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New Salesforce clouds focus on manufacturing, consumer goods

Following the success of the Health Cloud, Salesforce is releasing new industry-specific cloud services for the manufacturing and consumer goods sectors.

As businesses move their operations to the cloud, there is an increasing need for offerings that address industry-specific needs.

Two new Salesforce clouds -- Manufacturing Cloud and Consumer Goods Cloud -- aim to solve problems for specific use cases in the manufacturing and consumer goods sectors. Industry-specific cloud services are nothing new -- SAP and Oracle also have manufacturing cloud services options -- but they are gaining in popularity.

"Organizations want offerings that solve their business problems," said Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner. "Vendors recognize this and are building solutions that align more closely to their customers' industry-specific needs."

Manufacturing Cloud

The first new Salesforce cloud is Manufacturing Cloud, a cross-cloud application that forms part of the Salesforce Customer 360 data platform. Manufacturing Cloud offers the same services as the standard Salesforce cloud platform, but companies can configure and optimize it to be useful in a typical manufacturing environment. This not only makes the cloud more effective, but it also draws in new customers, Anderson said.

"This [product] will look familiar to manufacturing organizations and support the main functions a manufacturing organization will care about, such as interacting with their partners, supporting field service professionals, supporting some supply chain and online purchasing functions and managing customer engagements," he said.

With the Manufacturing Cloud, account teams and operations teams can share data held on disparate cloud servers when putting together sales agreements. This ensures that everyone in an organization can see how ongoing negotiations and changes to contracts affect their part of the business, said Jujhar Singh, executive vice president and general manager at Salesforce.

Organizations want offerings that solve their business problems.
Ed AndersonResearch vice president, Gartner

Previously, different departments would maintain section-specific information on their own cloud or on-premises server and had to manually share data with other parts of a business. By connecting the Manufacturing Cloud to the Sales or Marketing Salesforce clouds, businesses can collect and share data with multiple teams in a pipeline. A manufacturing division, for example, can automatically renew or change orders based on input from both the customer and account teams, and account teams can use information from the operations side to inform forecasting and analytics.

"Account teams have the best view of their customers, but their input doesn't often get back to the overall planning and forecasting processes," Singh said.

It's also useful that the manufacturing Salesforce cloud service can integrate into other mainstream manufacturing applications, Anderson said.

Consumer Goods Cloud

The second new Salesforce cloud is the Consumer Goods Cloud, which includes mobile capabilities and integrate with Einstein Vision. This stand-alone offering provides a number of services for businesses to assist them in optimizing the distribution of goods to consumers. With the Consumer Goods Cloud, account managers can audit stores for compliance, improve inventory efficiency and distribute CX surveys.

For instance, a company representative can scan a store shelf to measure how densely employees pack it and what product might be out of stock. The employee can then use previously collected feedback data to redesign store displays. This data, which representatives collect at multiple stores, will make an intelligent recommendation based on what people are buying in a particular area.

Cloud services will continue to eclipse traditional IT systems, and industry-specific cloud offerings will continue to blossom, Anderson said.

Both Salesforce cloud services are available Oct. 1.

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