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Wade Wegner has been focused on building developer tools and platforms for most of his career. Today, he is the SVP of Product for Platform at Salesforce and responsible for products that are used by countless customers around the world. What Wade and his team focus on most are helping customers get more done faster so that they can put more of their energy into moving their business forward. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Wade explains how that’s possible with the Salesforce Customer 360 platform, and he shares what we can be excited about coming out of the Salesforce product team soon.

  Best Advice: “Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the best people you can, who are singularly focused on customer success. What you are able to accomplish is dependant on how the team comes together to work as a unit.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The world of app development is focused on creating app factories
  • Putting together different developers will lead to better results in app dev
  • Constant delivery of product should be one of your main focuses

Wade’s origins

Wade’s career actually started as an aerospace engineer in college and that experience was the first time he found the value and utility of coding. This realization led to his first official job as a developer. After a few stops along the way, including at Microsoft, Wade landed at Salesforce where he says his job is to ask, “How do we enable developers to successfully build on the platform?” 

The world of app development 

In the last 12 months, there has been more interest and discussion around the idea of low-code. The value of low-code platforms is that it makes it easier for a professional developer writing code and another person who needs a product to work together and develop something as a team. In the world of IT and for a lot of CIOs, the main thinking is about creating a platform that will allow an “app factory,” which enables people to be more successful building apps. This factory might include presets and a toolbox that people have built before that you can use to build out on your own faster. There is a burden of support that often gets lost, though, because people don’t think ahead to how much and how often apps need to be updated and streamlined. Wade says that his job is to think about the entire lifecycle of an app and come up with ways to easily service those applications over time. 

“There’s a lot of focus on how do we enable people to be more productive and get away from low-level things that require more time, and over time require us to support and maintain a high-code basis.” 

“Low-code is not just no-code… People have a perspective that low-code doesn’t include code.” 

“One of the things I focus on is how to bring agility to not just building an app, but to the entire app lifecycle. You need to be able to easily and continually support the application.”

“The harder it is to maintain and release applications, the harder you will find it is to use them in the lifespan.”  

Human capital in app development

Wade says success comes in companies that integrate systems together. You can have developers who are skilled at using different tools and then embed them in a team with different kinds of developers. That can lead to a partnership being formed where there are different skillsets and backgrounds craftings new things to solve problems. Wade believes that those partnerships tend to lead to tremendous outcomes. 

“When you have a team of professional developers who write code for a living, they’ll write code. When you introduce someone who’s more familiar with Salesforce, you have a new opinion that drives toward new ways to solve problems and different ways to build apps.”

Challenges in app development

Wade encourages everyone to think about the scorecard organizations can use to measure success. One important metric you should be looking at closely is how often are you releasing something? Salesforce is shipping quite often. To get to that point, you need to look at the pipeline you’ve built and the processes you’ve put in place to make sure you have agility. One of the ways to do that is to think about and implement automation because that will give you checks to enable you to release with confidence. 

Thinking about big deliverables, it’s critical to not wait until the date of delivery to start validating the process and the pipeline. You have to establish confidence so that all other stakeholders have confidence. Establishing that confidence happens in that pipeline you have created which is where you prove that you are delivering often and delivering value. It’s important to be transparent about how you will be delivering so stakeholders know what to expect along the way.

The way to get everyone on board with all of these initiatives is to make it personal to them. Not everyone in an organization may have the background for app dev, but everyone can understand the outcomes of working with apps. Everyone uses technology every day and the reason Wade says Salesforce is delivering value to you every day and delivering updates is so that you can get the most out of that technology and the apps you use. 

“One of the truest and most important metrics is how often are you shipping?”

“Being able to articulate what you’re doing in a language your end-users understand is incredibly important.”

What’s next for the Customer 360 Platform at Salesforce

One of the main focuses is Salesforce Evergreen. For a long time, there were two different platforms at Salesforce — developers loved Heroku and customers loved the Lightning Platform. With Evergreen, Salesforce is committing to uniting the two platforms.  

When it comes to release management, Wade says they are looking at sandboxes as a place to do testing. But they can be insecure, so Salesforce worked on Data Mask to help anonymize or pseudo-anonymize data. This is exciting because now customers don’t have to write scripts to clean up a sandbox environment before presenting it to a developer. 

What Wade is excited about

Wade says that there is so much to be excited about, and the reason it’s exciting is that all the capabilities Salesforce is building enable customers to do more without having to dig in. If you can take advantage of the apps and environments Salesforce provides, you have an increased ability to focus on what truly matters to your organization.

“The more you can use the platform means more time for you and less you have to maintain.”

“You can do more, build more and focus on more of the things that are valuable to your organization.”

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