This was my first Dreamforce convention after countless software conventions over the years and Mark Benioff surprised and impressed me in his keynote with focus on charitable giving, cool new technology, vast expansion of their addressable market and (gasp!) the introduction of a private cloud offering!
Mark kicked it off with a 30 minute dive into salesforce foundation and the charitable giving the company is undertaking. While most large companies encourage charitable giving and employee volunteering, often it seems to be only what is the “politically correct” minimum needed for marketing purposes. Not so with Mark, taking 25% out of the best attended session shows some true commitment and pushing the 1-1-1 model of giving 1% of revenue, 1% of equity and 1% of employee time to good causes is certainly a worthy contribution to the development of corporate culture! Check out more details at www.salesforcefoundation.org to find out more about some very notable contributions!
Next was the “biggest announcement yet” – the launch of the salesforce 1 platform, allowing salesforce customers to bring all their salesforce solutions, AppEx and custom apps, visual force and custom objects to one, new platform. It supports developers, partners/ISVs, end users administrators and customers, available immediately. It provides 10x more APIs than previously available. Making this platform easily available with a seamless transition is a very compelling offer, allowing mobile access easily. I will dive into more details in a later post.
The next surprise was the introduction of some cool new technology. While everybody in the industry pretty much has gotten it that you can’t really do cloud these days without leading with mobile applications, salesforce demonstrated an integrated business solution connecting medical devices to the salesforce solution and a field service technician using Google Glass! The theme of the show was to “get to the future before your competition does – and welcome your customers there”: the demo provided a compelling show case that salesforce can enable its customers to do just that.
I believe, even more important news was unveiled in the demo: By not only targeting enterprise employees, their customers and partners, but by connecting any device to their solutions, salesforce vastly expanded their addressable market from millions of users to billions of users and devices! It also expands the business focus from sales, service and marketing to many more scenarios involving those devices. That’s not only good news for salesforce customers, but shareholders as well!
The last announcement, together with Meg Whitman, HP, was the availability of “super pods” – a single, private instance of salesforce running on HP hardware. After years of ridiculing any offer of single tenant cloud solutions to large customers, for example by SAP, this was quite a stunning turn. As salesforce moved into larger and larger customers with more and more mission critical solutions, this was probably a necessary, but still very much surprising move!
All in all, this was a great kick-off to the event with a lot of exciting news. I will follow-up with posts about the different offerings highlighted during the show, the platform and my favorite celebrity-guest-session!