Dreamforce Digest #1: My my my – Salesforce gets personal

The dust has settled after yet another Dreamforce, giving us the chance to breathe and attempt to descramble everything we heard, saw and learnt. So here are our headlines…

“We Are All Trailblazers”

The overarching theme this year at Dreamforce was “We Are All Trailblazers”. Now who would have guessed just how iconic the “Trailblazer” hoody would become? I remember when I first put that hoody on, at the annual MVP summit all the way back in May 2015…

(An interesting factoid –  a little dicky bird told me that the colour of the hoody was actually supposed to be grey and not black.)

A Trailblazer, for those that don’t know, is:

Treyl-bley-zer / noun

(1) a pioneer; an innovator; a lifelong learner; a mover and shaker.

(2) a leader who leaves a path for others to follow.

(3) most importantly, a person who builds a better world for others.

So why exactly are we all Trailblazers? To answer that, let’s dissect Marc’s keynote. Personally, I feel that the execution of the keynote this year was far less gimmicky than previous years. The customer stories and demos were simple, the language used was straightforward and best of all… I managed to not fall asleep… but instead stayed engaged for the entire keynote.

One could argue that the format was getting a little stale year-on-year. Perhaps Salesforce was conscious of this and so implemented some subtle changes. For example, this year there was no Peter Coffee for the pre-keynote interviews; instead we were graced with Sarah Franklin (SVP Dev Relations & GM Trailhead), who was excellent.

The thank yous and the ‘stand up to be recognised’ moments that we’ve become accustomed to got toned right down. Salesforce’s actions speak louder than words, where a simple and short thank you goes a long way, so I’m glad this aspect was much lighter than previous years.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution”

Peter Coffee may have not appeared in the flesh, but when Marc started talking about the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, my brain immediately started thinking about the many sessions where Mr Coffee spoke about this very subject: one which is close to my heart too. With the 4th Industrial Revolution angle, Marc has replaced the ‘evolution of computing’ slide with the ‘evolution of mankind’, so to speak – as the majority of the world’s population has some level of access to a connection, computing, educating and opening people’s minds about the wider changes taking place all around them is a natural progression.

Here’s how the old and the new angles compare:

To help articulate this evolution, Marc provided some very simple examples: lifts which can speak to us; connected tyres which know when they’re about to blow; the cooler which knows when it needs replenishing; and the shift in loyalty programmes towards a connected community of customers.

“We all know, we’re heading towards creepy”

Marc took a brave step and spoke about the elephant in the room by elaborating on one of his often used phrases “We all know, we’re heading to creepy” – he is right, there definitely is a lot of worry out there. In this connected world, are we more connected or somehow less connected? This part of the keynote left us with this question: “What is the promise of this connected world doing to us?”

Equality for every human being”

Next came the Salesforce core values pitch: Trust, Growth, Innovation, and Equality. Equality was prominent at this year’s Dreamforce, more so than ever before and more relevant than ever in today’s society. Salesforce’s maniacal chasing of equality is nothing short of inspiring – their pursuit of “equality for every human-being” is bold and encouraging to hear and be seen put into action. Again, actions speak louder than words.

“The Salesforce Economy”

“By 2022 the Salesforce partner ecosystem will gain $5.18 for every dollar Salesforce earns.”

If you follow Salesforce in the press you may have heard about “The Salesforce Economy”. I suspected this would be highlighted during the keynote – and the growth is all down to us – thank you, Marc! It was highlighted that 2 out the 10 best tech jobs are in Salesforce and that by 2022 almost a trillion dollars will be generated in new business revenues worldwide.  Phenomenal – everyone wins!

Main Product updates

As with all Dreamforce conferences, future product and platform updates are showed off during the main keynote with the aid of a select few customers. This year’s stories came from T-Mobile, Adidas and 21st Century Fox – and the delivery of these, compared to last year, was less theatrical and instead perfectly paced, not too long and they hit the mark in terms of explaining the changes these companies were achieving using Salesforce.

