Greg Bateman, regional vice president of Defense – 4th Estate at Salesforce, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about the business behind Salesforce’s federal and defense portfolio of offerings and how leveraging recent acquisitions has helped Salesforce see success in this competitive market during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Greg Bateman below
ExecutiveBiz: What are the core values that are important to your company’s culture? How has your team developed its workflow and ability to drive success in a competitive market?
Greg Bateman: “Salesforce has been broadly recognized for its culture, and for me, it’s an honor to be a part of it. I recently joined Salesforce, and what I’ve learned so far is that our North Star, culturally, is the value of trust.
It makes sense when you think about when Salesforce started way back in 1999 and was effectively the first ‘software as a service’ company. At that time, enterprises were only using on-premises systems for CRM.
You might recall this as the era of Siebel Systems and maybe some offerings from Oracle. While enterprises were intrigued by the concept and low cost of ‘no software,’ later known as SaaS, they were also leery of trusting someone else to handle their critical customer data.
So the first thing Salesforce had to do was establish trust with customers, specifically that we could protect their data while keeping it available to them all the time. DOD customers see that today via our compliance with DOD’s IL4 and soon, IL5, cloud security requirements.
That focus on trust continues today and guides our interactions with customers, employees, and stakeholders. For example, at Salesforce, we use the word Ohana, which is Hawaiian for family. I have been welcomed as part of the family during my time at Salesforce. I am proud to support our company’s mission and commitment to our customers.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has Salesforce been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?
Greg Bateman: “I’ve been so fortunate to have been in the industry, working with federal customers through several waves of innovation, from the early PC days to Web 1.0 and now into the Cloud and AI era. While each of those waves brought significant positive change, it’s fair to say that the current wave offers the greatest opportunities for the government yet.
If you think about it, prior waves were centered around advancements in technology formats. For example, smaller PCs replaced the larger Unix workstation/server, VAX, or mainframe. Browsers augmented and then largely replaced client-side code. Finally, IaaS clouds like AWS or Azure largely replaced physical hardware with more efficiently run virtual infrastructure.
All of that has been very good for federal agencies. Agencies on the digital transformation journey have been able to get some ROI from lifting and shifting workloads into IaaS clouds. Still, the promise of the cloud isn’t about the infrastructure – it’s about the applications.
Salesforce has taken away the responsibility of managing the server, storage, and network infrastructure so agencies can focus on the application functionality that will improve their mission outcomes.
Agencies benefit from the quick access to modern, secure applications that Salesforce provides instead of building them from scratch with IaaS clouds and DevSecOps tools. Seeing agencies start to deliver on their digital transformation efforts so quickly with the Salesforce platform has been incredibly gratifying.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the implementation of recent acquisitions you’ve made and how they’ve benefited your portfolio, technical capabilities, and driven value for your company and customers?
Greg Bateman: “We’ve had several noteworthy acquisitions in the past few years that have helped Salesforce become a primary strategic partner for our government clients. Of course, we have always been an enterprise solution that can work at any level of a company – but the relatively recent acquisitions of Tableau, Slack, and Mulesoft have made Salesforce a whole spectrum provider of solutions.
With Tableau providing business intelligence, Mulesoft serving as the technical connective tissue between applications, and Slack bringing user interface and collaboration – the value these partnerships bring to our customers is unrivaled.
Our acquisition of Tableau a few years ago is helping our customers organize, visualize and make decisions from the ever-increasing amount of data being generated by new initiatives like IoT, data lakes, and even AI/ML. Tableau data visualizations are being used all over government, from protecting against cyber adversaries to helping make decisions on vital social programs.
Another acquisition we are excited about is Mulesoft, which makes the market-leading API management platform. Mulesoft is all about connecting data stovepipes, which still crowd federal agencies.
As a result, we see significant investments in Mulesoft by agencies to help them make sure their applications are easily and securely accessible to internal and external stakeholders.
Fundamentally, our goal is to ensure that the existing systems and new stuff can talk to each other without redoing the plumbing, as it were. That will avoid all sorts of IT infrastructure costs in the future and help agencies modernize more quickly.
And the newest member of our family is Slack, a company that changed how people in organizations collaborate and get work done. After working in very email-centric cultures in the past, I can attest to how much I appreciate the lower volume of email I have to deal with now that most communication happens in Slack.
It’s so much easier to find the people and information I need. I’m excited to see government agencies get the value I’ve seen from using Slack.”
ExecutiveBiz: An essential part of a company with strong business ethics in the federal sector is helping and giving back to the greater community. Can you speak to the various charities and work with other organizations that Salesforce does to make a difference and how people can get involved?
Greg Bateman: “I was attracted to Salesforce’s culture of giving back and the public commitment it has made to be a corporate leader in philanthropy. As a Salesforce employee, I can take seven fully paid days off to volunteer for my favorite causes.
In addition, Salesforce will match up to $5,000 in charitable donations I give. Salesforce’s reputation in this area is excellent and has significantly impacted the communities they serve.
In DC alone, we support several philanthropic organizations, ranging from charities supporting wounded warriors and veterans to local environmental and social issues. So it’s gratifying to be part of a company that not only puts such a high premium on giving back but also provides many opportunities to do so.”