The dust has just settled on Dreamforce ’16 (DF16). Once again it was the perfect combination of business summit, tech convention, and rock concert that we’ve all come to expect. Whether you were able to attend this year or not, here are some of the observations that I took from a very packed agenda…
AI is here. You need to know about this.
It may be just emerging from niche application to utility for the masses, but (like all emerging tech) Artificial Intelligence will improve—fast. And you don’t want to miss this trend. Salesforce.com’s initial foray into Artificial Intelligence is built directly into the platform. “Salesforce Einstein” is the first generation of a comprehensive AI for CRM. It’s an integrated set of AI technologies that makes the Customer Success Platform smarter. You may not lose sales to a robot, but you will begin losing to sales reps who are power-assisted by AI. Better get moving!
Lightning has struck.
If you’ve spoken with your Salesforce AE in the past year, you may have heard of Lightning—the upgraded UI of the entire platform. You may have been holding off for several reasons. My advice? The time is right to get on the lightning bandwagon. Every demo and example I saw at Dreamforce was in the Salesforce Lightning Experience. Yours better be too. We seem to have reached a tipping point. All the blood is flowing to Lighting and it’s really looking good and performing well in the newest releases.
An engaged workforce = success (and yours wants to do well by doing good).
I feel the analysis about Millennials can be a bit overdone. But one thing is true about this new generation of business professionals, they want to do well by doing good. And they are making that easier for all of us in our workplaces. Marc Benioff makes philanthropy a central principle at Salesforce and you’re able to see it live in action at Dreamforce. This year was no different. We focused on the “RED” Global Fund effort to end AIDS, raising over $900,000 for the cause. In addition, the concert raised $10 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Several years ago, West Monroe adopted the 1+1+1 model and my co-workers and I are very energized by this principle. Philanthropy brings purpose to teams beyond doing a good day’s work.
Supercharge productivity with Quip.
Marc Benioff explained why Quip is a more productive way to work. He also shared why it’s such an exciting addition to the Salesforce family. Quip is a complete content creation and management suite (think an upgraded Google Docs), with live collaboration on shared documents, spreadsheets, and tasks in a central place. Less time spent managing email is always a good thing! Freeing these documents from your laptop brings agility, maximum responsiveness, and hyper collaboration—a deadly combination to use against your competition out there. Check out Quip.
Unify commerce everywhere.
Another innovation announced at DF16 is Commerce Cloud, Salesforce.com’s leading digital commerce platform. It’s a reinvented way to grow through cloud commerce, with predictive merchandising and a seamless customer experience across web, mobile, social, and in-store touchpoints. It will be interesting to see how this architecture evolves into the platform, but in terms of installed base, Salesforce has acquired the strongest foothold in eCommerce with its Demandware acquisition to create Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Enhanced customer communications with Salesforce LiveMessage (conversational text messaging for Service Cloud).
Another acquisition that was perhaps a bit less hyped was the Salesforce.com acquisition of HeyWire in September. Salesforce has increased support agent capabilities and efficiency by adding the means to communicate live via text messaging, in the context of Service Cloud. It’s a “mobile-first” world, and this functionality is a real upgrade of the text messaging channel as part of overall customer service.
As always, there was more to Dreamforce than can be captured in a single blog summary. We’d love to hear your insights and reflections on the roadmap communicated by Salesforce.com. If you would like to discuss your own plans with a Salesforce Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner like West Monroe Partners, please reach out to connect with us!