Hills’ Pretty rusted on to the cloud

Ted Pretty, CEO of iconic Aussie manufacturer Hills, told delegates to the Salesforce1 World Tour in Melbourne why his businesses has taken to the cloud.

CEO Pretty said the decision to introduce Salesforce's cloud solution to the company, was a "cultural decision, not a technology decision", after realising the company had no online transactions with its customers, nor did it have visibility of its performance.

As a result the company saw a 90 percent increase in underlying growth for the first six months, as well as three other benefits.

"The first one is effective visibility. We didn't have visibility on a day-to-day basis. The second thing is a cultural change to the organisation but people don't necessarily like it because when you get visibility, you get accountability; so there is nowhere to hide," Pretty explained.

"The third thing was, which is just a by-product, is networking."

Pretty said the change was necessary to move a 70-year-old business into the future.

"We've taken a 70-year-old business that started in the backyard in South Australia making clotheslines to a business that now nearly 95 percent of its revenues come from electronics and communications, particularly around security and healthcare. So we need these tools to drive that.

"It's important to us we have the right partners, right systems, and the right people."

Salesforce.com executive vice president Vivek Kundra echoed Pretty’s refrain.  “Every industry from the private to non-profit sector is facing a digital transformation and they are now left to solve the problem of knowing what steps to take to become a ‘customer company’,” stated Kundra.

Kundra went on to say technology is fuelling this fundamental shift, which has resulted in the creation of the "internet of customers".

But the change has not come overnight. Rather, Kundra said the evolution of computing has arrived in three main waves.

First, technology was about mainframes, networks, and technology that only multi-national companies could afford. Then, the second wave of change occurred when there was a rise of millions of user client server environments, plus LANs and supply chain technology. The third wave of computing — which Kundra said is happening now — is about cloud, mobile, social, and networking to a wireless connection to access real-time customer data.

Unfortunately, Kundra said, two thirds of companies are unprepared for this reality of a social, mobile, and cloud world. He added that despite this statistic, the rise of the internet of customers should be seen as an opportunity by businesses because for the first time they can "create one-on-one experiences that were structurally impossible to create in the past".

Aimee Chanthadavong travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Salesforce