Attracting talent and breaking down silos are two major challenges scaleups will face in 2024

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Don’t miss Salesforce’s Vala Afshar in his keynote speech about a new mindset for unlimited business success at Valencia Digital Summit on October 27.

This week, October 26-27, Valencia will once again be abuzz as over 10,000 tech enthusiasts from all over the world gather for the Valencia Digital Summit (VDS). Over the years, the event has become the place for startups, corporations, and investors to meet, mingle, and build connections that foster the region’s innovation ecosystem.

As with every year, VDS has compiled an impressive list of 250+ speakers who will share their expertise and experience across 30+ topics. One of this year’s keynote speakers is Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce.

In his many years of connecting trailblazers in business growth to builders of Salesforce and his work as a co-host on DisrupTV, a weekly show covering the latest digital business and innovation market trends, Afshar’s seen the rise and fall of once-promising organisations.

He’s now the author of two books on business excellence, the most recent having come out earlier this year.

TNW had an exclusive sit down with Afshar to hear his thoughts on Spain’s tech ecosystem and one of the biggest mistakes growing organisations make.

To Spain for talent and investment opportunities

Besides connecting Salesforce clients with builders, as a digital evangelist, Afshar connects talented and motivated people to career opportunities in the tech industry. A crucial initiative, as Europe’s tech talent pool is starting to dry out.

“The recent IDC report said that the Salesforce ecosystem, in the next three years, will produce 11 million new jobs and $2 trillion of incremental business revenue,” Afshar says.

Now, those 11 million jobs will need qualified people to fill the roles. According to Afshar, Spain is a good place to start, given that the country ranks seventh in Europe in terms of tech talent. “Cities like Madrid and Barcelona are already among the top 50 in the world for tech talent, and now we’re also seeing Valencia, Malaga, and other cities catching up.”

The availability of tech talent directly contributes to strengthening the country’s startup ecosystem, which is growing year-on-year. In 2022, there were over 11,000 startups and 400+ venture capital funds operating in Spain. The country has become one of the top places for investment funds in Europe.

And Salesforce is no exception. It’s invested over $5 billion in startups in the last decade; in 2019, it launched a $125-million Europe Trailblazer Fund to supply capital for innovative European companies. And now, it’s eying Spain’s startups like never before.

Breaking down organisational silos

However, while accumulating tech talent helps promising startups transform into fast-growing scaleups, a natural side-effect is the growth of internal knowledge silos. In the digital age, as new technologies and tools are helping us become more autonomous, this problem is being exacerbated through a loss of connection.

No matter how many talented individuals you recruit within your organisation, if your business environment isn’t set to facilitate the balance between the need for connection and at the same time decentralisation, the need for autonomy and integration, you’ll start to see the cracks.

That’s the subject of his latest book, Boundless: A New Mindset for Unlimited Business Success, and the focus of his keynote speech at VDS2023.

With the rapid emergence of new technologies and innovations, from self-driving cars to generative AI, he argues that leaders need a new mindset that challenges conventions and orthodoxies and empowers all their resources, both human and digital.

One last tip for employers…

In addition to this, Afshar is also a strong advocate of the importance of one’s digital footprint. Employers looking to attract young tech talent should be cognizant of this.

“We live in a hyper-connected knowledge-sharing economy,” he says. Your brand, whether your company’s or your personal brand, is built online. “So, don’t underestimate those digital breadcrumbs you leave behind, from the hashtags you use to the comments you leave and words you capitalise. At the end of the day, your brand is going to be defined by what people can find out about you online,” he concludes.

Check out Afshar’s keynote speech at VDS2023 on Friday, October 27 at 12: 10. And make sure to say hi to our Senior Editor Linnea Ahlgren, too — she’ll be around and happy to have a chat!Attracting talent and breaking down silos are two major challenges growing organisations face in 2024