Q&A: JP Rangaswami, Salesforce

We speak to the company's chief scientist about his involvement in Byte Night and where he sees the industry moving.

Describe your role in three words.

Listening to customers. 

How did you get to where you are today/into IT/business?

A willingness to learn; and people who gave me the chance to learn; learning involves making mistakes. 

Today we see an even greater shift as companies look to connect with their customers in completely new ways by harnessing new social and mobile cloud technologies.

What's the biggest challenge of being a modern-day technology leader?

Separating hype from value.

And the most rewarding thing?

Watching the value grow, helping change people's lives.

What is the biggest mistake you think you've made? What did you learn from that experience? 

Talking rather than listening when I'm with customers. I needed to learn to listen.

And your greatest success?

Finding out it's never too late to learn. 

What one piece of advice would you give the younger you/next generation about your career/this industry what to do/not to do etc?

Whatever else grabs your attention, look for the customer in the narrative. Never forget you have a customer. 

How big a role will cloud computing play in your organisation in the next three years?

Salesforce.com pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing four years ago, and it has delivered incredible benefits of speed, efficiency and scale. Today we see an even greater shift as companies look to connect with their customers in completely new ways by harnessing new social and mobile cloud technologies. We call this transformation becoming a customer company, and we believe this will completely change the face of business.

What other technologies are you watching/why?

Anything that helps me make it easier to do something in context and with context.

What is the most important criterion you use to make decisions that impact your business and why?

Back to the customer. As Peter drucker said "the purpose of business is to create a customer". 

Anything else you care to add about your role or where you see the industry moving?

Marc Benioff spoke recently about "pivoting to the customer". I think that's where the industry is headed, really making the customer the heart and soul of business.  

JP is taking part in Byte Night next Friday - as is the Cloud Pro/IT Pro team (you can sponsor us here) -  to raise money for Action for Children. Turn the page to find out why he continues to be involved with such a worthy cause. 

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