Consummate showman, Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, did not disappoint at Dreamforce ‘15. He threw a killer party to entertain, excite, and inspire 170,000 of his closest friends (Benioff probably doesn’t differentiate between customers and friends). He reminded us of Salesforce’s new technology model and how he had believed in and built the cloud while we were all still firmly terrestrial. He boasted that this forward thinking was about to make Salesforce the 4th largest software company in the world in 2016. Beyond the braggadocio, we were reminded of the 1 1 1 philanthropy model and plenty of time was given to nonprofits and NGOs. But, these are the things we already knew we were going to see. What game changing announcements was Benioff going to pull from the Salesforce cloud? Like an ancient god, he summoned thunder and lightning.
Perhaps Benioff read our post, The User Experience is Everything, because the new lightning experience puts the Salesforce user front and center. Gone is the early 00’s-looking user interface; replaced now by a sleek, actionable interface. The homepage has gained intelligence (a theme; the inanimate becoming sentient), to show the user the information they need to make better decisions, quicker. Clad in a tight, baby-blue lightning suit, Salesforce co-founder, Parker Harris, joined Benioff on stage to explain that they did not simply put a new skin over the old Salesforce. They built a whole new ecosystem where the user creates the experience they want. Data visualization is customizable and components can be integrated with simple drag and drop mechanics. Changes transfer across devices and the beloved intuitive experience of the Salesforce1 mobile app is now delivered everywhere, from the desktop to the wearable. And, of course, it all happens lightning fast.
90% of all historically available data has been generated in the past 12 months; we are in the midst of data deluge. Many questioned Salesforce’s $390 million acquisition of RelateIQ, but it makes sense now as an umbrella for the monsoon of data. SalesforceIQ, available now for small businesses for $25 a user each month and coming in early 2016 for all Sales Cloud users, is an intelligent CRM. The user connects their email and calendar to the CRM and from the data contained therein, SalesforceIQ can make smart recommendations on next actions to take based on a lead’s profile and the user’s connection to that lead. With such smart filters in place, sales reps can become more efficient at selling and producing results.
The IoT Cloud Powered by Thunder
Thunder only happens when it’s raining. And so, with the swing of a Thor-like hammer and a booming clap, Harris rolled out the IoT Cloud. His thunder-buddy, Benioff is a futurist at heart and it’s clear he sees the Internet of Things as the next uncharted dimension for exploration. So many of our devices are already connected and soon enough, trillions will be, but the promise of what the data can deliver is not being fulfilled. For the IoT Cloud powered by Thunder, Salesforce have partnered with Microsoft to try and deliver on that promise. Every time a user interacts with a connected device in the IoT an event is triggered. The IoT Cloud enables real time rules to be created based on those events. The immediate opportunity is in creating optimal onboarding experiences for products. The first use of a product could trigger an event in the marketing cloud that sends a relevant and useful email that further explains how to use the product. Benioff concluded, “IoT is not a technical revolution … it is a customer revolution.” True words for sure. Dreamforce has always been where Benioff has aptly dreamt big and this year’s event was no exception. The atmosphere was charged; must have been all that thunder and lightning. Behind every new idea and enhancement the goal was the same – take data and present it smarter and faster. A big bet has been placed on the Internet of Things, but 16 years ago, I’m sure Benioff was told the cloud was a big bet. That worked out quite well, just ask his 170,000 friends. Or, feel free to ask us what we think, too.