Dreamforce 2010: Excitement, Kool-Aid, iPad


Share on LinkedIn

Burning Man was almost as much fun as Dreamforce

Dreamforce 2010: Almost as much fun as Burning Man, with less nudity

Dreamforce 2010 was a show of strength by Salesforce. The conference highlighted customers’ commitment to and enthusiasm over Salesforce products. Helpfully, the Salesforce message also appears to be simple enough that will.i.am could even describe it in a few sentences.

When it comes to technology conferences (including this year’s Oracle OpenWorld), I’m a veteran. But when it comes to recapping Dreamforce 2010, I must agree with Gartner’s Michael Maoz: “I’ve never seen that much energy at a conference or technology fair in my life.” Or as another commentator aptly described it: “Dreamforce can be likened to what a more sophisticated Burning Man might be.”

Heady words. But in our individual meetings at the show with more than 20 customers and prospects, more than one person said to me, “We’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, and we’re ready to move forward.”

With that energy in mind here’s my recap of the most interesting Dreamforce 2010 CRM developments:

Cloud Database: Big Announcement #1

Forget the rumors — Salesforce acquiring Netsuite, or HP trumpeting a decision to switch its 100,000 Siebel users to Salesforce. The two “major” Dreamforce announcements were relatively low key: 1) Salesforce announced a new “database in the cloud” (database.com), 2) Salesforce announced its acquisition of Heroku, a (previously unknown to me, at least) Ruby on Rails “platform as a service.”

But the upside of these moves, CRM-wise for our customers, remains murky. Both products provide new types of custom development capabilities, which may help organizations better address specific types situations, and offer better or faster-to-market solutions. But unlike Jigsaw, which is becoming “the data cloud,” the immediate link to CRM is missing.

Future Core CRM Enhancements

That said — and while it wasn’t highlighted in any of the keynote speeches — Salesforce continues to innovate and bring new ideas into the Sales and Service Clouds. As Sue Stevens, VP of Innoveer’s European SaaS Practice, told me: “You would think that sales functionality would be done to death over the years, but I was very impressed with some of the things they’re coming out with.” Indeed.

These enhancements — with the caveat that they’re not all out yet — include:

  • Mobilization: The core Sales and Service Clouds see significant increases in functionality. Currently, the mobile versions of these clouds are mere subsets. But soon, they will offer nearly full functionality.
  • Chatter: Workflow gets integrated into Chatter. Sales managers can approve quotes, prices, travel authorizations, and so on, through the ever more ubiquitous Chatter platform. Thus, we have yet another killer Chatter use case.
  • Twitter: Service Cloud 2 sees integration with Twitter — and other social media. This would seem to move toward our our goal of having a universal queue that gathers inbound “tweets” together with customers’ traditional calls and emails.
  • BI: Salesforce greatly bolsters its software’s reporting and analytics. Previously, this was a weak point for Salesforce versus products such as Oracle CRM On Demand.

Marketing: The Missing Salesforce Cloud

What didn’t Salesforce announce? Review Salesforce’s product line-up, and you’ll notice one cloud is still missing: marketing.

When Oracle announced its acquisition of Market2Lead, and flaunted it at OpenWorld (seamlessly integrated into Oracle CRM On Demand), I was sure that Salesforce would respond by adding a formal marketing solution to its own product line-up. Notably, Salesforce has key partnerships with Eloqua and Marketo, and both of these products plug seamlessly into Salesforce, providing rich marketing automation functionality. But at least so far, Salesforce hasn’t created a Marketing Cloud.

This oversight has led to many customers being a bit confused — and not just about Salesforce. For example, someone at the conference said to me, “With Oracle CRM On Demand, it’s all included, and with Salesforce, I still need to buy Eloqua.” While this is true, it’s also true that customers must license the marketing components of Oracle CRM On Demand separately as well.

iPad Ubiquity

When it comes to CRM, what’s left to say about the iPad?

Just this: Once again, every demonstration at Dreamforce seemed to make use of a “consumer” product from Apple. As we’ve said before, the future of field-based CRM looks like it will run on the iPad. (And if I keep writing about iPads in this way, how long before I actually get one?)

Separating Smoke From The Clouds

The big takeaway from Dreamforce 2010 is that Salesforce is expanding its cloud platform ambitions while also continuing to improve its products’ core CRM capabilities. Unlike its competitors, the majority of Salesforce’s business is focused on solving key issues for sales, marketing or service organizations — and this showed, throughout the conference.

This is good news for organizations that rely on CRM — as well as for those of us who spend our time thinking about how to better apply CRM — to solve such challenges as the need to improve lead management for marketing, create more effective sales management, and learning how to finesse case management, to increase first-call resolution in service environments. See you at Dreamforce 2011?

Learn More

Dreamforce delivered not just on the CRM functionality front, but also for cult of personality. Indeed, I heard more comments about Marc Benioff’s striped socks (reaction: largely positive) than Larry Ellison’s fixation on hardware (reaction: less positive).

Did you attend Dreamforce 2010? Any reactions?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


  1. Adam,

    Nice review of Dreamforce and I agree the Marketing Cloud is and was indeed missing at this year’s DF. I understand that SFDC needs to maintain a clear division of core functionality in the CRM from those provided by 3rd party vendors like Eloqua or Marketo in this instance.

    It is a disappointment that more robust marketing functionality is missing from the core system thus requiring licensing of a 3rd party MAS application. Most of the highly integrated marketing automation systems cost too much for SMB’s to consider which, is a problem and one I hope is addressed by SFDC in the near future.

    The other missing element is a robust suite data management of tools for administrators, The Data Loader is far from a terrific data management application, specifically for managing in-field updates, merge/purge/de-dupe etc. CRMfusion offers such tools but it would be nice for consultants like myself to not have to license CRMFusion for every new Org I work on.

    These two issues aside I thought Dreamforce 2010 was off the hook amazing.

    Jeff Lionz
    CRM/Lead Management Consultant

    [email protected]


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here