Cloudforce by Salesforce.com – Listen, Engage, Act

Along with 1000 others, I attended yesterday’s #Cloudforce in Washington DC sponsored by Salesforce.com where the emphasis was a convergence of social, CRM, and mobility in the enterprise – this content was brand new in preparation for the uber Dreamforce in August.  Mark Benioff is a terrific visionary and is lucky enough to meet with executives around the globe to pick their brains about future challenges.  His keynote is well worth watching and absorbing (although lengthy at 40 minutes so I’ve summarized the key take aways under the video!)  He talks about the scale and elasticity of the Cloud we now live in…

  • Salesforce.com is so much more than CRMThe chatter application in particular, when a process is outlined on how to use, can cut down on meeting time and email flow intracompany by allowing groups of people in and out of the company to collaborate more effectively.  How valuable is that!?  From companies I’ve talked to that have deployed Chatter, one needs to be very disciplined around process.  Sales teams tend to use it for global proposals, cross functional projects can be managed;  also, some of the privacy settings allow exec or management oversight into the workflow process.   I see a lot of upside here in this application in terms of global coordination and effectiveness (assuming everyone speaks the same English language).  I had implemented a ‘Chatter’ like functionality with my global sales organization 8 years ago and found tremendous benefits with its capabilities around competition, positioning, and pricing.
  • The buying process is now more ‘social’ than ever before.  With their acquisition of Radian6 and its capabilities to broadly listen to blogs, tweets, and many other types of media, you’ll now get a more complete vision of what your customer is really wrestling with after they become a customer or even as a prospect.  Support centers that have customers call in will have intelligence about their customer issue prior to the actual contact – a huge savings for customer service operations where your conversations are threaded – salesforce service cloud.  While not new, the social element is also starting to hit a full stride in the buying department.  Companies that are smart are engaging, not ignoring.
  • Mobility – so much of what we do now will be on iPads, Droids, iPhones that organizations once banned but are now embracing – so all applications of SFDC are rendered and tightened down security wise for mobility;  beyond the rendering, a futuristic geolocation capability gives marketers new ways to think about their offers that never existed before.  I have a deep background in mobility and can concur with some of the observations Benioff made with the overall direction of the market particularly around the geolocation and advertising.  He also used a very interesting example of having products talking to us – get a car on a social network – maintenance notification, location sharing, in a private portal environment.

Of course the event had the ecosystem in full force in the gallery – a company named Birst caught my attention as they are solving a real difficult challenge of dashboard creation across multiple databases built into a single data warehouse.  For a marketer, this is a company and segment of space worth watching.

Terrific event and well worth attending!

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