Thu, 19 May 2022
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Khushwant Singh, SVP, Product Management at Salesforce.
Join us as we talk about his role heading up all things Experience—not just Experience Cloud but Experience Services, too.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Khushwant Singh.
The Experience dream team
Khushwant, AKA “Khush”, heads up Experience at Salesforce. If that term is a little nebulous to you, you’re not alone, but Khush breaks it down for us. Experience Services brings a few teams together: the UI Platform team, the Experience Cloud team, the Mobile team, and the Mobify team. “We’re responsible for all things Experience, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board,” Khush says, “whether you’re building an experience for an employee, a customer, or partner.”
Lightning Experience has really changed the game for Admins in terms of stepping up in their thinking about design, but Khush points out there’s also a bit of a divide there. “If you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder,” he says, “but as a Salesforce Admin or Developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints.”
Re-architecting to improve scaling, performance, and customizability
Experience Cloud is a very flexible tool that you should really look into if you haven’t yet. You can use it build out a simple marketing website, a self-service destination like a help center or account management site, or even a channel reselling portal or commerce storefront.
While Lightning and Aura have done a lot to enable Admins to build out things they never thought possible with low code and fast time to market, Khush admits we seem to have hit a wall from a performance, scale, and customizability point of view. To address that, they’ve been re-architecting to let you build new things more easily at a consumer-grade scale.
What’s next for Experience Cloud
One thing that will be going live soon (forward looking statement) is a major performance boost to public-facing apps and sites. They’ve revamped the out-of-the-box CDN (Content Delivery Network) to allow public aspects of your site and mobile apps to be cached at endpoints closer to the consumer, enabling much faster delivery. One other change is adding dynamic image resizing so the same image looks equally good on mobile, desktop, and tablet. The best part is these and many more improvements are enabled by default, so you get the performance boost without having to lift a finger.
Looking forward, Khush and his team are revamping the Salesforce Content Management System (CMS) to make it more robust, powerful, and responsive. They’re breaking down the barriers and rolling out the advanced version of Salesforce CMS to all customers for free, and you can get access to the new-and-improved JSON-based CMS 2.0 beta with an opt-in.
Khush also gives a preview into what he and his team are working on to make improvements to data to, for example, bring Dynamic Forms to all standard objects, and even more goodies for desktop, mobile, and everything in between. Make sure you listen to the full episode to hear what’s coming your way soon.
Love our podcasts?
Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
Full show transcript
Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we have a really fun episode lined up for you. We are talking with Khushwant Singh, AKA Kush, who's SVP of Product Management here at Salesforce, in charge of all things experience. And I mean all things experience, not just experience cloud, but Experience Services. And if you're wondering what all that means, don't worry, he's going to answer that for you. So without further ado, let's get Kush on the pod. Kush, welcome to the podcast.
Khushwant Singh: Thank you, Gillian.
Gillian Bruce: It's wonderful to have you on. I am very much looking forward to our discussion because we are talking about something that might be a little nebulous to some of us, especially if you've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. We have experience cloud, Experience Services, experience all the things. Kush, clarify for us what all of that means.
Khushwant Singh: Well, Gillian, I wish I got that question, or rather I wish I had proactively answered that question at the recent TDX. So just a bit of a sidetrack, a little, for those of you who attended the recent TDX, we had a true to the call session where a few of us were up on stage and I introduced myself as, "My name's Kush, I'm a product manager and I work on all things experiences." Now, I honestly thought that I would be inundated with questions, but I realized that I actually got zero questions, and I realized that people just probably didn't get what all things experience means. So I'm going to learn from that, and be very clear in our conversation over here. So taking a step back, when we say, we just recently realigned some of our teams internally, and we've created this group internally called Experience Services. And what Experience Services is, is that it brings together a few teams together.
Gillian Bruce: So that was really helpful, it helped me understand this because again, experience is one of those words that, especially as a Salesforce admin, we're always thinking about our end users experience. That's our whole goal is to make it seamless and make it really useful. But as you just described, experiences is so many things. And I really appreciate that you have explained how the teams are uniting under this umbrella, to really think about the holistic picture when it comes to these different experiences pieces. UI, designers' mindset, is one of the core admin skills that we have because it's always thinking about how is my user experience in this? How can I maximize that experience, make it more efficient? And when you talk about Lightning experience that, God, talk about something that changed the game for admins.
Khushwant Singh: I know, it did. It did entirely. It changed the game, but it also in full transparency, we added a bit of a divide as well. So if you take examples where you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder. You have a set of record components that look gloriously well on Lex, but they may not surface all of the capabilities, the actions don't surface in the Experience Builder or vice versa, the branding, the themeing, the mobile web responsiveness aspect of things that show up on Experience Builder, don't show up in the App Builder side of things. And so we have introduced this divide, which actually has made our... Well, each team has done a phenomenal job in going deep in their use cases, it's been at an expense of a divide where, as a Salesforce admin, as a Salesforce developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints. You might be a Salesforce admin for a company that is using Salesforce for their employee experience. For example, the service agents.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think as a company, for someone who's maybe been in the ecosystem for a long time, this is a familiar road, is that we develop something really close. One team goes down and develops this new way of doing something and then we have shadow examples of it happening all separately within the company. And then, hey, let's bring everybody together, let's make this a more cohesive, holistic experience for our admins, for our developers. And it's exciting to bring all those really smart brains together to work together versus everyone working in a silo.
Khushwant Singh: Indeed. And I think it's also indicative of trying to complete what we start. I think we've heard from admins, just this recent TDX, I mean, and at every TDX or any Dreamforce we do, any through the core session or any feedback we get from our MVPs and our admins out there, developers. They'll give us feedback, which is actually quite true. We start something, but we don't complete it. We say something that we will deliver something, but we, at times, don't deliver it. And so I think by bringing all of our teams together, that manage experience, I think it really... Organizational differences should not be the reason why we are not able to complete what we start or deliver what we say we will deliver. And so we are really hopeful that we'll be able to actually address those two key areas.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've always heard the joke. We don't want to let our org chart show.
Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Across both desktop and mobile for that matter.
Gillian Bruce: Totally. Yeah. So Kush, before we get a little bit further, I mean, clearly you've got a big undertaking that you and your teams are doing. Can you tell me a little bit about you and how you got here? How long have you been at Salesforce because all of these works have been in progress for a long time. You mentioned when we released Lightning experience. Tell me a little bit about your background.
Khushwant Singh: Oh yeah, sure. So I've been at Salesforce, I think, May sometime this month is my seventh year anniversary.
Gillian Bruce: Congratulations.
Khushwant Singh: Thank you. And I have truly enjoyed every single day of my time here at Salesforce. If you look at my background, I rarely spend more than five to six years in a company. And the fact that I'm here for the seventh year and still super challenged, just speaks towards what Salesforce offers from a challenge, point of view. There's always something new, there's always a new challenge for us to work on. And I've actually spent probably six and a half or six and three quarters of that seven years working on Experience Cloud. And so most of my background is from a B2C side of things. I spend some time at eBay, at Microsoft, at a startup called Mozi, working on a number of B2C oriented products. And I wanted to build products in an enterprise setting for enterprise, but I didn't want to veer too far away from the consumer side of things, the B2C side of things. And Experience Cloud really helped me walk that fine line where you're building these digital experience products that are used by enterprises for their customers, for their partners. So it really gave me a good middle ground.
Gillian Bruce: I love that, getting the band back together, that's good.
Khushwant Singh: There you go.
Gillian Bruce: Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what's currently going on in Experience Cloud. So I know there were some good announcements at Dreamforce last year, at DBX this year. Can you talk a little bit about where we're currently at with Experience Cloud and why maybe an admin who hasn't yet dabbled in Experience Cloud might consider it?
Khushwant Singh: Sure. So again, just to level set, one more time, a customer uses Experience Cloud for a number of use cases. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a simple marketing website, corporate website. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a self-service destination, so that self-service destination could be a help center, where you want to surface your knowledge base articles, where you wish to surface chat bots, where you wish to, for example, give your customers the ability to log in and manage their account, manage their profile for that matter. Similarly, you could use Experience Cloud to build out a channel reseller portal, where you may not be selling direct or you may be selling direct, but you also sell through your various channels and you need a way to manage your channels. You could use Experience Cloud to build a commerce storefront, whether it's a B2B commerce storefront, a B2C commerce storefront, et cetera.
