Last week, I attended the Salesforce Milan Innovation Tour at the Marriott in Milano.
Before I get into details, I have to walk you through memory lane.
Salesforce hosted their first Dreamforce 10 years ago, to about 500 people. At the time, CRM was the big selling ticket as on-premise software was still the leader, and the term “Cloud Computing” wasn’t even coined yet. (the answer is around 2006)
At the conference, the “Custom Tabs” was one of the new announced features! My oh my!
Fast forward 10 years and while this was by no means a Dreamforce, let alone a Cloudforce, it gave the city of Milan a very, very small taste of what it’s like to attend San Francisco’s premier Dreamforce event.
Over 1000 registered for the event, and about 350 attended the event, braving the rain.
But while Salesforce has moved beyond CRM, the rest of Italy who uses Salesforce only uses it for Sales and Service automation. Marketing automation is still run by the campaign features of Salesforce Professional edition (and up).
The agenda was broken up into 3 parts with time for networking at the Cloud Expo which hosted 10 vendors (Accenture, Deloitte and Arlanis Reply were the gold sponsors). There were no breakout sessions.
Ernest Calvet, EMEA Regional Vice President at Salesforce.com was the lead presenter and he did a wonderful job leading the show.
After painfully going through the Safe Harbor statement in Italian, the show mainly focused on two themes.
- Business is social
- Customer Success
The presentation were the same ones displayed at #DF12, using the standard three mediums… presentations, customer success stories via video, and some live demos (we do miss Dan Darcy here!)
Attendee reaction.. science fiction?
In a way, Italy is 10 years behind judging by the reactions to the crowd, and poking a few random questions. The Expo booth, on the other hand, was a different energy!
For the first timer who hasn’t grasped the power of cloud computing, or the power of social media in business, I can assure you the presentations seemed like a Science Fiction movie. Customized coca-cola soft drinks from a vending machine? Personalized video display with social media on airlines? Your chauffeur-less car talking to you?
Every country has their own way of doing business, and Italy is no exception. It is based on relationships.
Is Italy, in particularly Milan, ready for Salesforce beyond CRM? Cloud Computing? Social in business?
It’s going to take a lot of nurturing and success stories to win these customers.
People want to see real live examples.
People want to see benefits.
People want to see increased profits.
When that happens, perhaps Italy will embrace the cloud. They don’t want to spend money, because they don’t have any.