Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:41

Hello from San Francisco, day three of Dreamforce ’12

Hello again from Dreamforce 2012. The third day here for me was a busy one. I went to several breakout sessions dealing with development, spent some time talking to the Salesforce.com Foundation representatives in the nonprofit area, and listened to Colin Powell and Jeffrey Immelt discuss their views upon todays technological landscape. Later I attended a party for nonprofit engagement companies.

First I have to state that this is one immense convention. There are well over 60,000 people here and the expo halls, the auditoriums, and the conference facilities are packed into several city blocks. To go from one side of the convention to the other, outside, is roughly a 15-20 minute walk. So constantly going from breakout session to breakout session means I have walked several miles each day – it is that big.

Developers-center-dreamforce12The hands-on sessions that they have here are awesome. The presenters are friendly and their depth of knowledge is tremendous. I have learned a lot on configuration, customization and using development tools, but there is so much more that’s available. From the beginning user to the advanced developer, there is something for everyone.

My discussions with the Salesforce.com Foundation representatives were enriching. The Salesforce.com Foundation is born from the 1/1/1 model. Marc Benioff’s vision was to donate 1% of Salesforce.com’s equity, 1% of his employee’s time, and 1% of his product to improve communities around the world. This is a very powerful gift that is available to nonprofit organizations. For 501(c)3 organizations, you can apply to Salesforce.com for 10 free user licenses and deeply discounted rates for additional users. Considering the potent platform that Salesforce.com brings to the table, it makes perfect sense for nonprofits to use it.

There is a plethora of products available to enhance the Salesforce.com platform that are available to nonprofit organizations. From admin tools to social media apps, from free to discounted-for-nonprofit, there are hundreds of apps. All of which are geared to helping your organization increase awareness, keep track of your donations, and expand communication on all levels. This product is a must have for any nonprofit.

Jeffrey Immelt and Colin PowellThe keynote address with Colin Powell and GE’s Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Immelt was great. Both shared ideas on how technology is influencing out economy and our lives. General Powell felt that we need to continue to embrace the internet and technology; however we must also be cautious as to not lose what makes us a relational society. They also shared their beliefs on how the road to economic recovery will be long and hinges on our ability to create more jobs, both here and in underdeveloped areas abroad. They also spoke of the need for more education and the fact that there are millions of jobs out there that go unfilled because of a lack of training.

Finally, the nonprofit engagement party was packed! Wall-to-wall with representatives, the event allowed many of us to share ideas and see how many nonprofits are leveraging the power of Salesforce.com to their advantage. It was a fun and exciting time.

As of this writing, there is one more day and there’s still more to see before I take the “red-eye” back home. An 11:30 pm flight out with an arrival of 8am in Cleveland…

Fresh Design Thinking