Salesforce launches blockchain platform for CRM

Low-code tool will give customers the ability to build networks and share datasets with partners

Blockchain

Salesforce is connecting a low-code blockchain platform with its customer relationship management (CRM) suite to open up new services and operations for its customers.

The cloud-powered software developer has launched the platform to allow companies to create blockchain networks, workflows and apps, in a way that's easier and faster than traditional methods.

The Salesforce Blockchain platform is a low-code system built on the open source technology developed by Hyperledger Sawtooth and is customised to fit with the company's flagship Salesforce Lightning CRM product.

Beyond building networks, users can layer blockchain data above existing sales, service, or marketing workflows, and run artificial intelligence-powered algorithms to integrate this data into sales forecasts and other predictions.

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Salesforce says that blockchain's distributed ledger technology can help with authenticating and sharing data across multiple third parties, where traditionally this process has been clunky and slow. Principally, the company says it streamlines how transactions and documents are created and exchanged.

"Blockchain allows us to upend antiquated processes like these and rebuild them entirely with customers at the centre," said Salesforce's senior vice president for emerging technologies Adam Caplan.

"Data can securely flow beyond an organization's four walls and be extended to partners. Every party in the blockchain network can verify and see each transaction in an open, transparent way.

"The information is secure, trusted, and - if the need arises - can be audited."

Organisations across several industries can use the technology for conventional business processes like asset tracking, credentialing, and authentication of goods. Salesforce says that combining CRM with blockchain data can see firms devise new business processes and models across sales, marketing, and services.

A real-life application of Salesforce's blockchain platform involves Arizona State University, which is using the system to design and create an education network that allows universities to verify and share information securely.

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S&P Global Ratings, meanwhile, is using the service to reduce the time it takes to review and approve new business bank accounts by bringing together multiple reviews for greater transparency in this process.

The main problem Salesforce is aiming to tackle involves a greater need for businesses to harness and share massive amounts of data with an ever-growing network of partners and third parties - and to do so securely.

The firm, therefore, sees blockchain's distributed ledger as a means to plugging any 'trust gap' that arises if companies fail to manage to increased costs and inefficiencies that it said this process will introduce.

Salesforce is just the latest company to introduce a blockchain service after its CEO Mark Benioff teased such a platform in April last year.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft have both released blockchain-powered services, with the former targeting the healthcare and finance sectors with its Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) templates released last year.

Salesforce Blockchain is currently available to select design partners ahead of its general release in 2020.

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