The Salesforce.com Dreamforce convention is winding so we thought we would share our thoughts on what we observed and heard over the past week.
As always, the convention offered a lot of fanfare and excitement mixed with tons of useful knowledge from the over 800 sessions. For the most part we are convinced that the Social Enterprise is gaining a significant amount of traction, and more and more companies are looking for ways to move their legacy systems from on-premise to the cloud. Salesforce.com continues to invest significantly in developing their Platform and being the industry leader with Cloud systems.
The Chatter Platform
In the main keynote session with Marc Benniof the new functionality of Chatter appeared to be downplayed a bit. He casually mentioned Chatterbox (file sharing) and Communities but didn’t seem to elaborate anymore — then we attended the Chatter Keynote. The speaker reviewed the new functionality in depth and used case studies from Gap and Honeywell to demonstrate the value add from the Chatter Platform (which seems like a new concept).
After the keynote and after some conversations with our clients we think that the move to continue to expand Salesforce.com Chatter functionality is going to be huge for enterprises who view their Salesforce.com Org as a strategic investment. The changes that are coming within Chatter will mimic how users do their day-to-day job, and moving between popular social systems (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) outside of work to systems inside of work will be simpler.
We also had clients who liked the idea of using the Chatter API to integrate with legacy systems and begin using Chatter to collaborate on information from back office systems.
It was nice to finally hear that Touch is coming Monday (we think). As a free tool for companies Salesforce.com is opening up the Mobile solution and inviting more users. Also, having custom configurations come into the mobile solution without customization will add more value for current Salesforce.com customers.
We are curious where Salesforce.com will continue to take this. We have quite a few clients who use custom visualforce pages for lengthy forms or custom-built search functionality — will Salesforce.com move towards enabling these custom pages to be rendered in HTML5 without customizations to the Touch Platform?
The Case Studies
We loved the Salesforce.com case studies. For anyone who was attending Salesforce.com for the first time, or for anyone who is thinking that Salesforce.com is just a CRM system they were quickly shown otherwise. Toyota, Coca-Cola, GAP, Honeywell and others demonstrated how Salesforce.com could be leveraged to develop complex systems that went well beyond the realms of what CRM was even 4 years ago. Being able to connect quickly (and without code) to partners and customers outside of the stereotypical opportunities, accounts and contacts will be the future of Salesforce.com.
We were excited going into Dreamforce having worked with Alfresco to develop an integration between the two systems that would be available on the AppExchange. We got a lot of great feedback from attendees in the Expo center and even more ideas how to add even more value with the integration. All-in-all….the feedback validated what we have always known….there is a need for content management outside of Salesforce.com and customers are looking for ways to expose the managed content in Salesforce.com. Alfresco is definitely the perfect solution.
In Conclusion…. We think that Salesforce.com will continue to expand, and we are looking forward to working with our current clients (and future clients) to find ways to drive additional value throughout their organizations with the platform.