Top 5 Takeaways from Dreamforce 2018

By chris@sqwarepeg.com October 2, 2018
Chris Whitbread is the Victorian State Director for Sqware Peg.
Sqware Peg Marc Keynote

There are many moments that make up a Dreamforce; from first sight of the Moscone Centre to the applause from closing of the final session. It all streams by in a blur of fun and innovation, fuelled by 170,000 attendees across 83 countries.

In no particular order, here are my top 5 takeaways from Dreamforce 2018.

1. Customer 360

With the acquisition of Mulesoft, Salesforce has taken no time to capitalise on its position as the #1 connected CRM. No longer an isolated platform, the platform of engagement is now positioned to be a true customer master, providing a platform and toolset to connect and map customer records, across an enterprise IT technology stack. The focus now appears to provide an improvement to the B2C experience, but I have no doubt this will quickly scale to specific B2B use cases. I’m excited to see where this develops. We will hopefully see further capabilities such as data cleansing that are available within the more traditional MDMs.

2. Industry Alignment

With the revenue of Salesforce close to exceeding a magic $20bn, the platform is moving into new territory. Previously, the mantra of Salesforce was focused on ‘Customer Success’, this has now morphed into ‘Customer Success at Scale’. I was amazed to find out that there are over 260 active partners in APAC. With scale in the ecosystem, Salesforce can seek a partnership offering that is tailored to speak the language of the end customer. This can extend the power of the platform and be effectively tailored to industry.

This is great to see and will no doubt be a key element to the next $30bn milestone.

3. Social inclusion and the greater good

The trailblazer community has grown to an incredible size and Marc Benioff’s keynote expressed a core theme of ‘inclusive capitalism’. Echoing the theme of connectiveness, Marc announced “We are all moving forward and everything is starting to get connected […] In the fourth industrial revolution we are all connected”. Very true and the symmetry particularly resonated with me; how both technology and social connectiveness are the key to our success. Marc laid out his call to action for corporates to become involved in corporate philanthropy; in terms of financial giving, donating time and responsibility in their role, to ensure equality and diversity in the workplace. I found it refreshing to see a corporation that places its core values so strongly at its heart and uses its influence within the ecosystem for a greater good.

Salesforce backed this message up with a $18m grant to local school districts and organisations in the Bay Area. This will assist top issues such as public education, homelessness and cleanliness.

4. The scale of Dreamforce

It has been two years since I last attended Dreamforce. Back then (oh so long ago), Salesforce was a mere $6.67bn organisation. Today, forecast to be $13.1bn the ecosystem and Dreamforce has grown accordingly, with an incredible display of keynotes, partners, guest speaks, concerts and more.

The APAC region is the fastest growing and opportunity is everywhere. Looping back to industry alignment, an interesting observation was highlighted; the challenge isn’t finding opportunity, but executing effectively and ensuring System Integrators and ISVs alike are focussed accordingly.

5. Strategic partnerships

Apple and Salesforce strengthened its partnership by bringing together the Salesforce platform and iOS to create new mobile apps for business. Salesforce announced that through partnership, it seeks to redesign its app to embrace Apple’s platform, with exclusive new features on iOS. Further tools and resources will also be provided to enable Salesforce developers to build their own native apps.

AWS was also a call-out as a core partner, with the two firms expanding their global strategic alliance through product integrations, aimed at simplifying how customers can securely share data across AWS and Salesforce services.

The week was a blast, so much to absorb that will take weeks to thoroughly reflect on. But one thing is certain…Salesforce is the industry leading CRM platform and it’s great to be part of it !

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