In all the years I have covered Dreamforce, this was the first time a major announcement or acquisition was missing in one of the 2 keynotes. In a way, you can call this “What have we been up to in the past 8 months with all of our acquisitions?”.
As this was the largest tech conference with over 45,000 registered attendees, it makes me wonder how Oracle Open World 2011 will outdo and outshine Salesforce? The Moscone Center is only so big, and any bigger, you’ll have to call in the fire marshals.
VMware, ironically, had their user conference in Las Vegas at the same time, while pushing their private cloud vision, which eventually means buying more hardware and VMWare software. The Salesforce public cloud vision model is about integrating public services, and we saw it at Dreamforce.
This year, the key message was the usual Social, Mobile and Open message, as opposed to the Social, Mobile and Cloud agenda. No need to introduce the cloud… we’re already here. But at Dreamforce 2011, Salesforce outlined the framework for their cloud, either by the new features (some from acquisitions), partner integration, or simply success stories from customers.
The success of Salesforce starts with Customer Service. And from that, the moral of the story is listening to people is more important than ever. This means a closer contact with your customers including building relationships. Social is nothing new. It was always there. It’s the connectivity to public cloud networks that’s the game changer.
Let’s start by looking at some of the components to their strategy and their key message, “Welcome to the Social Enterprise”. (aka Facebook for the Enterprise)
Salesforce isn’t just CRM anymore even though their stock ticker is CRM… it’s a suite of enterprise applications including Chatter and the Service cloud, as well as a platform-as-a-service with Force.com.
Their model is a networked ecosystem that connects your business with other businesses. CRM is great, but now you can include the next generation of social information available on public social networks. Thus, the secret they outlined is:
- Step 1: create a social customer profile, & keep track of your social database
- Step 2: build an employee social network
- Step 3: create a customer & product social network
Let’s look at some of the changes and features that will get you there.
Tablets and smartphones are outselling PCs, so the shift to mobile computing has already happened.
If you’re familiar with Kindle Cloud Reader, LinkedIn, or apps like app.ft.com, then you’ve already experienced HTML5.
HTML5 is viewed by many analysts as the future of mobile development. While most people may think the iPad and iPhone are the winners in mobile technology, I feel the market is still in its infancy and the choice of tablets and smartphones will change rapidly. What you will be using next year has yet to be invented.
Salesforce.com made a bold prediction by placing HTML5 at the core of their mobile strategy with an upcoming product, touch.salesforce.com. In short, it’s a fully functional cross platform HTML5 based mobile web application. No longer are they tied to specific models with native apps.
Salesforce customers and partners can access all the data and customizations performed on your Salesforce.com traditional web page and it will come through your mobile device via HTML5.
touch.salesforce.com will be available early in 2012 but the price has not been determined.
Let’s face it, “Social Networking” belongs in the Call Center, and Salesforce has a strong vision for the social enterprise. People complain on social media sites before they even call customer service. With the Service Cloud, Facebook and Twitter comments are populated to your customer database social profiles.
Salesforce.com joined forces (no pun intended) with Dun & Bradstreet on Data.com, which builds on the earlier acquisition of contact provider Jigsaw back in 2009. It’s all part of the social profiling and the partnership will provide Data.com users with access to 200 million businesses.
Jigsaw uses a crowd-sourcing model to collect up-to-date information on user’s contacts, with other users of the service contributing data and helping keep records clean of errors. Jigsaw is not available in Europe.
As well, we finally got an in depth look on how Radian6 can help you evaluate and measure what’s being said about your company and products. By monitoring and interacting on social media sites can improve public perceptions of a company. The Radian6 acquisition which was announced in late March 2011.
Open (and Platform)
Database.com, the social enterprise database which was announced at last year’s Dreamforce 2010, is now generally available. A Data Residency Option (DRO) for Database.com was added, allowing companies to choose what data they want to have in the cloud and what information they want to keep in-house. Basically, Database.com’s Data Residency Option lets companies choose to keep their data in their own data centers while still working with Salesforce apps. A big plus if you ask me.
When Chatter was announced in 2009, the product was similar to having everyone in the same room all the time. I wrote about it being a limited resource to internal only people and systems, but now with Chatter Connect API and Chatter Groups, it is now open to external customers and partners. The success of Chatter depends on external collaboration, and that includes more than people. It included data (files, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.) talking back to you. I am excited to see Chatter Approvals, for example, to have external systems like approving an Expense report without having to go to another application including Microsoft SharePoint.
By take advantage of a set of REST (REpresentational State Transfer) programming interfaces, it will now connect Chatter to other web services. This opens the doors to ISVs and partners to build additional value-added services.
At the end, there will be more adoption for Chatter and Chatter Plus and therefore makes the app “stickier”. Just like Facebook, and we all know how addictive that can be.
The social revolution requires a new platform, and the explosion of apps (Facebook apps, Android apps, Apple apps, and even Heroku apps) proves it. The number of new apps developed every day is explosive.
The big news last month was Heroku now supports Java. The Heroku platform currently has triple the number of customer applications built on it than it did a year ago and another programming language will be revealed shortly (other than Ruby on Rails and Java). Also worth mentioning is Heroku for the social enterprise package with pricing packages starting from $4,000/month.
Partner success is an integral part of Salesforce’s success. More announcements and success stories came from new ISVs to the AppExchange - including Kenandy, Seesmic, Concur, Infor and Workday – to build new social and mobile employee applications in the cloud with Force.com. I guess there is only so much stage time that you can promote, but I expected someone from Workday, which provides software-as-a-service solutions for financial and human capital management, to be up on stage with Marc.
And finally, Siteforce, a website development tool which also announced at Dreamforce ‘10 last year, will finally go on general availability in October. If you are looking at ease of use for developing websites, Siteforce is definitely for you.
Dreamforce 2012 will be held September 18-21, 2012.