Gillian Bruce: Yes. We know Phil very well.
Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so I think many of you must have seen his post where he's actually tracking the number of features that Experience Cloud launches. And he showed this bar graph, that showed the decreasing number of features over the last 18 months. And I replied to him and again, huge respect for Phil. And the fact of the matter is that we've had to go under the hood and rebuild from ground up using Lightning Web Runtime, using Lightning Web Components, so that we can actually deliver this consumer grade scale and performance and customizability, whether it's a B2B, B2C or B2E type of use case. And so we've been "silent for a while" but I'm super excited at what's coming in this summer release, and what's going to go. A lot of it going to go generally available this winter release. So again, long story short, we have been re-architecting for consumer grade across the entire customer journey.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's impressive. I mean, we talk, especially even as admins, we have our own technical that we accrue over many years of admining a specific org. And sometimes you do, you got to just go back, peel back the covers and go in and make sure everything, the foundations are updated and running better. And hey, if you got a system that's not working for you, you got to invest the time and pause on the new stuff for a minute. Let's make the core stuff really work and function so that we can continue to build. So I love that transparency. I think it's really useful to help our admins and everybody understand what all of the hard work that your team is doing. And yeah, I mean, hey, now that we talked about all the hard work that you've all been doing, let's talk about some of the shiny new fun things that you have coming down the page.
Khushwant Singh: Yeah, of course. So now I think on that note, I do also want to underscore that we have so many, all of that adoption stats that I talked about, they're all visual force or mostly Aura investments. And I want to underscore that we're not just leaving Aura or VF behind. And so there are many aspects that customers on Aura or customers on VF would also be able to benefit from. So let's dive into those shiny aspects of things. So I think if we think of this as maybe a stack diagram, maybe we'll start at the lowest level of infrastructure. What are we doing from an infrastructure point of view to help deliver that consumer grade type of experiences? So, first and foremost, we've invested a fair amount of time and effort to deliver performance. And so, one of the things you'll start to notice is, our out of the box CDN, so behind the scenes we work with Akamai, and what that does is that it allows, it just provides customers an out of the box CDN that they can actually choose to use.
Gillian Bruce: So Kush, before we go forward, what is a CDN? Let's break down that.
Khushwant Singh: Sure. It's a content delivery network. What that does is it allows your public aspects of your site, of your mobile app to be cashed on these endpoints, which are closer to the consumer, and so that allows for faster delivery. And if it doesn't change, if that public information doesn't change very much, it's served out of cash versus another round hub back. So again, at the end of the day, it's about better delivery of, faster delivery of the experience. Now this used to be a bit of an opt in thing and so what we have done now is as of spring and summer and winter, what we're doing is behind the scenes, we are rolling out as part of the secure domains effort, as secure domains is being enabled across all net new sites and existing sites. We are just enabling the default CDN by default, so it's an opt out versus an opt in.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Everything's out of perspective. And you got to try and scroll weird ways. Yeah.
Khushwant Singh: Exactly. So another thing that if you use the out of the box CDN, another thing that our customers can look forward to is dynamic image resizing. So when you are the same image renders well on a mobile, a tablet, a desktop, and similarly, if you are an admin, you may inadvertently upload a, I don't know what? 20 MB file, image, and then say, "Look, why is my site loading so slowly?" And so what we're trying to do is also correct that, where you may upload a 20MB file, please don't, but what we'll do on our side, on the CDN side of things, we'll resize that and ensure that we are delivering a more optimized image to the customer. So that's another thing that we are really excited about, from an infrastructure point of view. So lots of good work happening from a perf point of view.
Gillian Bruce: Nice.
Khushwant Singh: Now, as we move up the stack, we can talk about things like data and content. Now, let's start off with content Salesforce in general, has had a bit of a content management gap for a little while. And we have customers using third party content management systems, et cetera, to compliment the data investments that they have in Salesforce. Now, probably I would say 24 months back, we introduced Salesforce CMS, which was, for the very first time a content management system from Salesforce. Now, what we've come to realize over the 24 months is that boy, do we need a lot more improvements to it. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we have been actually re-architecting the content management system from ground up. It is going to be JSON based. So very standard point of view.
