During the opening keynote and really throughout the conference Salesforce executives did a great job of tying together technology, announcements and real live customer experiences. It was, I think, the best job I've seen of grounding presentations in real stories and for me, at least, did a lot of help me understand what they're up to. I won't recap all the announcements, but here are a few thoughts about a few areas that are of interest, I think anyway:
Social Collaboration and Connecting the Enterprise
- Launched a new communities product called Chatter Communities, this means that they won't have to buy a community management vendor and puts them in direct competition with Lithium, GetSatisfaction, Jive, Igloo and others.
- Launched a cloud based collaborative file sharing app called ChatterBox. This product will compete directly with the wildly popular Dropbox and Box offerings and also is competitive against Intralinks, Citrix and a few others. How competitive the product is and whether customers will switch remains to be seen, it's a tough market to break into with the momentum that the two "box" offering have gained.
- Applications that are Social: I wrote about this in a previous post.
- The official availability of the Touch platform announced last year is finally here. It's an HTML5 any device, all access mobile client that connects the mobile workforce with all of the Salesforce portfolio. I should mention that Facebook / Zukerberg announced in the week prior that HTML5 is not ready for prime time and that Facebook's mobile efforts would move away from it. Guess time will tell who was right.
- The Sales Cloud is getting a lot of attention these days, with a new focus that has evolved over the past few years around getting tools into the hands of the sales team that actually make them more productive rather than traditional SFA which was really about forecasts and management functions. Social and mobile have some real opportunity here and Salesforce has many new features in the Spring/Summer 12 and Winter 13 releases that will be of interest.
- The strategy around the marketing cloud, which I thought was unclear before the event, is more obvious at this point. The acquired products, Buddy Media and Radian6 are the heart of it, and it will only be focused on social marketing and social media monitoring and analysis, not on the broader marketing automation functionality. This doesn't mean that they won't change direction though, and buy a product there at some point. It does mean though, that Salesforce is focusing marketing product direction into social.
Other Interesting Announcements
- Announced new product Work.com which is built off the Rypple acquisition and is basically a gamified performance feedback and rewards system integrated to Chatter. It's a full performance management / talent management product at this point, but things change over time. Sales teams will like the game mechanics and visible feedback mechanisms
- In an interesting move to try and become more pervasive and sticky Salesforce launched a new Identity platform integrated in the Force platform. Salesforce Identity provides identity services through the Force platform with single sign-on for cloud and mobile applications and pre-integrated identity to other clouds. In a way this move mirrors Facebook's attempt to become the standard identity platform for consumer web services / consumer clouds in an attempt to make Salesforce the identity platform for all enterprise clouds.
So that's a wrap on Dreamforce 2012.