The party’s over but the buzz is still around. At Dreamforce this year, many things were hot, but a few were not.
One of the hottest topics: Analytics, was “accidentally” leaked by Marc Benioff a few weeks before showtime. The leak was a sneak preview to the Salesforce Wave Analytics. Wave is expected to enable a cloud analytics platform designed for business users. According to the Salesforce.com press release (dated Oct. 14, 2013), “Wave is natively integrated with the Salesforce1 Platform and shares the same trusted single sign-on, data security and compliance features of the platform. This enables users to quickly drag and drop data from Salesforce, including data from partner apps built on the platform, to deploy sales, service and marketing analytics apps. In addition, developers and IT can use Wave APIs and other data connectors to easily connect to third-party data sources—from structured SAP and Oracle data to unstructured machine and social data.”
Certainly great to hear how Salesforce.com is committed to making CRM (sales & marketing) data more accessible across the biz as well as the ability to bring corporate data into Salesforce.com for advanced analysis. This accessibility will help sales and marketing programs be more integrated with overall business analytics. And, It’s a big step forward for Salesforce.com to open up and re-work their analytics platform from the ground-up and increase adoption of the Salesforce1 Platform. However, quite a few challenges remain though as it’s still quite complex. Highly noted is the requirement for IT resources to build apps, which will represent a big barrier for non-enterprise size companies who have limited IT departments and available resources to build apps for another platform. And, interestingly, many of the demos were “mobile enabled”. Mobile is great for those 1 or 2 key reports that have summarized data. However, most Salesforce.com reports have multiple fields, sorting, and summary info which will be difficult to view on mobile devices even with a strong UI.
To read more about Wave, check out the great writeup by Forbes Contributor, Ben Kepes. On Salesforce’s Wave Platform and Why Semantic Debates About Analytics Are Irrelevant.
Another hot topic was predictive analytics (for marketers, this was often referred to as “predictive lead scoring”). With all the talk and software providers around big data, the concept of predictive applications to marketing seem quite appealing. While predictive seemed to be on everybody’s mind, it was difficult to find or speak to folks who had actually implemented and were able to talk about results. I attended a couple panels where use cases and approaches were discussed, sometimes in heated debate, but still had trouble seeing exactly where it had been applied. It seems those companies that have very high inbound demand, like hundreds of 1,000s of leads, needed a way to sort the good from the bad. Seems like a stretch to say that “everyone could benefit from predictive”. We appear to be quite a ways from seeing how valuable this technology will be.
One final upside to Dreamforce, this year: Check-in. Almost no lines anywhere to get your badge. What an improvement from the prior years. Great to save time and it was hassle free.
What’s not so hot at Dreamforce:
Mobile Event App. Did you ever get in? I didn’t. It was like downloading an app that turns into a screensaver when you try to open it. Really not that cool. Luckily, I had a google doc of all the seminars I signed up for and wanted to see. Hopefully, Salesforce.com can get that fixed in 2015.
Did you attend the Bruno Mars concert? Well, the show was awesome. The crowd was unruly. It was nuts to go to an event with so many adults, professionals I might add. Then, to deal with piles of rude people. Just blown away at how many behaved badly. And the food was ball park quality, from the snack shack at a little league game.
My last complaint, so-to-speak. It’s not really a complaint. Actually, more of a conflict. Too many options for evening events. Seriously, a lot of good venues, which makes for tough decisions. Fortunately, they are generally close by and hitting multiple events per evening is definitely possible. Have to ask my body for forgiveness though…I’m not 25 anymore.