Information technology can combat coronavirus, get employees back to work: Salesforce CEO

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff discusses his company’s new platform for helping businesses reopen safely amid the coronavirus. Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here. During an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said his company […]

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During an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said his company is prepared to enter into the “back to work phase” by using information technology to combat the coronavirus outbreak and get the economy back on track.

“We realized when we get back to work, it’s gonna be different than when we left 90 days ago, and that when we come back, we’re going to need ways to really mitigate our interactions with the virus,” Benioff said. “Information technology is one of the ways that we’re going to be mitigating how we interact every day with the virus.”

This week, Salesforce rolled out a set of tools for businesses that are looking to reopen, including contact tracing, worker health checks and shift management. Benioff said the company produced its contact tracing technology in partnership with Rhode Island.

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“We really learned this from working with the state of Rhode Island,” Benioff said. “We’ve worked with their fabulous governor in deploying this technology already, and she came to us and she said she’s got an incredible testing program underway in Rhode Island, but she needs to couple it with a tracing program.”

Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Benioff says that contact tracing is a “key part of entering phase 2 and getting back to work safely” because it will allow businesses to let their employees know who may have come in contact with the coronavirus and isolate employees who are infected.

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While Apple and Google have created software for contact tracing, Benioff said it “isn’t really an information technology that can run inside” Salesforce and its systems. Instead, Salesforce will use its own information technology platform, work.com.

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“This is really technology that lets companies like mine help our employees know and work with our other employees who have interacted with the virus. So what we’re trying to do is to kind of provide analytics, if you will,” Benioff said.

Benioff said that the analytics system Salesforce built has already helped governors across the country understand and deal with their state’s individual situations, and that the same technology can aid CEOs re-opening their businesses as well.

“All these things that we’ve learned, you know, how to incorporate the analytics, how to incorporate the social distancing, how to use the PPP and how to do contact tracing, this is gonna make the workplace much, much safer,” Benioff said.

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In addition to using information technology, Salesforce will provide personal protective equipment and temperature screenings to its employees and plans to implement social distancing measures in the office. According to Benioff, 50 Salesforce employees have been victims of the virus.

The company announced Tuesday that it has delivered more than 50 million units of PPE to the University of California at San Francisco. To date, the company has delivered 20 million units of personal protective equipment and supported over 200 organizations across 10 states and five countries, including the United Kingdom, Ecuador, France, and India.

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