Hello from San Francisco, on day two of Dreamforce ’12. The day started with the keynote address, followed up with plenty of breakout sessions and the night ended with a concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A virtual who’s who of the tech world was on hand to listen and partake in the events, all of which were awe inspiring and informative.
The keynote address from Marc Benioff was even better than expected. I had arrived at 6am to find that I was the first in line and proved that the early bird does get the worm, in this case up front seats to a 14,000 person venue. It was worth the effort. MC Hammer started the event off, by charging up the audience, which was followed up by a short movie that introduced the CEO of Salesforce.com Marc Benioff.
Marc started off discussing the recent developments with Salesforce.com, and almost all of it centered upon increased communication and mobility. Salesforce.com and the Force.com platform developers seem to be focused like a laser upon increasing smartphone and tablet capabilities. However, I don’t want you to get the wrong opinion, they are not just merely talking about apps these are full scale enterprise class integrations.
Marc and his executive team all showcased several major corporations. Coke, GE, Facebook, Virgin America, Activision, Rossignol and many others gave case studies on how Salesforce.com is being used in their organizations. Many showed how they are leveraging not only the cloud but also social media and mobile apps to become more proactive and increase collaboration.
Facebook’s CIO Timothy Campos gave testimony to Facebook’s increasing usage of Salesforce.com within their organization to increase collaboration among their workforce. The use of Force.com’s products such as Work.com helps keep track of HR issues and completely revamps the old employee review by providing motivational, rather than demotivational concepts. The ability for supervisors to award employees for exemplary performance on tasks with recognition that is broadcast through an internal social media system is one example of that. The ability for them to award “points” which can be used for purchases at Amazon.com is another.
Virgin America and Activision were showcased for their use of the “Marketing Cloud” to increase awareness of customer’s needs, provide the customers with information and monitor social media to assist customers who might be experiencing problems. While there are too many features to cover completely, one scenario in which its power is shown is this:
Let’s say customer X buys an accessory for a gaming system and he can’t get it to work properly. So he goes onto Twitter and complains to his friends that he can’t get this component to work. The marketing cloud picks this up and automatically creates a case in Salesforce.com and assigns it. A representative of the company can now see it, find out who it was that sent it, and send an email to the customer or call them if the phone number is there. If the customer has Facetime, he can then ask him to turn it on and show him how he has the component set up and instruct him on getting it back up and running!
This ability also goes for Facebook and other’s as well, not just Twitter. It’s possible to instantly create “Shares” and advertisements, and broadcast them out on Facebook. All this can happen with just a few keystrokes and a couple of clicks on the mouse.
In addition to this amazing ability to handle marketing and customer service GE showcased a very innovative use of the social media and mobility aspects of Salesforce.com. This is a full internal social network that connects all relevant parties around something such as a jet engine. You may say “What? A jet engine has its own social network?” Yes. GE has set up entire social networks around products that connect everyone from R&D to engineers to manufacturing and also sales. This has significantly increased collaboration, efficiency and even customer satisfaction.
This is a very powerful platform and it scales very well. This means that you don’t have to be GE or Coke to utilize the power of the cloud. Small and medium sized organizations, both commercial and nonprofit can benefit from these capabilities.
Afterwards, the breakout sessions were very informative, but I have to say that some are more informative than others. Today I mostly went to developer sessions for coding and development tools. These were very good sessions!
At the end of the day the shuttle busses were in full force to take people to and from the arena for the Chili Peppers concert. I decided not to go and instead took an extra session for advanced Non-Profit Starter Pack for Salesforce.com administration. It was worth it, seriously.
Tomorrow will be more breakout sessions and a keynote address from Colin Powell! So I am off to bed.
Matt Dray is a web developer and Salesforce.com specialist with Aespire.