Yesterday I attended the Zuora Subscribed conference. The theme of the day was the “unstoppable”subscription economy. The company also announced a Subscription Manifesto. I’ll post a more detailed overview on the SnapLogic blog next week (we were a sponsor). Today I was driving back from meeting with a CIO at a company in the midst of transitioning from an old-world, hand-coded data integration approach to a modern, truly elastic cloud integration platform. Two songs came on the radio that really summarized my thoughts on the conference and shift that’s taking place in enterprise software. (Thank you 107.7 The Bone!)
The first was Unchained by Van Halen: “Change, ain’t nothin’ stays the same.”
Some of the words I heard over and over at the Zuora conference were:
Have you recovered from Dreamforce 2012? Next week I’ll be at Oracle Open World talking about cloud integration and to be honest, I’d much rather write about the Marc Benioff show than register for Larry’s World at this point. (Although, I do wonder if we’ll see the 2nd tweet from Mr. Ellison and what his position will be on all things cloud this year. Remember the @Benioff boot out last time around? Some classic tweets.
I guess like a lot of people you could say I’m stuck in the PDC (Post Dreamforce Cloud) at this point. I’ve been spending time in the Dreamforce Chatter org reviewing sessions, watching YouTube videos and reading a plethora of blogger opinion about the conference (see links below). Sound familiar?
To bring back some of the #DF12 energy, today I hosted a webinar focused on some of the Dreamforce data management highlights. The presentation congratulated the 2012 Informatica Cloudy Award winners and featured live demonstrations of two of the hottest topics at the Informatica booth:
Sit on the aisle in the general sessions – you may get in Marc @Benioff’s keynote!
Bring your own backpack so you don’t get your bag mixed up with 50K+ others.
Bring an extension cord with multiple outlets (and an appropriate adapter for your nation).
Plan an extra five minutes for walking. Better make that ten. Or fifteen.
If you’re driving in, carpool. You’ll have interesting things to talk about when stuck in traffic.
You can watch most of the keynotes on monitors throughout Moscone, in comfort and while discussing with colleagues.
Bring a couple of Granola bars (or your favorite alternative) for when you get stuck without a chance to get a meal.
Comfortable shoes. Loose-fitting and dark-colored pants (for sitting on floor). Layers.
Don’t try to follow #Dreamforce or #DF12 on Twitter. Your head might explode from the volume. Follow @mkrigsman and @rwang0 instead.
On the last point, I think Mark and Ray are great and do agree with following them (and a few others). That said, I think it’s worth checking in on the #DF12 feed periodically to get the pulse of what’s happening at the event and get real-time updates on keynotes and individual sessions.
I posted some resources on the Informatica Perspectives blog on what promises to be “the cloud computing event of the year” and have seen some great posts on the same topic since (see below). Salesforce has also been posting quite a few promotional videos. They’re clearly looking to set new attendance records for the conferences 10th anniversary.
You can read more about the Informatica Cloud awards here. Speaking of cloud integration, here is a presentation I had the pleasure of delivering twice at Dreamforce with three great Salesforce.com customers: PSA, Topcon and Qualcomm.
I recently outlined some of the things the Informatica Cloud team is working on in anticipation of the cloud computing event of the year – Dreamforce 2011. (See the post Getting Ready for Dreamforce on the Perspectives blog.) Well, yesterday I had a chance to catch up with my friend Tom Wong – aka Mr. Dreamforce himself. Tom’s got a lot going on right now as his new company Eventley gets going (“if you’ve been to Dreamforce and used the Attendee Portal, you’ve used Eventforce by Eventley”), but somehow he’s found the time to connect with eight other Salesforce enthusiasts to organize “The Road2DF,” which has already become a movement leading up to the conference. Here’s they’re describing the journey:
“9 of us are driving cross-country 3,000 miles in an RV on the Road to Dreamforce. From Chicago to San Francisco over 4 days, we’re going to chronicle our journey and hope to connect with 100s of attendees and believers both online and at meetups along the way. JOIN THE MOVEMENT.”
The event schedule appears to be growing by the day with official stops planned for Chicago, Iowa City, Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake, Las Vegas, LA, and of course San Francisco in time for Dreamforce. According to Tom, who has a history of getting very excited about Dreamforce, the ideas are flowing for lots of interesting activities and announcements along the way.
