Following the success of Dreamforce 2016, my team was asked to present at “Dreamforce to You” in London. This was an invite-only event (700 attendees), which looked to bring the Dreamforce experience to those that couldn’t attend in San Francisco.

I personally completed a “fireside chat” as part of Salesforce for IT keynote. The keynote itself followed the same structure as Dreamforce, which for those that haven’t seen it, can be found below:

In short I was invited on stage and asked three questions. I have added the transcript below:

What are the key challenges you face?

As we have limited time, I’ll highlight two challenges…

Lilly is a 140-year-old company, which means we have a lot of legacy. A key challenge is bridging the gap between legacy and the modern ecosystem, ensuring that one does not negatively impact the other.

To do this, we’ve recognised that we’re not an infrastructure IT company, meaning there is minimal value gained by managing commodity items such as data centers, etc.

As a result, we’ve made a strategic decision to proactively position public cloud, specifically Platform as a Service. This allows IT to move up the technology stack, getting closer to the true business value, the customer!

The second challenge is the role of IT and how it’s perceived by the business. Historically, IT was considered an operational function, focused on deploying servers, maintaining clients, etc.

Over recent years we’ve been able to demonstrate that IT can actually be a strategic weapon, which can enable new business models and more importantly power a new type of customer engagement.

In short, these challenges are really about transforming IT, getting people out of dark server rooms and embedding them alongside the business functions.

Can you give us some insight into your journey and how Salesforce.com has helped?

Our App Cloud journey really only started two years ago, with the launch of a small team that we call Cirrus (cloud reference). We often describe Cirrus as a start-up within an enterprise, where we focus on identifying, embedding and scaling emerging technologies.

The Salesforce.com eco-system has clearly been an important part of this journey, allowing us to simplify complex tasks such as trust, security and scale. However, the bigger part of the journey has been the transformation of our business processes, foundational architecture and even our culture.

As a technologist, it’s my belief that technology is the easy part, especially when you pick the right platforms. The key is to ensure that your organisation is ready to consume the new technology, otherwise you’ll quickly hit road blocks that will limit your overall success.

This is what I think we did right with Cirrus, we embedded the right culture from day-one and then used the team as a catalyst to drive that transformation across the enterprise.

What does the future look like?

I personally believe healthcare is on the verge of a technology revolution. Similar in some respects to what we have seen with Uber and AirBnB disrupting other industries.

Our goal within Cirrus is to ensure that Lilly is not only ready for this revolution, but actively leading it!

Therefore, just like you’ve seen today with the Virtual Claudia demo, we’re constantly exploring new ways to use technology to make life better for people all around the world.

The keynote itself will eventually become available on YouTube for on-demand viewing, at which point I will update this post with the link.

Overall it was another great conference, with plenty of energy, great connections and inspiring conversations!