When I head out to a conference, I try to keep an open mind and not get too absorbed in my own point of view. It’s the best way to be amazed and surprised. That’s not to say that there aren’t some expectations. Or maybe not so much expectations as hopes.
What I hope to hear at Dreamforce 2013 next week in San Francisco is actually pretty modest. Salesforce.com has been growing, improving, and acquiring at a hectic pace over the past few years. For that reason, I don’t expect to hear a blockbuster announcement. Instead here’s what I’m hoping for:
- Integration. Salesforce.com has acquired lots of companies and is slowly integrating them. The expansive vision for the company is hampered by slow integration, especially between Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud components. I especially want to see ExactTarget better integrated into Sales Cloud and Chatter.
- The new file sharing (formerly ChatterBox, now simply Files) in Chatter. Chatter’s file sharing was primitive and customer were more interested in using DropBox, Box, or even Sharepoint for sharing files. . If Chatter is to be the go-to for the whole company and not just sales and service, they needed file sharing with sync. Files was announced awhile back but I want to see it in action.
- A focused platform strategy.
Everything at Salesforce.com is a platform. So how does that help the customer instead of third party developers? Tell me why I care that Chatter or any part of the Salesforce.com universe is a platform.
- On that note, some kind of merging of Force.com and Heroku would be nice. I’m not expected that but it would make sense. I know, they are different platforms but there’s no reason for that other than to segregate developers of Salesfoce.com apps from general developers. Why can’t we all just get along?
- Evidence that the Workday and Oracle partnerships matter. I want to see them walk the walk here. How? Real demonstrations of integrated products with real customer testimonials about the value of these partnerships. Not projections or early stage explorations.
- Some reasonable explanation of the Do.com shutdown. Talk about the elephant in the room. Salesforce.com shuts down a major SMB software offering with no explanation? It’s not that Do.com was all that important in the grand scheme of things; it’s what it represents. Might they shutter Pardot? Decide that Service Cloud is not different enough to maintain as a separate solutions? Probably not but the silence around Do.com raises questions and allows the mind to imagine all types of scenarios.
So you see, I’m not looking for something new so much as the tying up of loose ends. Salesforce.com has so many moving parts right now; a little order would be satisfying. My guess is that there will be a lot of talk about mobile, about social everywhere, about lead generation (which is playing to the Salesforce.com audience), and maybe some “future of marketing” kind of talk. Likely there will be a bit of multi-channel marketing chatter (small pun intended). I expect the ExactTarget executives will be paraded around as the new kids on the block are want to be. What I don’t expect (but you never know) is another acquisition, major executive change, or other blockbuster bit of news. Salesforce.com has had a busy year. This is the Dreamforce where everyone gets to catch their breath.
Oh, and I expect to go see Blondie and Green Day at the gala. I mean, it’s Blondie! And Green Day. I’d best bring my leather jacket.