There’s already been a Haiku competition(the winner: Driving to the cloud | Nine chaps en route to Dreamforce | See you in San Fran)
I think we’re going to hear a lot about this trip before during and after Dreamforce. It’s a great idea with some really passionate people involved. Talking to Tom I had this vision of the scene in Slapshot where the local boosters follow the team from city to city. I believe there were a few moon shots along the way – something I think this crew is going to want to avoid. Then the movie Roadtrip popped into my head. God speed!
I was asked a simple question yesterday: “What do Salesforce customers care about?” I found that after a lot of rambling and some whiteboard scribbling that my answer was not so simple. I thought I’d try it out here…and maybe get some input from some of you.
First of all, some background. I first became a Salesforce user back in 2005, while in product marketing at Business Objects (now owned by SAP and no longer a customer I suspect). At that point, I was primarily interested in customer analysis, customer references and competitive intelligence (win / loss analysis and other sales reporting). In 2006 I joined Salesforce product management to work on developing an analytics product line. (This is when I discovered blogging – here are some early examples.) I spent a lot of time gathering input from customers about the types of dashboards and reports they’d like to see. (It’s nice to see that many of the requirements outlined here have now been delivered.) I also spent a lot of time with AppExchange analytics partners, before joining a SaaS BI start-up, where I became a CRM administrator for the first time. Since then I’ve spent most of my time thinking about leads, campaigns and opportunities, but I’m a huge fan of Salesforce Content and Chatter. I’ve also been involved in Eloqua and Marketo implementations along the way.
So, the point of the background is to say that I know what I care about as a Salesforce CRM customer, but as I started down the path of answering what was meant to be a simple question, I realized just how much salesforce.com has expanded over the past few years. Here are a few of the bullets I jotted down, recognizing that much of this will vary by organization size and industry.
They care about user adoption, dashboards, business process, taking advantage of the latest features, data quality…and integration.
As above, but they also are responsible for sales enablement, forecasting, funnel management, quotas, compensation, bookings, billings…and integration.
I like this blog, but generally, I find sales operations are interested in anything to do with metrics. (Here are a few of my old posts on this topic.)
Of course it depends on whether or not you work for a B2B or B2C organization and your role (demand gen, events, community, product marketing, corporate communications, etc.), but ultimately what marketing should be measured on is pipeline contribution: Leads that convert to opportunities that convert to closed business…that convert to happy customers…that convert to renewals, more business, etc.
There are lots of great AppExchange apps for marketers, but I do wonder when the Marketing Cloud will be delivered by Salesforce natively. The Lead and Campaign objects could use a refresh…
Customer Service and Support:
I’m no Service Cloud guru, but I do know the latest release was a big deal at the New York Cloudforce event in March and more and more organizations are moving to customer service and support in the cloud. Incorporating social media and gaining a single view of customer, products, etc. is also a key value proposition of cloud data integration and master data management (MDM).
Look to see significant enterprise IT attendance at Dreamforce 2011. Salesforce has done a great job of gaining trust from CIOs and all levels of IT over the past few years. Clearly this is also an audience that understands the importance of cloud integration.
Application and Platform Developers
Force.com anyone? I must admit that I’m losing track of all of the evolving platform as a service (PaaS) components. Heroku remains a separate website, and it looks like they’ve gone back to the X-Force branding of 2005 (Appforce, Siteforce, VMforce, etc.).
So how did I do? Clearly it’s not so easy to summarize what Salesforce customers care about as the on-demand applications and platform have evolved and expanded. One thing I do believe is consistent across all constituents is that all Salesforce customers care about data, which is why data integration, data quality and overall data management are always such hot topics.
To me, what has remained the same is how passionate Salesforce customers are about pushing the boundaries of cloud computing and getting the maximum value from their investment. Salesforce.com has done a fantastic job of creating communities of evangelists and an ecosystem of partners….and the annual extravaganza is just around the corner.
See you @ #DF11. Oh, and here’s a video of Marc Benioff talking about his vision a few years ago…
“Vendors that provide cloud integration tools and professional services, in particular, will be key acquisition targets because they represent a critical component in pulling the various cloud piece-parts together.”
Be sure to read Jeff’s full set of predictions (as well as cloud computing opportunities and challenges) here. He also published a good review of Dreamforce 2010 last week and had this to say about the industry at the conference: