Salesforce users across the globe descended upon San Francisco last week for Dreamforce 2017, the annual conference hosted by Salesforce. Dreamforce is a four-day conference chock-full of panels, amazing performances, celebrity speeches, hands-on learning, and an annual keynote from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
With speeches from Michelle Obama and Natalie Portman and performances from Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz, this year was nothing short of amazing. Beyond all the pomp and circumstance, this year’s Dreamforce was a look into the future of data and business intelligence (BI). While Salesforce is not the only software around to make good use of business intelligence in its program, it certainly ranks among the best. Benioff has proven himself to be a savvy business leader who is usually ahead of business and tech trends. So, what happens at Dreamforce is usually a sign of the future.
We boiled down four days of Dreamforce talks, announcements, and experiences into four main themes that are representative of the future of business intelligence.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
One key theme of the entire conference comes from Marc Benioff’s keynote. In it, he discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). In the history of civil society, we’ve undergone major shifts that have altered the way we live and work as humans. In the First Industrial Revolution, we used steam to power production, eliminating the need for animals to produce the same work. In the Second Industrial Revolution, we used electricity to make mass production possible. In the Third Industrial Revolution, we used computing to automate processes. Now, we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where we are using technology to blur the lines between digital, physical, and biological.
The Customer Experience
The customer experience was a major theme at Dreamforce. It’s nothing new, especially for Salesforce, which is all about customer experience. However, it will continue to be a focus as more and more consumers demand personalized experiences. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will use artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to continue to transform the customer experience.
Two great stats directly from Marc’s Keynote:
- 70% of B2B buyers want personalized experiences. Today’s customers expect the same caliber of connected experience no matter what service or product they’re purchasing.
- 89% of B2B buyers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. But businesses are not meeting customer demands to deliver the seamless, connected experiences customers want in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Companies are not making the right recommendations at the right times, losing out to competitors who can.
Salesforce has rolled out a slew of new features that are all about better customer experiences – for their users and their users’ customers.
myTrailhead is one example. Salesforce has taken Trailhead, its module-based learning platform, and given companies the ability to customize the learning experience for employees. myTrailhead gives you the ability to load your own branding, content, and learning goals into Trailhead for a custom, gamified learning experience specific to your company.
myLightning is another example. This new Salesforce Lightning feature allows users to completely personalize Salesforce for every user. You can customize everything from apps to themes with your own branding and content.
Speaking of Lightning, it was a big focus at Dreamforce. Salesforce is really pushing people to move over to Lightning. If you haven’t done that yet, you might want to strategize how to make it happen. The new Lightning experience has a ton of new bells and whistles that you’re missing out on by sticking to Classic.
AI has been the buzzword of 2017. Unfortunately for most businesses, harnessing the power of AI seems unattainable. You may remember when Salesforce announced its artificial intelligence platform, Einstein. Einstein is a layer of AI imbedded within the Salesforce platform to automate data models. Well, they just opened it up to users! myEinstein is a powerful feature that gives Salesforce users the ability to build their own AI powered apps using “clicks, not code.”
AI is the future of business intelligence. It’s going to help us become smarter sales people, smarter marketers, and smarter business analysts.
The Internet of Things has potential beyond smart home devices. Companies like Domino’s and Uber are building apps that work with connected devices in innovative ways to drive customer engagement and increase sales. IoT can do more than connect devices to each other. It can connect you to your customers in a different way. Think about all the usage data that comes from connected devices. What if you could import that data into your CRM to create better experiences for your customers? You can.
This is just another area where Salesforce shines. At Dreamforce, they unleashed myIoT, a user interface that allows you to build rules-based automation for any connected device. Adding the data from device usage to your store of customer data will give you new insights into behavior and preferences, giving you the ability to deliver the right service at the right moment.
In 2018, we’re no longer talking about getting BI. We’re talking about how we can harness AI, IoT, and data to work smarter and deliver better customer experiences. It’s time to adapt and trailblaze.
In case you missed it, you can watch the keynote here.
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