DataHive’s Take on Dreamforce

Dreamforce has overtaken Oracle Open World
Disclaimer: Dreamforce is a trademark of salesforce.com. Oracle is a trademark of Oracle Corporation. The use of these logos is not authorized by, sponsored by, or associated with the trademark owners.

A month ago, DataHive Consulting was at Dreamforce, but it has taken a while to digest all of the announcements, trends, and concepts that we saw there. To understand why, first consider what Dreamforce has become.

For those of you who have not attended Dreamforce in the past couple of years, the scope of the show has expanded substantially. This show has eclipsed Oracle Open World and other traditional San Francisco Moscone-based tradeshows with over 135,000 attendees this year and a spectacle that expands out beyond even Moscone’s footprint to practically every neighboring hotel in the area. Dreamforce is now the most important SaaS and cloud tradeshow on the planet, which also means that cloud providers, mobile providers, and analytics providers that support the SaaS ecosystem need to be there as well.

Because of this, DataHive could have been a hundred people strong, each spending a full week at Dreamforce without covering every aspect of the show. However, we focused on a few key areas germane to our consulting strengths, which means that we largely ignored many elements of Dreamforce that are also important, such as the Sales Cloud, the Marketing Cloud, the Service Cloud, sales enablement, CRM consulting, data replication, bidding, geolocation, contact center technologies, document management, and the now-infamous million dollar hackathon.

Our experience leads to the first and most important lesson of Dreamforce (even more important than the product and partner announcements!): Choose your battles. You cannot see everything and do everything. If you do not prioritize, you will spend a lot of time helplessly wandering around the Moscone area while being serenaded by Huey Lewis and the News, Hammer, and other San Francisco-area music acts. This is a rather pleasant way of being lost, but it is not especially effective.

The key announcement that got the most buzz coming out of Dreamforce was the announcement of the Salesforce1 application platform. This platform combines the vast majority of Salesforce’s functionality abstracted into specific APIs with the choice of using Salesforce’s force.com or Heroku dev platforms with a mobile-friendly front end. Unfortunately, Salesforce made this announcement more confusing by also announcing a Salesforce1 mobile app, a next generation mobile experience for Salesforce. Because both the mobile app and the platform have the same name, many are understandably conflating the two.

From DataHive’s perspective, the application platform is far more interesting, as it provides new potential avenues for building creative applications that combine Salesforce API calls with social feeds very quickly. In comparison, the mobile application serves as more of a proof of concept which serves a purpose similar to Google’s Nexus devices; the app provides a blueprint to other developers on what a potential application should look like. Although Salesforce1 will be used both for web-based and mobile applications, DataHive is more likely to consider using Salesforce1 in context of projects with a strong mobile context, since the platform is well suited to quickly release new functionalities to thousands of mobile users quickly whereas that speed of deployment is somewhat less important to laptop and desktop users for whom computing can be more dependent on connectivity or location constraints.

But this was just the beginning of what we saw. In the near future, we will also share what you missed at Dreamforce in the following areas: business intelligence, gamification, the subscription economy, and the integration of video with Salesforce. We learned a lot about the vendors that we’re planning to partner with and the role that Salesforce plays in all of these areas. If you want a sneak peek or want guidance on how to deploy social, mobile, and data-driven projects, please get in touch with us at connect@datahiveconsulting.com

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