Top 5 Takeaways from Dreamforce 17

Insights posted on 11-21-2017 by Melinda Gales

Earlier this month, Salesforce wrapped up another inspiring, action-packed and learning-filled four days at Dreamforce 2017. The largest business technology event in North America, Dreamforce is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. And once again, our team has returned from San Francisco energized and excited about the new products and innovations that will surely fuel our clients’ success in the coming year.

Of course, it’s impossible to distill down all the sessions (2,700!), keynotes, group connections, and formal and informal best-practice-sharing opportunities into just a few key points. But as we regrouped back in Nashville, there were a few common themes that stood out to us:

 

 1. AI and Machine Learning

The future of technology is here, and it’s going to drive innovation even more than ever before. Salesforce has gone “all in” on AI and machine learning, and with the power of IBM’s Watson and Einstein, Salesforce is leading the way in providing a new level of intelligent customer engagement.

At Dreamforce, Bill Hoffman, Chief Analytics Officer of US Bank, joined the Einstein product team for a keynote that showcased some of the new Einstein-powered features. Think AI-powered apps and the ability to create intelligent experiences across your entire organization.

 

 2. Customer Experience and Personalization

Account-based management (ABM) requires seamless alignment between marketing, sales and customer success, as well as clean, structured data. With 78% of B2B customers demanding personalization, this is a key priority for Salesforce. The focus on customer experience and personalization will continue to be central to all new technology offerings and will influence the direction of new development.

 

 3. The Power of Shared Learning

One point that Dreamforce always brings to the forefront is the value of playing to your strengths. Collaboration within an ecosystem creates greater success than one participant trying to “own” a market. Those who try to hold too much will be overtaken by those who work with other strong leaders to provide best-in class services.

The lesson is clear: Know where you’re strong and where you might provide more for your customers by joining forces with another who is strong where you are weaker. It allows you to focus on what you do best, and that collaborative strength creates a whole that’s even greater than the sum of its parts.

 

 4. Inspiration Counts

woman at Dreamforce on phone

While Dreamforce offers plenty of technical deep dives and product news and demos, it’s not just about technology’s role in deadlines and deliverables. It’s also about a larger conversation around technology’s role—and our collective roles—in changing the world. As Salesforce reiterated throughout the event, Dreamforce is about blazing a trail together. And “business is the greatest platform for change,” noted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Over the course of the four days, key customers and keynote speakers led the conversation in encouraging participants to focus on making the world a better place through how we think, act and create impact. As keynoter Michelle Obama put it, “When you go through the door of success, turn around and offer a hand to bring someone with you.”

 

 5. The Winners Will Be Market Makers

Another key theme to come out of Dreamforce is that success going forward means being able to anticipate where the market is going, not just providing the same services for the same thing over and over again. With so much volatility across nearly every industry today, particularly in an industry like healthcare, the organizations that can create the future (or “blaze a trail,” in Salesforce lingo) will be much better positioned to not only thrive but stay ahead of the twists and turns of the market. It’s also why Salesforce is focused on filling its own partnership community with “market makers.”

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Salesforce unveiled and has in store for us over the next year. From analytics to Lightning to mobile to innovative new healthcare developments, including a Health Cloud certification for 2018, there’s a lot to unpack from Dreamforce 2017—and a lot to look forward to as we discover new ways to add more value to our clients’ missions.