The 2015 Dreamforce keynote started with a few songs by Stevie Wonder. When “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” came on, it became required to dance. Stevie, you’ve still got it. That is a great example of what Dreamforce does to people year over year; it gets you so excited that you cannot sit still in your seat. Except, it’s not only the musical acts that get people excited; it’s the message of business transformation and innovation that really gets people revved up.
This year was no different from others in that regard. Marc Benioff started off talking about giving back to the community and recognizing the Wounded Warriors project. Marc’s philanthropic message is always a key component of a keynote, outlining the 1:1:1 model that Salesforce operates on and encouraging other businesses to do the same, and it never fails to inspire me. As a board member of GirlVentures (www.girlventures.org), a non-profit based in San Francisco that uses Salesforce to manage their volunteers, donors, and girls in their programs, I can personally attest to the power of the 1:1:1 model. Salesforce gives 10 free licenses to non-profits (and discounted licenses thereafter), making a huge difference in the daily lives of people running small non-profits who instead of relying upon inexpensive, ineffective tools such as Excel spreadsheets, can use an enterprise tool to run their organization.
Marc also talked about cancer, which took his father’s life and threatened his mother’s life (she won the battle and was at Dreamforce this year, with a big smile on her face). We heard the story of how UCSF uses Salesforce to track a trial of a new breast cancer treatment plan. UCSF needs to get 100,000 people on the trial, and Salesforce makes it easy for them to collect the data they need to be successful.
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In the midst of these beautiful messages, we learned some big news: In 2016, Salesforce will become the 4th largest software company in the world. Microsoft, Oracle, SAP…then Salesforce.
Connected customers and the Internet of things was the next trend discussed. New technologies are enabling companies to connect with their customers in ways they never have before, which opens up a world of new possibilities. The proliferation of smartphones and social networks are also impacting how customers expect to engage with companies. Benioff said: “This is more than an IT revolution, this is truly a customer revolution. Welcome to the Internet of customers.”
Companies are creating all this data and interactions, but there is a bifurcation between employees and customers, hence why we’re building these systems to create a customer success platform to bring all of these things together in one place. Another shift we’re seeing is building more apps based upon re-usable lightning components. There is now a lightning component exchange on the AppExchange that allows people to quickly build new apps using these lighting components.
Parker Harris showed up as “Lightning Man” again in honor of the new Lightning Experience for Sales Cloud that will be release in the Winter ’16 release, replacing the 16-year-old Aloha user experience on desktop. Key message: “It’s lightning fast to move to lightning.” The interface is based upon Salesforce1, with a left-hand application menu and rich analytics capabilities. Dashboards moving forward will have more columns and the interface for managing these dashboard components gets way easier. Again, re-usable components are the backbone of this new experience, as they are with the Salesforce Community Builder templates (which are powered by the same Lightning framework as the new Lightning Experience). The page builder for the Lightning Experience looks very similar to the Community Builder. The new Lightning Experience was announced in late August and all of our customers are really excited about the new interface and some of the value added features it comes with. If you want to learn more, you can do a Trailhead course (online learning). Financial services and healthcare are the two verticals that are heavily being pursued by Salesforce, and they announced two new Lightning apps specific to each vertical.
Parker and Marc talked about enabling salespeople to do what they do best, build relationships, not fill out data. What if the computer started filling out things for you and reminding you to be proactive? This is where SalesforceIQ comes into play. SalesforceIQ for small business is a tool that enables you to connect your CRM to your email and calendar, and comes up with recommendations based upon this data for what people should do (i.e. idea of suggested tasks, such as “respond to John Doe”). You can use the Chrome plugin to take advantage of SalesforceIQ from inside your Gmail. SalesforceIQ for sales cloud gives you the same toolset (professional edition and above). As part of this, there is now a new mobile app that enables Salesforce to be your inbox – it has all of the standard email client features, but in addition, it’s connected to your CRM (Salesforce) and it will automatically connect emails with contacts inside Salesforce. You can use macros from inside here to store common email responses, doing things like recommending meeting times, places, etc. If you didn’t have a personal assistant before, you just got a virtual one.
Thunder, the IoT (internet of things) cloud, a new platform for cutting-edge innovation, was announced. Here is what it can do at a high level:
Capture customer IoT events
Trigger 1:1 real-time rules and apply them to events as they are happening.
Engage customers 1:1 using the Salesforce marketing cloud
Microsoft is taking advantage of this technology with moving customers to Office 365. Azure captures and sends these interactions to the IoT cloud and will connect it to the marketing cloud. Examples of interactions would be Office 365 sign ups, cancellations, profile updates, etc. Billions of usage events are happening every day. They can market to people based upon things they’ve done and haven’t done; for example, if you’ve signed up but haven’t downloaded the mobile app, the marketing cloud can send you an email to suggest that you download the app to help you be more successful with Office 365. I can see this kind of technology being very useful to help drive adoption in all kinds of Communities.
John Thompson, chairman of Microsoft, (pictured above) attended to speak about the future. Imagine looking at your Windows phone to turn on your car and view sales information that is pushed to you based upon what is in your calendar and all the things going on in your lives. This kind of data-driven, predictive technology will change the way that people work. This was his first Dreamforce and he said it certainly will not be his last, a reminder of the ongoing partnership between Salesforce and Microsoft.