, or working at a client site.  

Our goal is to manage and improve the entire employee journey – from first knowledge of Saggezza, through the recruiting process, during onboarding, learning and career growth,making life easier for our employees and improving the retention of our best assets – our people!  I believe that most of our customers are also realizing the importance of providing a positive employee experience, and we plan to be there to help them make it happen. 

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Tag a person whose answers you would like to read here: @elonmusk and @Bennioff

I assume this means any person whose point of view I respect and admire, correct? If this is the case, then there are two – Elon Musk and Marc Bennioff. 

Why Elon Musk? – I believe that his thinking is way out in front of the rest of the world on so many fronts.  His ability to look past the immediate challenges in transitioning to an AI-driven, digital economy is nothing short of incredible.  Not only is he able to think past the challenges, but he is actually defining the future of digital transformation and putting AI / ML to use through the work being done by his companies – Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, OpenAI and NeuraLink. 

Why Marc Bennioff? – well, this should be obvious!

Thank you, Jeff! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Jeff Pigatto is the vice president and global head of Saggezza’s Salesforce practice. He has 20+ years of business and IT experience in consulting, financial services, and cloud solutions, during which he managed large IT organizations, complex programs and high profile consulting engagements.

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Saggezza combines software development, implementation expertise, and data analytics to help businesses make better data-driven decisions and improve client interaction, engagement, satisfaction, revenue and profitability. With more than 700 technology and business consultants and offices on three continents, Saggezza works to unlock the power of enterprise data, accelerate growth, uncover new opportunities and create innovative, operational cultures for companies around the globe.

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