RMITin3: Salesforce of the future

RMITin3: Salesforce of the future

In the latest RMITin3, Chief Technology Officer Paul Oppenheimer sits down with Salesforce APAC Area Vice President Charles Woodall to talk about the future of work for the cloud-based software giant.

With more than 20 years’ experience under his belt, it may come as no surprise to hear that Charles Woodall has witnessed “a fair bit of transformational change” since starting his career in the technology sector.

“Over the past few years we have probably seen the most change…very much a blurring between the physical and the digital side of the business,” he said.

While the prospects associated with tech are unmistakeable today, Woodall saw the opportunity when he was deciding on his career path more than two decades ago.

“Technology really grabbed me,” he said.

The technology future that Woodall was eyeing off 20 years ago has well-and-truly arrived.

By 2020, 50 billion ‘things’ are expected to be connected to the internet, 500 million virtual reality headsets will have been sold and 85 per cent of customer interactions will be managed without a human.

Then there’s delivery drones, hyperloops, virtual reality replacing text books, driverless cars as the norm on our roads, 3D printed homes and space tourism. 

In this era where change is the only constant, Woodall predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) would play an even greater role.

“(AI) combined with some of the voice technologies that are coming through is really transforming how people act on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

“I think the digital transformation which we are seeing, which is now not just applicable to large companies…is playing a key role in peoples’ strategies going forward.”

Woodall predicts continued growth of AI

While there may not be one single solution for organisations, institutions or learners, the impact of this continued and rapid technological change is expected to be widespread and ongoing, as people are forced to up-skill and re-skill, and organisations are driven to shift.

In fact, the International Data Corporation (IDC) recently forecast that Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners would create up to 79,000 new jobs by 2022.

With the era of 'lifelong learning' now firmly upon us and digital disruption seeing demand for new skills outstrip supply, Salesforce and RMIT recently joined forces to create new short courses to help students step into these growing number of jobs.

Woodall said there were huge opportunities for students to develop these in-demand skills through RMIT and gain employment.

Oppenheimer said RMIT's collaboration with Salesforce supported the lifelong learning needs of its students, as the University looked to close skills gaps and deliver the best possible employment outcomes.

“But our collaboration goes even further because we are embedding and using the Salesforce technology that we are teaching at RMIT, and that’s something unique.”

A successful pilot had already seen 16 of the 20 students who completed the course offered permanent jobs.

When asked to give advice to recent graduates, Woodall recommended looking at what the future held for an industry, noting the unprecedented change across functions, jobs and opportunities.

Bachelor of Business (Information Systems) graduate Vincent Manliclic said he was initially attracted to the Salesforce short course due to the prospect of an internship, but after learning more about the platform he saw an opportunity to learn valuable skills that would create future career opportunities.

“Starting a career using Salesforce makes use of skills which are in demand within the IT industry, such as business analysis and requirements gathering,” he said.

“As Salesforce is the best CRM system with a sizeable lead over its competitors, it makes us stand out to have experience with such a robust platform that has a strong presence in the IT industry.”

Manliclic said the training had helped him shift into the workforce where his newly learned skills were in demand.

But the future for the industry wasn’t all about tech according to Woodall.

As the Executive Sponsor for Earthforce at Salesforce, he said values were vitally important.

“Your core values shine through over time,” he said, also highlighting the importance of trust and honesty.

“I think if you stick to those, you are lightyears ahead of the field.”


Story: Shelley Brady

20 December 2018


20 December 2018


  • Science and technology
  • Industry
  • Future World of Work

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