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Dreamforce 2015 conference coverage

At the Dreamforce 2015 conference, Salesforce drove home the importance of a personalized customer experience, actionable data and business user-friendly applications.


At the Dreamforce 2015 conference, cloud-based CRM provider Salesforce built on its key innovations from last year, with improvements to its development platform, Lightning, and its analytics offering, Wave. With its upgrades, Salesforce has continued to focus on personalizing customer experiences, making data actionable and democratizing the application experience for business users.

Salesforce built on these upgrades with enhancements to existing offerings, such as the Sales and Service Clouds, as well as with new service offerings at the Dreamforce 2015 conference. Announced at the show was Salesforce's foray into the Internet of Things -- the IoT Cloud -- which enables companies to take the massive streams of data coming from products, ingest that data into the Salesforce platform and generate actions based on the data in real time. Wind turbines could adjust their behavior based on weather or delayed passengers with airline connections could be rebooked while they are still in flight. The IoT Cloud is powered by Thunder, a sister development platform to Lightning, under the hood.

The IoT Cloud also reflects Salesforce's further entrenchment in its ecosystem. Microsoft, for example, is using the cloud to capture data on Office 365 usage, Microsoft's productivity and collaboration platform. Salesforce in turn is tapping into Microsoft's Azure for scalability given the massive volumes of data, then sending the data to Salesforce applications.

Users responded to the offerings at the Dreamforce show with piqued interest -- and some caution. Users are generally enthused by the enhancements to Lightning, which they said has made Salesforce applications' UI far more user-friendly.

The Health Cloud, which Salesforce announced on the eve of Dreamforce, targets the healthcare industry and aims to bring siloed patient data together to improve patient relationships. However, the Health Cloud is ambitious in scope, promising to stitch together data from legacy healthcare systems. But this kind of data integration has been a bugbear even in industries in which CRM systems are well-entrenched, such as retail, so healthcare may pose an even steeper challenge.

Wave, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, still needs to establish its street cred among a wider base of users. While some companies welcome its business-friendly data visualization features and speed of implementation, many others are still heavily invested in other analytics tools and need to figure out where Wave fits in to their plans.

Finally, the IoT Cloud presents opportunities to corral and digest massive volumes of product and customer data, but it's a major undertaking that will take infrastructure and other adjustments for many companies.

Ultimately, Salesforce's moves at Dreamforce 2015 signal that the cloud-based CRM provider is moving well beyond its roots, though CRM remains at the core. Time will tell whether this expansion bolsters its foundation or extends CRM too far afield.

For more Dreamforce conference news and trends, check out our roundup below.


CRM topics

Dreamforce is a time for Salesforce customers to share ideas of how to solve their business problems with technology. But best practices on how to fix CRM issues are more than just talk; they need to be applied in the real world to show their value. Companies struggle with such problems as connecting customer data silos, improving sales performance, getting more efficient with their processes and searching for ways to engage their customer bases.


Data silos continue to be obstacles to omnichannel

Companies struggle to link digital sources of data to serve customers more effectively. Continue Reading


Project management tool improves one company's ECM services

Lexmark International Inc. uses software to handle its business process management needs, which weren't being met by using Excel and email. Continue Reading


Best practices for large-scale Salesforce deployments

Salesforce customers in large, older organizations say the cloud has made some problems of the past -- such as on-premises nightmares -- disappear. Continue Reading


Overcoming data quality issues to help sales

Salespeople can't cultivate a customer base if their data isn't accurate. Learn how one organization dealt with those challenges. Continue Reading


Location-based technology bring privacy worries

Companies that look to exploit the potential of beacons and other location-based technologies must address data security and customer privacy concerns first. Continue Reading


SAP, Salesforce come together to enhance customer experience

Learn how one company integrated its SAP ERP system with a Salesforce CRM system to get more consistent data to its sales reps. Continue Reading


Pushing for start-to-finish digitalization of processes

Digital transaction management aims to make businesses more efficient by going paperless and getting more efficient, automated, accurate and secure with their documents. Continue Reading


Dreamforce coverage

The Dreamforce 2015 conference was marked by Salesforce's commitment to tackling new industries with offerings including the IoT and Health Clouds but also by customer re-evaluation of older services. A year after their releases at Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce's Analytics Cloud, known as Wave, and its application-development platform, Lightning, still face adoption challenges among users. The conference also signaled the start of a deeper relationship between Salesforce and Microsoft, which could open doors for the IoT Cloud.


Data quality yielding results from Wave

It can be challenging to get analytics applications such as Wave tuned and ready to return insight that can change business behavior. Continue Reading


Salesforce upgrades Lightning platform

Lightning Experience and Lightning Design System aim to streamline processes for users and make life easier for developers to build components. Continue Reading


Salesforce Community Cloud's Buy button boosts e-commerce options

Companies using Community Cloud can now embed Buy or Add to Cart buttons to a community page to facilitate sales. Continue Reading


Why is Salesforce Analytics Cloud adoption lagging?

