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Salesforce eyes massive job creation, revenue growth in SA

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US-based cloud computing software firm Salesforce has ambitious plans to create tens of thousands of jobs via its channel ecosystem in SA over the next five years.

The company also believes that by fully exploiting its channel network, it can unlock new business revenue of up to $5.1 billion (R74.3 billion) in SA.

As the local business continues to grow, the San Francisco-domiciled Salesforce, which has had an established presence in SA for the past 10 years through partners, now wants to open its own office in the country.

This was revealed by Robin Fisher, senior area vice-president of Salesforce Emerging Markets, in an e-mail interview with ITWeb.

The company’s plans to create employment in SA will give the economy a boost as the country’s job market continues to be constrained.

Recent figures from Statistics SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey paint a grim picture of unemployment in the country – showing there were 7.8 million jobless South Africans in the second quarter of 2021, representing 34.4% of the population.

Stats SA also notes the South African economy recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of growth, expanding by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2021 (April-June). This followed a revised 1% rise in real gross domestic product in the first quarter (January-March).

However, it says despite the gains made over the last four quarters, the economy is 1.4% smaller than what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ancillary spending boost

Salesforce provides a customer relationship management service and a complementary suite of enterprise applications focused on customer service, marketing automation, analytics and application development.

It recently revealed the results of a new IDC study estimating that Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners will generate 31 800 new jobs and $5.1 billion (R74.3 billion) in new company revenue in SA by 2026.

Additionally, the report notes Salesforce is accelerating growth for its partner ecosystem in SA, which will generate $6.31 for every dollar Salesforce earns locally by 2026.

“IDC research shows that every Salesforce cloud subscription sold is generally accompanied by other products and services provided by third-parties and that ancillary spending will exceed the spending on the original subscription,” Fisher explains.

“Thus, the Salesforce ecosystem is larger than Salesforce itself. What’s more, as customer implementations become more complex and mission-critical, the ecosystem will also grow faster than Salesforce.”

Globally, IDC forecasts that cloud-related technologies will account for 27% of digital transformation IT spending this year, growing to 37% in 2026, as businesses focus on establishing their digital headquarters to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere.

Remote work, contactless customer engagement and sustainability efforts are becoming more prevalent than ever, and IDC expects this trend to continue.

Fisher points out the Europe, Middle East and Africa region has been Saleforce’s fastest growing region, with SA being a focus for the company.

“The region’s rapid expansion is being fuelled in large part by the region’s high rate of smartphone usage. This means Africa is a rapidly-developing and youthful market with enormous potential. Furthermore, we’ve seen, through our partner network, the innovation of the country that is able to continue operating effectively through challenging times. We’ve witnessed partners pivot and maximise the benefits of digitisation.

“We have been operating in South Africa through our ecosystem of partners for over 10 years. However, we are planning on doubling down on our commitment and investment, and there will be exciting news on this in the very near future.”

He says the jobs that will be created as the company grows its presence in SA include internet of things trades, health technologists, digital specialties, digital marketing, social media, privacy and compliance, digital-assisted security, information security specialists and next-generation analysis, among others.

“Globally, the ecosystem of companies supporting Salesforce customers’ implementations is five times as big as Salesforce itself today and will be more than six times as big in 2026. And with the 2026 global ecosystem revenue forecast to be 3.5 times that in 2020, the challenge will be finding talent,” says Fisher.

Robin Fisher, senior area vice-president of Salesforce Emerging Markets.
Robin Fisher, senior area vice-president of Salesforce Emerging Markets.

Incredible talent pool

The company plans to grow its channel ecosystem in SA, Fisher notes, adding that Salesforce continues its international expansion, with customers growing across Africa; hence it needs to ensure there are partners with the skills and capacity to support and deliver customer success.

“Africa has an incredible talent base and we are working closely with our partners on initiatives to drive employment opportunities to support the high demand for Salesforce skills across the continent, plus also recognise the potential for Africa as a global talent hub.

“We are looking to attract partners that have strong industry expertise and a laser-focus on ensuring customer success delivering transformational projects. In Africa, we particularly see demand in key verticals such as financial services, as well as communications and media.

“Overall, the demand for Salesforce skills is very high, so there is an exciting opportunity for partners to grow with Salesforce and we need partners with the ambition and investment plans to accelerate skills and capacity in the local market,” he concludes.

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