Dreamforce 2017 Highlights: Salesforce Pushes For Equality and Artificial Intelligence for Everyone

Dreamforce 2017 was the best Dreamforce ever, as always. This year was all about consolidation, announcing a higher level of maturity end-to-end across the platform to make Salesforce smarter, way beyond competition. This year was also an inspiring call for further equality, further justice, further solidarity and respect – inside and outside the workplace, so we can all contribute to making the world a better place. Needless to say, Dreamforce did not disappoint. 

Salesforce never holds back when it comes to gathering 175,000 people in the heart of San Francisco and running the most exciting tech conference in the world. What a show! In the months leading up to the event, everyone was wondering what theme Marc and Parker had chosen for 2017. Virtual Reality? Robots? Self-driving CRM? None of the above. We knew artificial intelligence would be all over Dreamforce, and indeed, most of the announcements included Einstein in some capacity. It was my second Dreamforce and I had a blast. Keep reading to find out why.

Dreamforce 2017: Guest Speaker Dream Team


In a time troubled by world leaders vociferating hate and appalling behaviour, it was incredibly special having Michelle Obama speak from the heart about equality for all. She called out company executives to drive change. “If the men in the room see no diversity in the boardroom, it's time to change who sits at that table.” Her vision was clearly aligned with Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, who recently spent $6 million to close the gender pay gap.

Photo credit: Salesforce
Photo credit: Salesforce

Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman, who experienced pay disparity in the film industry, was also invited to speak on the same topic. She shared her views on the urge to empower young girls and women to speak up. “We need to encourage women’s voices and foster that practice from an early age. We need to teach them to be a boss and advocate for those around them.”

Reaching another height in emotions, Ashton Kutcher explained his motivation behind founding the Thorn organisation, to fight trafficking and the exploitation of children with the power of technology. “We like to blame technology, but technology isn’t a force for good or for evil, it’s just a tool. You are the force for good, or for evil.”

On a lighter note, but with similar power, Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys’ performance at Dreamfest was outstanding. Gathering thousands of people, it is the single largest fundraiser in San Francisco, meeting their goal of raising $15 million for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Ubiquitous Einstein

Artificial Intelligence built in the core of Salesforce platform, a.k.a Einstein, was the opening keynote of Dreamforce 16’. This year, we saw Einstein incorporated into all of the main keynotes. As we enter the era of the 4th industrial revolution, Salesforce’s vision of making their market-leading success platform intelligent is becoming more and more apparent. Smart algorithms and machine learning will boost Salesforce users’ productivity at all levels:

  • Sales Cloud users for better forecast, analytics, and support closing deals
  • Service Cloud users empowered to provide better customer experience
  • Field Service Lightning users more efficient than ever to close work orders
  • Internet of Things made accessible to everyone
  • Commerce Cloud designed to disrupt online shopping standards
  • Marketing Automation with automated journey optimisation
  • Analytics rebuilt for a smarter use of your data

Fully Customise your Salesforce Experience


For a multi-tenant cloud SaaS, Salesforce was up there in terms of how far customers could customise the platform. It’s been, for the last two decades, the core ingredient of its success. This year, Parker Harris and his team have taken the possibilities of customisation to a whole new level. With mySalesforce, myLightning and myTrailHead, it will soon be possible to have your own mobile app downloadable on the iTunes App Store and Google Play, you will be able to brand and skin your Salesforce UX, and create your own trails on TrailHead.

It wasn’t surprising that everyone at ProQuest Consulting got super excited by this news. Over the last six years, we’ve parked a lot of UX/UI conversations with our customers due to the nature of Salesforce. Our focus has always been more on the backend rather than  the front end. This is about to change, bringing balance between the two worlds. We are thrilled to soon be empowered to design fully-branded Salesforce solutions.

Tech Giants Joining Forces

Salesforce already announced earlier this year a strategic global partnership with IBM, Watson cognitive computing teaming up with Einstein artificial intelligence to extend insights available to Salesforce customers. Einstein focus on identifying trends and making recommendations by processing customer historical data. Watson provides structured and unstructured insights across many data sources, including weather, news, industry trends, local patterns, etc. Imagine how that could impact a retail shop, or an insurance company, getting these recommendations and alerts right from their CRM and Customer Service platform.

But at DF17, the buzz was around Salesforce and Google’s strategic partnership. Following Salesforce's partnering with Amazon to host their platform on AWS in Canada and Australia, hosting will soon be available on Google Cloud, moving data even closer to Salesforce users. Also, some specific Google features will be available such as Google Analytics integrated within Salesforce Marketing Cloud, access to G Suite for Salesforce users, as well as CloudLock selective encryption.

Salesforce’s Next Target

Salesforce is on a mission to reach $20B in annual revenue, which means 60% YoY growth, and catching up with the German ERP giant, SAP. As usual, Salesforce likes to set the bar high, really high. Their recipe to get there consists of:

  • the most disruptive intelligent enterprise cloud technology,
  • and providing a free training platform, interactive and fun, to empower thousands of people to change their career, including SAP consultants, and become trailblazers.

Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

This year again, the combination of feature announcements and influencers speaking up about major world issues make the conference feel that much more groundbreaking. Disruptive technology is designed to have a positive impact on society. I guess that’s why so many people, including myself, enjoy the Dreamforce experience so much. We are already looking forward to the next one!

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