5 things you need to know from Dreamforce 2010

Modern Marketing


Today thousands of marketers, sales reps, developers, admins, consultants, and more are returning back to the office after an amazing and full week at Dreamforce 2010.  Mixed in with the email catch-up, and backlog of work, is the need to integrate what was learned during last week’s information packed conference.  For me, this means sharing with my organization the information on the following 5 key areas.  I hope this serves as your checklist too, and please feel free to add more in the comments.

Chatty Sassy and Markie at Dreamforce

Chatty, Sassy and Markie at Dreamforce

1. Chatter is the social network for enterprise – that you can no longer ignore.

If you went to Dreamforce last year, or any of the Cloudforce events since, Chatter is nothing new to you.  Last year we arrived at the Dreamforce keynote with a wind-up-mouth similar to the image below on our chair to announce Chatter.  It was exciting- the convergence of social networks and enterprise computing.  It was available to everyone who had a salesforce.com license and $15 more per person per month for everyone else in the organization that wanted to join in.  Since then, the product has grown fast, with over 60,000 companies (almost 70% of their customers) turning Chatter on, including Dell who has the broadest adoption with 113K users (100K of which follow Michael Dell).   And at this Dreamforce we learned that salesforce was going to drop the $15 per user per month fee, offering a free version to everyone in the company for all of their customers.

To also help encourage adoption further and make it more useful, a mobile version of Chatter was announced for iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry (don’t worry, Android is coming soon, too).  And the demos of this were slick- with live demos showing the sharing of presentations through Chatter that could be easily viewed through the Chatter app on an iPad.

Marc didn’t stop there though, he continued by announcing Chatter.com, a public version of the social network.  Chatter.com will be free for everyone to try, allowing others outside the organization to connect. This is going to be a freemium product, as you can upgrade from there to a professional version which will cost you $15 per month, or receive all the professional features for free by adopting salesforce.com as you CRM.

2. Database.com is more than just a new website, it’s a new cloud.

Database.com is salesforce’s move into Oracle’s world, offering a multi-tenant database service with 100% automatic administration, scalability, performance tuning, backup and disaster recovery.  This means no hardware, no software, instant backup and replication, and automatic failover.  Essentially, users will simply log-on to manage users, monitor system health, design database schemas, create queries, and write stored procedures and triggers.  You can use it with any app that is written in any language, and can be running on any platform.

Similar to other salesforce products, pricing is transparent and available online.  Also similar to other salesforce products, users can get started for free.   This product is unbundled from salesforce’s CRM.

3. Data was your problem and is now your solution.

Every organization has a customer or prospect data issues.  Either you are looking to add people to your database, are trying to update or complete information about those in your database, or have too much data and are struggling to normalize their information or sort out which are the active records and which are just filler.  At Dreamforce it was clear that while this may often seem like a problem specific to your organization, it is felt by all.  Almost every single session, regardless of track, about data issues was filled to capacity, as we are all trying to learn how to overcome these issues.

Jigsaw is salesforce’s attempt to help us with these issues.  Many who arrived thought Jigsaw was just a stand along list builder that would allow you to compile a list of prospects based on demographics like company size and title to import into the CRM.  What attendees found was that Jigsaw has a robust integration with salesforce.com that allows users to see when records go out of data or have newer information available, and can even shows how clean your database really is with their analytics tools, regardless of database size.    This is for over 4 million organizations, and over 22 million individuals – an impressive collection of data shared by their community of over 1.4 million.

4. You knew your remedy was the cloud, and now you officially have RemedyForce.

BMC, one of the top 10 software companies in the world, has joined with salesforce to offer Remedyforce.  This is Remedy available natively right on the force.com platform.  Does this affect you?  Well, IT Service Management is huge- having about a $15 billion market.  So it’s likely this may touch your organization.   The benefits of the partnership?  The press release lists them as:

  • An easy-to-use IT service management suite optimized for salesforce.com and BMC customers that integrates core service desk capabilities with change management, knowledge management, and problem management applications;
  • True service management, including a configuration management database to provide the required “single source of truth”;
  • Streamlined implementation on the Force.com platform and salesforce.com’s trusted global service delivery infrastructure;
  • Real-time collaboration using Salesforce Chatter;
  • Mobile access, reporting, and analytics

Above all, this partnership may mean time and cost savings for shared customers worldwide.

5. A developer dream come true – Heroku.

I knew that the developer community at Dreamforce would still be cheering for salesforce’s partnership with VMware called VMforce, so I was not surprised about the excitement when Marc Benioff announced that they were acquiring the top Ruby on Rails cloud Platform as a Service.  Acquisition of this platform will cost salesforce $212 million and is expected to be complete at the end of January.  Currently Heroku’s Ruby language powers over 100K web applications like Twitter, Facbook, and Hulu.  For Heroku this means 200 million Web requests a day and about 3,000 new apps per week.

Why the purchase?  According to Gavin Clarke from The Register, “Real developers are coding apps, not assembling them using Salesforce.com’s proprietary and closed and ‘Java-like’ Apex programming language. And Salesforce.com knows it.”

What’s interesting to me about all these announcements is how well they span salesforce’s community.  They truly pushed forward with announcements relevant to their entire audience, including marketers, sales reps, developers, admins, and consultants, and with changes improving services for both SMBs and enterprise.  This kept all attendees screaming for more than just Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am.