This month, Josh and I were in San Francisco for the 10th Dreamforce conference along with almost 30,000 other people! Salesforce has again done a great job at orchestrating the event and launching into a lot of innovation that will continue to drive cloud computing for the years to come. Here’s a brief recap of some of the significant events and news we noted:
- More Clouds! Salesforce announced significant changes in it’s Cloud-focused strategy. In addition to the Sales Cloud, Support Cloud, Collaboration Cloud (Chatter) and Data Cloud (Jigsaw), Salesforce announced “database.com”. Looks like a nice abstraction of the “platform” (force.com) and the database tools, which can now be leveraged by cloud developers on any platform. Pretty cool!
- Chatter, chatter everywhere! To no great surprise, there was lots of focus on Chatter at this year’s event. After the announcement at last year’s conference, where the keynote got painfully long as we looked into the early days of Salesforce’s play in the collaboration space, this year there was some actual there there. The conference app leveraged Chatter heavily and got 14,000 people using it in what became a vital communications channel. The conference also had several sessions on effective use and there were even case studies on Chatter’s use. And to make sure this stuff gets out there everywhere, now there’s Chatter Free (free Chatter accounts for everyone in a company).
- Platform tools get much-needed love! This is the part of the post that is pretty geek-centric but makes a world of difference to folks like ifPeople since our jobs get easier with these kind of improvements. One major improvement in this area is ISVForce, which will give those of us making new applications on force.com better access to the cool stuff that made Salesforce unique (multi-tenancy, zero-down time upgrades, and declarative Visuralforce, among others). VMForce (Java-for-Salesforce) got some mainstreamed (if you can call a beta mainstream!) and new the new force: Siteforce (cool CMS-like tools in the works). While Siteforce still looks really green, I know there are lots of us who work in the web world (and do a lot of Salesforce integrations) that are looking forward to seeing what this one is going to bring.
- Open source gets airtime (and acquisition)! A very pleasant surprise this year was the increased language around open source, opening the platform up (“100% Open”), and the latest acquisition, Heroku. Heroku is a Ruby on Rails cloud hosting service that promises to bring a lot of excitement in the world of application development that integrates with Salesforce.
- Volunteerism, Nonprofit, and Green more integrated with the conference! This year, the volunteer event went throughout the conference (instead of being the day before), so attendees could stop by between sessions and help. Very cool. The Nonprofit/Salesforce Foundation crowd grew to over 1,200 people this year (up about 50% from last year) and we were glad to see several of our clients in attendance. Also, green got some more attention with a Sustainability corner in the Expo hall. Notable where the compostable packaging at meals and all the staff who helped sort the waste stream into recycleable, compostable, and landfill! Bill Clinton’s keynote brought attention to the seriousness of this side of the event too, by drawing attention to inequality, instability, and unsustainability as the three biggest issues facing humanity today (read more about his speech here).
- Tons of content (not really something new…)! As always, there are too many sessions to choose from all the time, but luckily they were all recorded and are quickly being uploaded onto Youtube.
- More parties than you can shake a stick at! I was relieved to see people dancing at the Gala this year (I was scared after my first Dreamforce when no one danced while the Black Crows played). In addition to the official parties, there were some stellar after-parties, including the Marketing Cloud party at the SF MOMA (sushi and modern art FTW!). Tip for partners – get some help on DJ selection to rock those amazing club venues next year!
That’s my download from the event thus far. What did I miss that you thought rocked?