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Salesforce Looks to Upskill Its Users With New Trailhead Playground App
by Daniel Newman | January 19, 2020

The News: Salesforce, this past Thursday rolled out a new app that makes it easier to get started on Trailhead Playground, the free Salesforce learning environment that lets users test out any capabilities they could potentially leverage on the Salesforce 360 platform.

Trailhead Playground is effectively a sandbox for developers, as well as admins or any Salesforce end-user like a sales representative. It’s part of Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform. The new Trailhead Playground Starter app simply cuts out some of the friction for Trailhead users that want to get started on Playground, particularly those who are entirely new to Salesforce.

Salesforce launched Traihead about five years ago to equip workers with the admin and developer skills necessary for jobs in the so-called “Salesforce economy,” which includes the 4.2 million jobs that the CRM giant and its ecosystem of partners and customers are expected to create between 2019 and 2024. Read the full news release on ZDNet.

Analyst Take: Trailhead has been in existence for half a decade and it is the company’s conduit to low touch training and education. With massive ambition to double the company in the next few years, Salesforce needs to expand its ecosystem and more developers and admins will have a direct effect on the ultimate outcome. 

The new app itself really builds on what already exists but gives more access and less hurdles for those wanting to build and test features and/or apps in Salesforce’ sandbox environment. 

With an onslaught of self service tools being launched by cloud providers and CRM competitors, Salesforce is most certainly ambitious to improve its offerings to those wanting to improve their skills within the Salesforce ecosystem. 

Overall Impressions of Salesforce Trailhead Playground App News

While the news could be considered subtle, I think there are two very interesting considerations when it comes to these types of dev environments.

First, there is a continuing shift where we are seeing focus being given to citizen developers and the focus is coming from the largest software and tech players in the world including Salesforce, Microsoft, AWS and many others.

Second, big tech is going to have a greater onus to provide the pathway to upskill the next wave of workers. As these companies deploy low code/no code and automation that will displace and shift jobs into new roles that are still mostly undefined, I expect big tech to also enable this transition. Amazon was recently noted for a significant upskill plan that would empower hundreds of thousands of the company’s employees; this will be a trend, not a one off. While Salesforce Trailhead Playground and new dev environments within the app aren’t a direct initiative to upskill employees, it enables important skill development that will be key in the realization of the 4.2 million jobs the company expects to create in the next four years.

Perhaps the easiest way to sum this is up is “Small News with Big Implications” for Salesforce, its community and its ambitions. 

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Image Credit: Salesforce
Daniel Newman