September was a big month for travel here at The Copy Collective – a day in Melbourne, five days in Hong Kong, and we finished up the month with four of us heading to the US of A to attend Dreamforce.
For the uninitiated, Dreamforce is an annual 4-day conference (I say conference, but actually ‘extravaganza’ is closer to the mark) which attracts upwards of 175,000 people from all over the globe.
It showcases everything that’s new and improved in the world of Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software that has been embraced by companies and organisations (including plenty of NFPs) big and small.
Because it’s cloud-based, Salesforce has spawned a host of plug-ins and related features and apps that have been developed by external companies, and several hundred of them (including Zuora, Cloud Sherpa, InsightSquared and Meeting Mapper) were exhibited at this year’s event.
As part of the APAC contingent, we were well and truly taken care of by the Salesforce APAC team with welcome drinks, a special APAC lounge and a mid-week get-together at a fancy dumpling house. Let’s just say our region knows how to throw a party.
When we weren’t taking advantage of the free drinks or holding court in the APAC lounge, we were, of course, attending the many presentations, keynote speeches and panel discussions across 13 CBD venues. Here were our key takeouts from Dreamforce 2015:
1. With 13 venues and back-to-back sessions across four days, Dreamforce is a high-octane event run with military precision. The energy was palpable, and you could practically smell the money from the deals being struck.
2. Mark Benioff (co-founder of Salesforce) is clearly a bit of a rock god to Salesforce devotees. But if you’re not into billionaires in suits, then the Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder and Goldie Hawn were on hand to provide the entertainment.
1. San Francisco is a hub city for Silicon Valley, with a different vibe to LA LA land (Los Angeles). What many may not be aware of is that around 10 percent of the population within the city limits is homeless; the Tenderloin district (infamous for its poverty) not so tender for those who have no other option.
2. The food including clam chowder with crab, local lobster, Cowgirl Creamery cheese and Napa Valley pinot noir, was pretty fabulous. And the scenery – well, think seals basking on pontoons, seagulls the size of albatrosses, crazy weather, a famous bridge that is not the least bit ‘golden’, and hills! On average, two to four stops were needed on the steepest hills to suck in lungs full of mist-laden air.
The future of the cloud
1. Automation of workflows within Salesforce and using some of the hundreds of apps in the App Exchange will save time, money, and prevent dirty data which in turn will lead to greater productivity.
2. The Internet of Things is going to change our work in ways we can’t even imagine yet. So far it’s connecting disparate objects like fridges and council rubbish bins. It is expanding to include the management of solar farms, geographic mapping using drones and biological samples – all using Salesforce.
3. SalesforceIQ, Salesforce’s latest offering for small business, looks like it will build into a helpful and insightful tool. As usual, expect to wait for it to have the kinks ironed out for it to be user-friendly.