This year’s Dreamforce was another incredible event that brought together nearly 170,000 techies in San Francisco to listen to all the latest developments from the world’s most successful technology provider. Spread over four days, there was a staggering amount of keynotes, workshops, presentations and new product announcements that left attendees breathless. While it’s not possible to do justice to all the news that emerged from this massive event, we wanted to focus on some of the highlights.
“Dreampark” was the place to be for all the keynotes and “Customer Success” was front and center throughout the week
Just prior to Dreamforce opening, CEO Marc Benioff briefed the financial community on the company’s results. Needless to say, they were once again impressive. In fact, one of the charts that Benioff showed tells the story a fashion that brought a hush to the room. Over the past five years, Salesforce has grown exponentially and has consistently taken share from its largest competitors. While they have definitely grown via acquisition, the key to most of this growth is the staggering amount of new product development that continues to take place. And this year’s conference showed that Salesforce continues to innovate at an explosive pace.
A Bolt of Lightening
In Marc Benioff’s keynote, he rolled out a host of announcements that were stunning. The most significant of these was the latest generation of the CRM platform, which has been dubbed “Lightening.” Lightening is essentially a complete overhaul of the platform from the ground up. It enables customers to build customer connected applications quickly via “drag and drop” functionality. It’s also a nice overhaul of the user experience that allows sales teams to more quickly access the information they require and to create custom dashboards that automate the reporting process. It also makes it simple to create “vertical apps” like Salesforce Financial Services Cloud and Salesforce Health Cloud, which are offerings clearly targeted at key verticals. Long-term Salesforce users were clearly impressed.
Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris joins CEO Marc Benioff on stage to roll out Lightening.
A Clap of Thunder
With billions of connected devices now in existence and trillions of interactions happening as a result, the long talked about Internet of Things “IoT” is a reality that every marketer and IT professional must be conscious of. Given this, Salesforce rolled out Thunder, which is a massively scalable real time processing engine. This technology makes it possible for companies of all sizes to get their arms around a staggering amount of real time data, listen to it and apply real time actions and triggers that use the power of the various Salesforce Cloud offerings to proactively engage consumers at scale. In his announcement, CEO Benioff mentioned that organizations have become swamped by data. Less than 1% of it is being actively analyzed and acted upon. Because of this, 77% percent of customers admit that they are not actively engaged with the brands that they are doing business with and this clearly needs to change. Thunder makes that possible at scale.
The Cloud and the Salesforce Customer Success Platform
The focus of every one of Salesforce’s cloud offerings is to enable clients to engage deeply with their customers and create very personal 1:1 relationships. Nowhere is this more evident than in what Salesforce has done with Marketing Cloud. After acquiring ExactTarget a few years ago, the company has poured money into new product development and innovation. All this was on display at the Marketing Cloud Customer Showcase in Westfield Mall.
Beyond taking over a movie theatre in this mall, Salesforce Marketing Cloud also partnered with Tom’s Shoes to create a retail showcase that demonstrated all the capability that Marketing Cloud brings to the table.
Retailers candidly have their hands full in transitioning to the new world order where digital has become the consumers shopping appliance of choice. Whether that’s mobile apps, SMS, digital wallet offers, social media programs, analytics tools or conventional email programs; retailers are struggling to keep pace with the digital world and are getting more frustrated by data silos that have been created by having so many different partners of choice to tackle all these mediums. That’s precisely the problem that Marketing Cloud is best positioned to address.
Another huge challenge that retailers and other B2C brands are facing today is the explosion of social media. Salesforce recognizes this and that’s why they have introduced “Community Cloud” and an entire suite of tools called “Social Studio” that helps dramatically simplify the task of managing a staggering number of social media channels. Within the Marketing Cloud Showcase, Salesforce showed off its latest generation of social tools that are all intended on making life easier for marketers. One such tool is “Social Command Center” which helps marketers begin to get their arms around data and conversations so that they become actionable.
Music to Our Ears – “Dreamfest”
While there was plenty of new technology rolled out and customer success stories were well showcased, the world’s leading technology company understands that all work and no play make for a dull boy/girl. So, the final night of Dreamforce featured an unbelievable private concert featuring The Foo Fighters, the Killers and Blues Guitarist Gary Clark Jr.
Lead singer Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters in this special motorized throne!
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff waves to all his grateful customers, employees and stakeholders as the Foo Fighters prepare to take the stage!
The concert was held at Pier 70 and was only open to about 30,000 lucky invitees that are employees, customers and partners of Salesforce. Spread across three different stages, attendees were treated to an amazing night of music that began with Gary Clark Jr. who currently is the opening act for the Rolling Stones and the Foo Fighters tours. Clark put on a spectacular show and was followed by the Killers who threw down some amazing rifts for all their fans. But the headline act was the Foo Fighters whose lead singer Dave Grohl suffered a broken leg which had threatened their tour. Grohl refused to allow his injury to interrupt the tour and they engineered something that allows him to perform in his normal high-energy manner. Dreamfest was truly an amazing way to top off what can only be described as an unbelievable week in beautiful San Franciso.