Now that I’m back and finally recovered from Dreamforce, I’ve been thinking about all that I learned there and what I observed. Key themes that had an impact on me were mobile, social and communities as well as some featured industries.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile! All the buzz was about the Salesforce1 Platform, which was officially launched on Tuesday, November 19th by Mark Benioff at the Dreamforce kickoff. Mobile is not just a nice to have any more, it’s a way of life and it was highlighted in every keynote I saw from partners to sales to marketing to service. Anywhere, anytime, anyone was a constant theme. The most interesting thing to me about this was not just the ability to access information on the go and enter a few key pieces of information, but also the ability to make quick admin changes to settings and configuration!
The Marketing Cloud announcement was interesting with the addition of both Pardot & ExactTarget to enhance the existing Salesforce Marketing Cloud. I believe ExactTarget Marketing Cloud this puts Salesforce.com in a much stronger position to compete in this space alongside contenders such as Marketo and Eloqua. The featured case study at this session, Careerbuilder, showcased the incorporation of social listening with Radian 6, along with using the Geolocator app on mobile to show job seekers where jobs were available as they are walking down the street. Just seeing that one demonstration really got me thinking of how many ways mobile functionality like that could be useful to someone in sales or service.
Salesforce.com launched its Communities app on May 2 of this year and since then it’s really come a long way. Communities was introduced to “End the Era of Legacy Portal Software”, but it’s used much more widely than that. On the service side, it allow your customers to search for answers to their questions or get them answered by others in the customer community while saving the time of your service reps for the more complex issues and questions. You can choose to publish formal articles for your customers or even select the best answer posted by your customers. Communities can be monitored by your employees and can be configured to set alerts. For example, a question posted by a customer with no answer within one day triggers a case for a service rep in Salesforce or topics with more than 5 answers posted creates an alert for service to create and post a externally facing Knowledge article. Communities can also be used to share ideas and get feedback from your customer community and allow people to vote for good ideas. Service is just one of the areas where this functionality is being used. You’ll also see it within Salesforce’s help and training section, user groups and many other areas!
Another interesting thought I have is related to who attended Dreamforce this year. The attendance was the largest ever, and I believe that is in part related to the high number of regulated industries who attended and have either found their way to the cloud recently or are working on their business case. I noticed a high attendance in the life sciences sector with many specialized sessions and outings related to both pharma and medical device (among others). Having worked in pharma recently myself, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to justify the benefits of both CRM and Social where information sharing is highly regulated at not just a customer levelbutalso between employees. Even though late to the party, I think that Salesforce.com and it’s AppExchange partners are quickly revolutionizing the healthcare industry. And the packed lobby of the Hyatt and other Life Sciences venues and events were proof!