Approximately 140,000 people descended upon San Francisco for Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce.com's annual user conference. The city teemed with Salesforce users attending more than 1,400 sessions and tweeting on topics ranging from the conference's new technology offerings to celebrity speakers and the future of cloud-based CRM.
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The conference featured keynote addresses featuring politicians Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, author Tony Robbins, and musicians will.i.am and Neil Young. Breakout sessions were spread across two miles and focused on pain points and possible successes that customers might encounter in using Salesforce1.
Salesforce unveiled Wave, its business-unit-friendly, mobile Analytics Cloud offering, as well as Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1, which are apps designed for mobile sales, and for better, more community-based customer service, respectively. Salesforce1 Lightning enables nonprogrammers and developers to build applications for mobile devices without needing the heavy lifting of coding.
Dreamforce attendees voiced approval and concern about all things Salesforce. There were 111,916 tweets using the hashtag #DF14 throughout the conference, according to TheConnectedCause.com, from 25,316 unique sources. The highest number of tweets per hour hovered between 15,000 and 20,000 during some of the main keynotes. The @Dreamforce handle received the most mentions, with keynote speakers' Benioff and Clinton receiving many tweets during their speeches.
Some tweets questioned whether Salesforce's new technologies would be worth the investment, while others expressed interest in the new building blocks of the Salesforce platform.
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Fiza Ahmed, a consultant, wished for tighter integration between Wave and the Salesforce platform she's used to.
Mark Smith, CEO at research and advisory services firm Ventana Research, was impressed with Wave's ability to sync between mobile devices. Wave uses data visualization that aims to make information digestible for line-of-business executives, who often aren't data experts.
Daan van der Wiele, an analyst at a Dutch telecom, expressed immediate interest in using Wave at his company.
Forrester Research analyst Nigel Fenwick said business executives should take note of the Marketing Cloud's features such as charting the customer lifecycle and mobility options.
Users checked out demos for Lightning and some liked what they saw.
Users were interested in developing their own apps. Since the average salesperson or data specialist may not know how to code, Lightning's drag-and-drop capability is appealing. The ability to switch from a mobile environment to a desktop was a key feature for some, including Richard Donkin, CTO of CloudFind.
Attendees also shared their musings on the future of Salesforce and on items on their wish lists. Signals that tensions were dissipating between Salesforce and Microsoft as well as future prospects for integration with new technologies and Salesforce's social business app, Chatter, were also highlighted.
Matt Soleyn, a project manager at a healthcare technology company, referenced Salesforce's future integration with Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging website that is similar to a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter. This signals growing international presence for Salesforce. It may also raise questions about the openness of data once the offering launches.
Kacy Capobres, director of social media for Verizon Wireless retailer TCC, referenced TCC CEO Scott Moorehead's endorsement of Chatter as the company's go-to communication platform. Chatter is Salesforce's enterprise social networking software which mimics Facebook and makes it easy to record conversation, attach and edit relevant files, and link the conversation to relevant customer accounts
For more on the Salesforce conference, check out our DF14 guide here. Share or retweet this story at #DF14.
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