Vala Afshar, new Chief Digital Evangelist @Salesforce
This role and title reflect the importance of digital to our world. Gone are the days when “being digital” meant targeting unsuspecting consumers with the subterfuge of pretend authenticity. The real power of digital lies in data as a mechanism for understanding our world in ways that lead to actions and outcomes.
Data allows us to listen, engage, communicate, and act faster and with greater accuracy than ever before. The implications are profound. For companies, digital means closer relationships with loyal customers. Those in government and education will find new opportunities to serve citizens with less effort but higher impact. For customers – the people we serve – digital means choice, flexibility, and lower cost. Digital business –applying the power of cloud, social, mobile and data science technologies– is no longer an option.
How do we gain these benefits? In the digital world, cultivating new ways to gather, analyze, and use data must be our mandate. Of course, as we consider new technologies and business models, the need for smooth transitions remains paramount. Yes, we’re going to change the wings while the airplane continues its safe flight!
As Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce, my mandate will be listening to customers and sharing opportunities for digital change. It’s an exciting role that combines a business perspective with the technologies for gathering, analyzing, and sharing data.
On a personal note, I am proud to join Marc Benioff and the team at Salesforce. In my last roles, as Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Customer Officer of a public company, I used various Salesforce products for more than a decade. As an inventor, I filed a patent for one of the first tools to automate customer service based on machines talking to machines. This internet of things (IoT) application ran on the Salesforce platform.
For years, I have interacted with customer executives and worked with influencers such as analysts, the press, and bloggers. Whether in person or on social media, my inspiration comes from learning and sharing. I cannot wait to continue doing that at Salesforce!
I’m also excited to continue as co-host of CXOTalk with Michael Krigsman, a top independent analyst and thought leader, and write stories about the world’s top digital innovators in Huffington Post.
The fundamental meaning and import of digital is a coming together of people, sharing common goals that take advantage of the great opportunities that lie before us. Salesforce has extraordinary depth, vision, and talent focused on improving life. I am honored to be part of that journey.