Gillian Bruce: That's great. I mean, I know admins are going to be very excited to be able to access that great capability without having to jump through any additional hoops to get it. So thank you.
Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Now, let's talk about data. Now, when we think about the data side of things, this is where a lot of our investments, at least from an Experience services point of view is that we have teams that are experts in records, Dynamic Forms, lists, and they're doing a lot of good work to expand. For example, Dynamic Forms today it's only available in custom objects, why? It should go across all standard objects. That's something that the team is working on. I'm really glad that we are going to stay really true to the fact that when we start something, we are going to end it and we are going to go all the way, at the same time this team is also working to bring all of that goodness across to not just employee facing experiences in Lex but also to customer facing, partner facing experiences via Experience Cloud.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's major stuff. I know that Dynamic Forms is one of the top favorite admin feature overall. And so being able to bring that to standard objects will be huge. So thank you. Thank you on behalf of all admins everywhere.
Khushwant Singh: It's a shout out to all of the good teams that are working on that front. So we touched about infra, we touched about content, we touched about data. Now, let's touch about the UI run time itself, which is Lightning Web Runtime and Lightning Web Components. Clearly the degree of, out of the box components for Aura, there are a lot more out of the box components for Aura than they are for LWCs, no doubt about it. And so what we're trying to do is we are trying to catch up to a certain degree, but catch up in a way that is addressing the most important use cases from out the box component point of view, but at the same time, not sacrificing customizability. And so from an LWR point of view, a few things to call out.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. They don't know the differences between that, they just want to find what they need.
Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so for them, this is complexity that we should abstract from them. And so again, this is something that our customers can expect to see in beta, in the summer timeframe. And all goes, well, we're going to take the hood off and generally make it available in the winter timeframe, starting with site meta information and CMS content as part of the index. And then we're going to expand that to CRM and to other objects for that matter.
Gillian Bruce: All right. So just a reminder to all listeners, forward looking statement applies to everything that Kush just said, this is what happens when we get excited in product information. Yeah.
Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And that too, as well. Yes. So I think, again from an LWR point of view, there's just so much more maturity that customers can expect to see with LWR and Experience Cloud. Because whether it's out of the box components for content, for data, whether it's search, whether it is even the ability to deliver these dynamic experiences. So one of the things that our customers really appreciate in Aura is the ability to personalize the experience using CRM information. So show me this content, this data, if user.account equals to X, Y, Z, et cetera. And so the ability to deliver that type of personalization is key, but at the same time, they want to be able to do things like real time personalization. So using, for example, Evergage or interaction studio for that matter.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Lots coming. Well, Kush I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with us here on the podcast about all things, Experience Services, Experience Cloud. I know I got a lot of questions answered. I'm sure a lot of people listening are very happy to hear all of the things that you and your team are working on. And I'm sure they will have many more questions. So I'll include links to some of the great trailblazer community groups that you have set up for Lightning Experience and for Experience Cloud, for people to submit feedback. And thanks again for all of the work that you and your team do. And I look forward to checking back in with you after a couple releases here and coming back to what you all have done and hearing about what is even next from then on.
Khushwant Singh: For sure Gillian. I mean, I truly appreciate the opportunity. And again, to all our Salesforce admins, you are our eyes and ears out there. Feedback is a gift, please keep it coming. And we're so appreciative of all that you do for us.
Gillian Bruce: Huge, thanks to coach for taking the time to chat with us. He and his team have been so busy working on really important foundational improvements to both Experience Cloud and Experience Services. And it's so great to now understand what Experience Services mean because for us admins, it means a lot of the stuff that we use every day. So, hey, I don't know about you, but I'm excited about Dynamic Lightning pages coming for standard objects. Woo, woo. Again, forward looking statement, but I look forward to getting Kush back on the podcast to ask him about that once it has been released in a few releases. So if you want to learn more or you have more feedback about anything, Experience Cloud or Experience Services, Kush, and his team pay close attention to the trailblazer community. So go to the Lightning Experience group or the Experience Cloud group on the trailblazer community and put your feedback in there, put your questions in there. He's got an amazing team of very talented people.