Dreamforce ’12 got off the ground in excellent form. The size and scope of the event are amazing. So far San Francisco has been an excellent host, ideas are being shared, the breakout sessions are enriching and the participation is strong.
The anticipation level is also pretty high for Marc Benioff’s address tomorrow and seeing where Salesforce.com is navigating to in the near future.
There are a multitude of breakout sessions that they have here, literally hundreds. The first one of the day for me was Government Best Practices: a Showcase of Leading Innovators. The session featured David Sayen from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Gary LaRoy, from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Anjali Kataria from the FDA and Rafael Carbonell from the City of Boston - Office of Business Development. All of them spoke of ways in which they have been able to leverage Salesforce.com and cloud based computing to their advantage.
In many cases, such as Rafael’s and Gary’s, their units were able to streamline systems and expedite cases through the use of Chatter. Specifically in Gary’s case, his organization opened up the use of Chatter to allow users to follow and invite others to follow them. This passively increased familiarity with the system and thus increased use and adherence – creating a trusted social network.
The Chatter component is also being effectively used by the FDA, especially in the area of getting new drugs to market. Their use of Salesforce.com enables increased collaboration and better reporting. The greater communication between departments is creating greater efficiency and aiding the process.
Another great breakout session dealt with the Force.com platform and the ability to create mobile apps with ease. One very cool demonstration centered on an app that was created in 5 days that allowed tracking of various goals. It also gamified the tasks and goals and turned it into a competition among other users of the app to see who could complete the most tasks (such as meeting a specific person at a specific vendor booth). This is a simple example, but shows the type of power that could be leveraged to keep track of expense reports and time worked. The possibilities are seriously limitless.
There will also be a new feature coming within the next 2 releases that will enable apps to be created, while keeping them separate or isolated from your Salesforce.com database. Since it hasn’t been released yet, its potential isn’t quite clear yet, however there are a few niches where this flexibility could come in handy such as in warehousing or manufacturing.
I finished the day at the vendors expo. With 100+ vendors from Ring Central to Informatica, one evening just won’t be enough. But this also goes to show you the increasing support and popularity of Salesforce.com.
Matt Dray is a web developer and Salesforce.com specialist with Aespire.