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My Experience as a Dreamforce First-Timer

Wow!!

Last week saw myself and four others from the ProQuest team descend on San Francisco for the annual Dreamforce conference. Along with over 175 thousand Trailblazers from all over the world, we were there to learn about the future plans for the platform and products, meet new friends and catch up with old ones from the community, and drink the Kool-Aid from a giant chugger cup of Salesforce goodness.

Dreamforce has the feel of a corporate Disneyworld as delegates queue to hear presentations from the likes of Michelle Obama and Ashton Kutcher, and to hear the next steps and key collaborations from Marc Benioff, the CEO and founder of Salesforce, and other senior personnel. The fact there are giant ‘Salesforce Characters’ roaming the venues only adds to the larger than life Disney comparison. America does bold and brash as only Americans can, and Dreamforce epitomises a Californian company in full pomp and growing confidence.

Chad and Einstein.

The size of the event is slightly overwhelming for a newbie like me. There are over 2700 sessions to choose from and it’s a logistical challenge to map a path from one to another. (We really should have used Field Service Lightning!) Often you want to go to more than one session that clashed, but luckily we could take solace in the fact most are recorded. I’ll be working my way through the Keynotes again over the next few weeks, and we’ll be sharing more blog content on the latest Salesforce trends and announcements.

This year focussed on integrating ‘Einstein’ Artificial Intelligence more deeply into each product, to automate more processes and push business correlations and analytics. Queue multiple appearances from Salesforce’s caricature of Einstein. There was also a strong focus on the personalisation of the platform, from myEinstein, myTrailhead, myIOT, myLightning to mySalesforce.

In marketing, there was the shift from B2B and B2C to B2I, Business to Individual. Clearly the team is focussed on using big data and AI to maximise on the opportunity to tailor their offerings and help customers speak to people on a more personal basis.

There were also the key partner tie-ups, with an announcement of a deeper partnership with Google being the highlight.

Between rock concerts (Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys), APAC parties, partner parties, and a trip to an NBA match, it was a massively full on week, but hugely beneficial to show what an exciting and innovative space ProQuest is working, and we can be confident that we are helping our customers adopt a system that will leave them with a competitive advantage for years to come.

The Lenny Kravitz concert at Dreamforce

Salesforce has already announced the date for next year, September 25th. I’d strongly recommend it.

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