As usual, the keynote and Dreamforce as a whole is all about the Salesforce marketing machine in action, tweaking and tinkering with things… Remember when everything was rebranded Salesforce1? The following year, everything was rebranded Lightning, including things like product editions. Last year, Wave analytics got rebranded to Einstein Analytics – so one thing we could be sure of for this Dreamforce is that some sort of rebranding would be in the mix – and oh MY gosh, I was right!

See what I did there?! OK, let’s explain…

myTrailhead

myTrailhead is Salesforce’s attempt to enter the LMS space by providing the ability to personalise the Trailhead platform. myTrailhead allows the whole user experience to be personalised to your organisation, with the ability for users to create and curate their own content, in other words you can now create trails for your own organisation – and I can imagine this puts a rocket up some LMS vendors’ behinds… We always wanted to be Trailmakers, and now we can be!

mySalesforce

mySalesforce provides a uniquely branded experience for your organisation. You can take a personalised version of the Salesforce Mobile App, apply your own branding and make it your own. But it doesn’t stop there – why not list it on one of the leading App Stores – the Apple App Store or Google Play Store? (But not the Microsoft store, remember I said ‘leading’..!) Yes, Salesforce has removed the complexity and the hassle of publishing a mobile app, and turned the entire process into a sleek declarative one. Not only can you build mobile apps very quickly using Salesforce mobile, you can now go the whole mile all the way to the app store. As ever, the only possible gotcha is the pricing, but we’re happy to wait and see how that pans out.

myEinstein

So, technology found a way to bring back Einstein! By now, who hasn’t seen the little white-haired dude popping up in their org with his predictions? With myEinstein, Einstein has cloned himself to create a little army of smart bots, able to interact with customers and users. These bots can hand off to service agents (those old-fashioned real users!) when required, but here is the scary bit… with the aid of machine learning these bots may just provide a better service. Marc said it best when he said “I know people are a little worried” …yeah, no shit!

The clever bit still left for us mere humans is the ability to put Einstein’s predictive skills to work on any field with zero code, using predictive fields. So we can only blame ourselves if the bots take over.

myLightning

myLightning continues the evolution of Lightning’s customisation capabilities. Winter ‘18 introduced a standard background theme. This theme now becomes just one of the options available in the new themes and design system. Your org can now be personalised to reflect your brand more closely and really feel like your own.

But it’s not only the themes and branding; dynamic component filters are improving. Now, more complex use cases can be implemented making the entire page experience more contextually-aware and allowing you to delivering a different user experience to the user based on values of the record.

Like I say, myLightning is more of an evolution than a revolution, but it provides all of the above and promises to become much more.

myIoT (Internet of Things)

IoT is not new and has been around for sometime, time enough for us to learn that the majority of IoT projects fail or stall. myIoT is Salesforce trying to bring IoT out of its nascent period and really unlock its potential. At first MY seems odd, but when I think like this – as a customer I want to get the most out of all MY connected things – perhaps it makes sense, and if anyone can bring all these connected things together and do stuff, I reckon Salesforce have the best chance.

But this is all just words, the big differentiator with myIoT is this – where the IoT Cloud previously had felt much like a fake cloud that never really existed (was it running Azure or AWS, who knows, but we’re sure now…) – it’s 100% on the Salesforce platform. I’ve seen it and touched it – and I just can’t wait to start hooking my BBC Micro:bit up to Salesforce!

So, it looks like nothing escaped the ‘my’ branding this year, apart from Wave, and that’s only because it was rebranded Einstein Analytics very recently. Who knows what we’ll be calling all these things by the time DF18 ends?!

Closing…

So there you have it; that’s the main product updates – and have you figured out the rebranded message yet? Behind every connection and device is a customer and what does every customer want? They want the power of Salesforce to be ‘all mine’… So ‘my’, it’s obvious isn’t it?

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