As expected last week, Dreamforce took over the city of San Francisco bigger and possibly better than last year. When you consider their registration increasing at a rate of almost 100% per year, you have to wonder how big can this event get? Safety? Of course, Oracle Open World is next week, so someone was taking notes!
The reported registration was well over 90,000 taking over the entire Moscone center as well as 4 major hotels. Scurrying between keynotes and breakout sessions was a challenge, but at least the weather cooperated! No umbrella needed!
My curiosity going into Dreamforce was how Salesforce will climb from a $3B revenue run rate to $10B, and we know it’s just not from CRM sales automation software alone. “We’re only one-third there,” quoted Marc Benioff. Compared to Oracle’s $37B, he’s got a long way to go, but as Tony Robbins would say, “Progress is key”. (Incidentally, Tony Robbins was a guest Keynote on the last day to a packed standing room audience).
By comparison, CA Technologies (Computer Associates), which is very popular in Italy, boasts a $4.6B run rate.
The Social Revolution
Here are the take home notes for those who missed the event.
Every Dreamforce Keynote with Marc Benioff starts with the pre-keynote “show” and this year we were treated with a short 2 song “pre-Game concert” with MC Hammer. It was better than his impromptu interview last year! I didn’t expect dancing at 9:00AM, but I have to admit, I really enjoyed it.
As usual, he starts off with the usual blurb about the company, philanthropy and safe harbor statements. Then Benioff begins his message with the 2012 IBM CEO Study (you can download the report here, PDF 2.64 Mb) where 1709 CEOs believes you need to connecting customers, partners and employees in a new way with your products. Social engagement is exploding, and web traffic is decreasing. The “social revolution” is a trust revolution. (Salesforce no longer uses the term “social enterprise” as they did last year, which made headlines last month when they dropped the request for the trademark).
By 2017, CMO will spend more on IT than CIOs (Gartner study) but Marc thinks it will be faster than that.
As far as announcements go, they were interspersed with client success stories giving examples, instead of announcing acquisitions as they did in the past. In a way, I kind of liked the surprises.
I’ve been following Salesforce for many years now, and my interest before the conference were the past acquisitions:
- Assistly (now Desk.com)
- Buddy Media (inheriting 8/10 top ad agencies in the world)
- ChoicePass (customized corporate perks and employee rewards technology company)
- DimDim (real time, rich-media collaboration and meetings)
- Heroku (Cloud Application Platform, first with Ruby and now with Java)
- Manymoon (now Do.com)
- Radian6 (social media listening and engagement)
- Rypple (now Work.com)
Obviously, there are more, but those were the area of my focus.
Top 5 Announcements for Dreamforce 2012
So in no particular order:
- Marketing Cloud
- Salesforce Touch (Platform/Force.com)
- Salesforce Identity (Platform/Force.com)
- Chatter Communities
I would rank the Marketing Cloud as the biggest news as it combines two of Salesforce’s largest acquisitions. Combining Radian 6 and Buddy Media, you are looking at a 1 Billion dollar investment.
The question is how are they going to integrate the two companies into one feature? What can it do that doesn’t exist today?
Well, Marketing is Social, for starters. People are people, and they are connected!
After reviewing their keynote and what it can do for you today, the Marketing Cloud is more for enterprise, and not for the SMB markets. (HINT: do we see another acquisition down the road?)
The challenge for Marketing, especially in Europe, is multi languages, multi countries and multi regulations.
So with that in mind, the key 6 components of the Marketing Cloud are: listen, publish/content, engage, advertise (i.e. amplifying stories), workflow & automation, and measure. All at the enterprise level to custom audiences, finding the right demographics and the right “laser targeted” people. Money well spent, right? This is the power of social media and advertising.
As far as advertising component goes, the Marketing Cloud works nicely integrating with Facebook with all 6 components listed above. But what would make this more powerful is integration with Google Adsense, the world’s largest ad agency. Perhaps we’ll see this in future releases.
Let’s start at the end. The main keynote ended with one of Salesforce’s favorite customers, Burberry. And the final message was MOBILE!
That being said, Salesforce Touch was announced in the 2011 Dreamforce with the tagline “Any Device. Anywhere. Built on open standards to work across every device.”
One year later, it is finally GA.
Mobile traffic accounts for 20-25% of all web traffic, and that number will rise with the growth and popularity of the iPhone and iPad. Add Android devices to that mix, and we’re looking at over 75% of all mobile devices just from these 3 groups alone!
Touch was briefly mentioned in the main keynote, as the Platform keynote focused on 3 primary features, and those were 1. Speed 2. Touch (mobile) 3. Trust (more on that on the next section)
Salesforce Identity was “leaked" two weeks ago at Techcrunch’s Fireside chat, and my first reaction was from the competition. Okta was the first company that came to mind. Ping Identity is another.
But Salesforce, Oracle, SAP or Microsoft can either acquire you or copy you, anytime, anywhere. When that happens, it’s a testament that you are doing the right thing. Healthy competition is good as it brings the best of people and companies.
But when confronted with the question on Salesforce Identity at a post-keynote Q&A, Benioff’s response was “We have to. We had no choice”. Single Sign On is key to user adoption, because everyone hates multiple accounts and passwords. The success (or importance, depending on how you look at it) for SSO can be seen in Facebook and other web services. One click and you’re in.
If Facebook is doing it, then…
Let’s review the History of Chatter. First announced in Dreamforce 2009, with Chatter.com released GA by January 2011.
I think it great to see Chatter maturing over time, but progress is a bit slower than I hoped for. The beauty of Facebook’s feeds and status updates is that it connects everyone. A good thing and a bad thing, depending on your point of view.
Organizations like to use Chatter, but from my network and clients, they want to allow outside agencies to join the talk. For example, your legal team and web design company may be external contractors and not have a @yourdomain.com email address.
And you guessed it… file sharing between your company and contractors are a must.
So I am finally relieved to see Chatter Communities alive and well, even if it took 3 years.
Speaking of file sharing, the Chatterbox feature is long overdue, probably due to the major datacenter infrastructure changes and expansion required for increasing capacities.
You no longer need a 3rd party enterprise file sharing to accomplish your needs. But what’s going to happen to other companies like Box, Dropbox or Alfresco now? As I mentioned earlier, when Salesforce copies you (or acquires you for that matter), it’s a good thing because it’s a testament that YOUR idea was a good one all along.
Three years after their initial announcement, Chatter is maturing nicely.
One item to note is the addition of polls. People are your greatest resource, and to have everyone in your group or organization vote on a topic, everyone from CEO to janitor, is THE heart and soul of social media. 950 million users can’t be wrong (and half of them logged in today as I am told).
Is Salesforce still the Facebook for the Enterprise?