The Salesforce Analytics Cloud, or Wave, has encountered some company successes, but also more tepid response than expected. What's holding it back? Continue Reading


Despite Wave upgrade, users still unsure

There are continuing questions of where Salesforce Wave fits into enterprises' broader plans for analytics applications. Continue Reading


Learning curves, cost hinder Lightning, Wave adoption

A year after they were released, users are still questioning whether Salesforce Lightning and Wave are worth the investment -- both in money and time to get acclimated to the new platforms. Continue Reading


Checking in on Salesforce Lightning

Lightning aims to democratize app creation for the masses. But are companies using the platform to speed operations and gain insight? Continue Reading


Salesforce ventures into health IT with Health Cloud

Salesforce's move into healthcare CRM is a logical step, say experts, but one that is also fraught with interoperability and integration challenges. Continue Reading


Salesforce bakes Lightning capability into Service Cloud

Service Cloud Lightning Console is designed to provide businesses with more personalized customer service actions. Continue Reading


Does Salesforce IQ finally give SMBs a viable CRM alternative?

Salesforce introduced a more robust version of Group Edition, catering to SMBs that want to dabble in business intelligence as well as core CRM functionality. Continue Reading


Users in wait-and-see mode on Wave

Upon its initial release, Salesforce Wave's cost and ease-of-use worries had users and industry watchers concerned. Continue Reading


Salesforce-Microsoft partnership could open doors for IoT Cloud

Integration of Salesforce Lightning with Microsoft's Office 365 signals a new era of interoperability for the two rivals as both aggressively move into the Internet of Things space. Continue Reading


Success of IoT Cloud may turn on partner ecosystem

Salesforce is tapping key partners to pilot the new IoT Cloud and the results of the trials will mean a lot to the platform's success. Continue Reading


Microsoft, Salesforce signal new era of entente

A new relationship between the two companies could mean more interoperability and an open ecosystem, preventing vendor lock-in. Continue Reading


Benioff trumpets tech's greater social mission

With the help of celebrities such as Stevie Wonder and companies like Uber and Western Union, the Salesforce CEO emphasized giving back at Dreamforce. Continue Reading


Salesforce adds Thunder to Lightning platform

Thunder, Salesforce's new real-time event processing engine, was released at Dreamforce and aims to help users personalize the way they sell. Continue Reading


Reactions and discussions

From the Internet of Things (IoT) to data analytics and creating their own applications, Salesforce customers had a lot to talk about at the Dreamforce 2015 conference. Salesforce's new IoT Cloud was a hot topic at the show as users explored whether the platform, which aims to connect billions of data points from many different Web-connected devices, made sense for their businesses. One year after their release at last year's conference, Wave, or the Analytics Cloud, and the app-creation platform Lightning got upgrades in advance of this year's show and were met with some mixed reactions. Companies also shared their stories of how overcoming data challenges and moving to the cloud helped streamline their business processes.


Salesforce unveils IoT Cloud

A Salesforce executive outlines what to expect in the IoT Cloud, including how it connects data from devices, how businesses can modify it and what the future could hold for the platform.


Salesforce pushes IoT despite lagging adoption

A consultant talks about Salesforce's foray into the Internet of Things but warns that IoT's hype is exceeding its adoption.


Beware of IoT data governance challenges

Excitement is building over the Internet of Things, but companies need to think about how they will handle a massive influx of data before they commit to a strategy.


The IoT Cloud and building to a customer-centric strategy

Before companies worry about the cost of venturing into an Internet of Things strategy, they need to tackle the issue of how it will help them provide better customer service.


How Wave, Lightning affect Sales Cloud

Salesforce aims to provide users with a single platform to run their businesses. How do Wave and Lightning play into that ideal?


UI enhancements boost Wave's appeal

Salesforce's Analytics Cloud is poised to democratize analytics with a more streamlined feel, says one Salesforce partner.


Taking stock of Wave's present, future

Salesforce plans for Wave to be more interconnected with the rest of its products, starting with the Sales and Service Clouds.


Are Lightning improvements enough for business users?

Despite involving a learning curve and needing development work, a Salesforce admin says the app-creation platform, Lightning, makes CRM more user-friendly.


Salesforce trying to cater to startups

Salesforce wants to help startup companies navigate technological challenges and provide them with resources to solve their CRM issues.


Central CRM platform leads to sales productivity

For salespeople to work efficiently, they need a user-friendly, connected platform that puts CRM processes into action, says a Salesforce partner.


Tailored customer experiences crucial for Quizzle

Credit report website Quizzle uses the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to map the customer journey with customer data and context.


Financial data in the cloud a no-brainer

It's not a question of whether financial data should move to the cloud but about getting the most out of that data.


Personalizing customer journey key for airline

By using the Sales and Service Clouds, monthly fee-based airline Surf Air aims to track prospects, hone in on their preferences and upsell them to grow the business.

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