Salesforce.com, Inc.   (CRM) has been on a hot streak in 2018, with its stock up more than 45% since the beginning of the year.

Just in the past few months, the cloud giant completed its largest-ever acquisition -- of data integration platform MuleSoft at $6.5 billion -- deepened a strategic partnership with Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Cloud, and made an unusual change in its C-suite.

Salesforce is expected to report earnings per share of 47.12 cents on sales of $3.2 billion on Wednesday, Aug. 29, based on a FactSet survey of 38 analysts. The stock has risen 20% since the company last reported earnings on May. 29.

Here are a few key themes to look out for.

Keith Block as Co-CEO

In a March 2018 research note, Pivotal's Brian Wieser called out Salesforce's reliance on certain key managers -- namely CEO and founder Marc Benioff, also the company's biggest evangelist -- as a risk factor: "The company's current focus largely reflects a vision that he evangelizes and becomes strongly identified with," Wieser wrote, citing it as a "key-man" risk for the company. But Benioff isn't the company's sole chief executive any longer. Earlier in August, Salesforce promoted Keith Block, who had been its COO and president, to the role of "co-CEO" alongside Benioff. In a press release, Salesforce said that Block will be dedicated to operations, strategy and execution, while Benioff will focus on technology, culture, marketing and "stakeholder engagement."

Wednesday marks Salesforce's first investor call since Block's promotion was announced, so expect to hear more about the new leadership arrangement -- and how the split role may make the task of running Salesforce more efficient. 

Salesforce's International Frontier

When Salesforce promoted Block, a Salesforce spokesperson cited the executive's success in driving an "expansion of the company's international presence and partner ecosystem." That points to one of the company's biggest priorities nowadays: international markets. Salesforce has set a goal of reaching $20 billion in revenue by 2022, and in doing so, international expansion in mission-critical. In its last earnings release, Block described some of Salesforce's progress in international markets, citing 31% growth in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), and 30% growth in APAC (Asia-Pacific) driven by "incredible growth" in Japan. On Block's first earnings call as co-CEO, expect more updates on Salesforce's progress in international markets.

MuleSoft & Einstein

In May, Salesforce wrapped up its $6.5 billion purchase of Mulesoft, a platform for building application networks. When the deal closed, Benioff said in a press release that the integration of Mulesoft into Salesforce's cloud suite will help its customers "connect all of the information throughout their enterprise across all public and private clouds and data sources." The integration of data streams is also central to another of Salesforce's big projects: its AI tool, Einstein, which Benioff discussed on Salesforce's last earnings call an another means of easily surfacing data from multiple sources.

The Mulesoft acquisition hasn't driven any numbers yet, but Salesforce may give more detail on how the deployment of the technology is going -- and what the strategic upside of the multi-billion dollar acquisition will look like going forward.

Salesforce reports its earnings on Wednesday, August 29 after the close.

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