Like the holidays, Dreamforce is an event that looms large, requires major investment and months of planning, preparation and anticipation. And then, in a flurry of sessions, parties and swag, it is over in a flash leaving 170,000 dazed attendees to collect and organize thoughts and key takeaways. No small feat considering it is the goliath of technology conferences, a modern marketing marvel, and let’s face it, one amazing party!
In my four days in San Francisco, I spoke with hundreds of Salesforce customers and partners, attended keynotes, worked the expo floor, took in dinners and parties and walked some 60,000 steps. All of which left me feeling energized and excited for the year ahead, and perhaps just a bit overwhelmed. Here are my key takeaways:
- Integration around Salesforce is still a big challenge for the Salesforce partners and customers. The Salesforce ecosystem includes a wide swath of the tech and business world and there is an incredible range of technical skills represented by the people wanting to tackle the integrations. Scribe’s cloud-based integration platform and the Shadow data replication tool were well received because of their focus on making integration more approachable for partners, Salesforce admins, and IT/engineering groups.
- It is impossible be in three places at one time so have a divide and conquer strategy before landing in San Francisco next year. I personally over committed and was forced to pare down my agenda once I arrived. Lessons learned.
- Salesforce was built on and remains committed to their core values: Trust, Growth, Innovation and Equality. This year they added a Chief Equality Officer to the Executive team and made significant investment to close the gender pay gap. Add their commitment to philanthropy (over $168M in grants and 2.3 million hours of employee time) and Salesforce gets high marks for corporate social responsibility.
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us – everyone and everything will be digitally connected and the social and economic impact monumental. AI, robotics, IoT, mobile devices and increased processing power will change the face and pace of business and Salesforce is well poised to lead the charge. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is reshaping every business, industry and economy, and the customer is at the center of it all,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “Salesforce is delivering breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence to empower Trailblazers to deliver customer success, develop their careers and contribute to society in meaningful ways.” (https://www.salesforce.com/company/news-press/press-releases/2017/11/171106-4/)
- myTrailhead – Mid next year, Salesforce will extend its gamified online learning platform to customers for internal use. Customers will be able to customize a corporate learning environment with their own content and branding via a simple, declarative user interface. myTrailhead, with proper content and attention, has the potential to change the face of corporate onboarding and education.
- The Ohana is real. Perhaps most impressive to me is the enthusiasm, commitment, and real sense of community in the Salesforce ecosystem. Even while ensconced in the obvious marketing machine that is Dreamforce, attendees seek to drink it up. Customers, partners, ISVs and Salesforce employees from all over the world come together to learn and share ideas – all for the betterment of their companies, themselves, and, if you consider the good work of thousands of non-profit organizations running on Salesforce, the world. Okay – I might have had a sip of the cool-aid.
I was only one of the Scribe contingent, however, and asked some of my colleagues to chime in with their Dreamforce impressions:
- When I attend Dreamforce, I can’t help but be fascinated by the number of companies in attendance. It really opens up your eyes to how many tools and platforms are available to organizations throughout the world. Both a major and consistent theme at Dreamforce is the customer experience. Each and every day, business leaders are making critical decisions about which tools and platforms their business should use. The ability for these tools and platforms to be connected and talking to one another is critical in providing that optimal user experience. – Gregg Nelson, Sales Manager
- Next to the thousands of networking opportunities and getting to know other people’s business, Dreamforce is all about the learning experience. I was amazed by the enormous Trailblazer community that triggers people to earn new badges, get involved in hands-on training, and there was even a coding camp for kids. Dreamforce is more than just about fun and networking, it’s a place to learn new skills and engage with other Trailblazers. – Ozer Jongen, Account Executive
- Salesforce presents itself at Dreamforce as one big Ohana, the Salesforce family of customers and partners, where the focus is on the experience rather than on the product. Salesforce makes a statement here that people buy the experience, not the product. – Ozer Jongen, Account Executive
- This was my first Dreamforce and I certainly hope it won’t be my last. Dreamforce was an incredible learning experience for me. I was given the opportunity to network with thousands of people and learn from my peers while working the Scribe booth in the Expo. My biggest takeaway: Integration means something different to everyone. I must have learned about a thousand different use cases and applications. It really left me feeling excited about working in the Salesforce space. – Erin Campbell, Business Development Rep
- It is remarkable how Salesforce has enhanced the CRM admins users’ experience and productivity by using Einstein (AI) to surface relevant data based on their previous behavior in the application. – Ryan O’Connell, Technical Evangelist
- Thinking back on Dreamforce, what’s interesting is that while the technology is always amazing, it’s the people and the conversations that are most memorable. At the end of the day, it’s the people and the community that create this culture of innovation, continuing the fight against complacency. Technology is simply the catalyst towards the shared goal of being better. – Nathan Richard, Account Executive
I’m sensing a theme here. To summarize, Dreamforce ‘17 proved to be an incredible week of education, networking and vision sharing. Learning alongside hundreds of thousands of people with shared interests and goals is awe inspiring and humbling and we are so excited for what 2018 has in store. #ohana #scribevibe