To start off the new year, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Salesforce Analyst Summit 2017 in San Francisco. You can check out the full coverage at the hashtag #SalesforceAR but I’ll do my best to provide a good recap!
Unbeknownst to me, Salesforce has an entire Analyst Relations team that puts on their Analyst conference every year. Think the folks from Gartner, Forrester, etc. that analyze all types of software out there to compare them. This is their chance to hear about Salesforce directly from Salesforce!
The first day was relatively short as most of the analysts were just arriving in town but it started off with a tremendous summary by Polly Sumner, Salesforce’s Chief Adoption Officer. She started off strong with some summaries of what she’s seeing from customers out there and what direction Salesforce is going to meet those customer needs. She had several great points such as “The person that responds to me the fastest has the highest chance of winning my business” and that companies are now asking themselves the question “What is our strategy so we don’t get Uber’d“. While many people, myself included, are doing our best to make predictions for 2017, Polly had a great summary with the overall Salesforce direction for the coming years.
Among the things that Salesforce is focusing on for the coming year shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone:
- Intelligence – in the form of Salesforce Einstein
- Speed – in the form of the Salesforce Lightning Platform
- Productivity – in the form of Quip
- Mobility – in the form of Salesforce1
- Connectivity – in the form of IoT Cloud on the Thunder platform
Polly also pointed out that while Salesforce has primarily focused on B2B (business to business) in the past, they are going to be taking a larger focus on B2C (business to consumer). She also raised the notion that all the products that the clouds focus on won’t be separate, but rather there will be customer specific specialists. “We’re in a world where people are going to cross over very quickly, the tools will enable them. You’ll have to become one of these modern companies or you may not be a company soon.” This notion of connecting all the products would become a common theme that I was happy to hear!
It wouldn’t be a Salesforce conference without a focus on Diversity and Equality. Salesforce invited none other than Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet to speak about his story and his mission. “How great to be a company to write these words and actually mean them… A corporation can be a platform for good in society. What is the magic of Salesforce? This is a big part of it.” – Tony Prophet
Tony also shared some Salesforce transparency statistics and answered some questions from the crowd. He also shared that he believes that while Salesforce is nowhere near the finish line, they have made progress in diversity.
Some highlights from the Tony Prophet Q&A:
Q1: How far Salesforce will to go in their equality stand in terms of investors and customers given the current political climate and not having everyone agree with you?
A1: “Over the arc of time, nothing bad can come from standing for good…These have been our values from the beginning of the company and they aren’t going to change based on politics” – Tony Prophet
Q2: Do you have any target numbers you’re looking to get to in terms of diversity?
A2: “We’re not done and there isn’t really a goal of setting a finish line but rather continual progress” – Tony Prophet
Einstein, Internet Of Things, and Commerce
The full day of coverage started off with 3 key components, starting with an overview of Salesforce Einstein by Einstein GM, John Ball. At a high level, they’re creating a bunch of different models for each customer and determine the most optimized one for that specific customer!
John also shared some of the current and future Einstein features coming down the road! I’m definitely excited to start getting my hands on some of these things and to see them in action. As Salesforce continues to develop this technology, I’m excited by its potential.
Next up was EVP and GM of IoT Cloud, Woodson Martin, to talk about what’s coming from Salesforce regarding the Internet of Things. The biggest take I got out of it was the tagline “Know your device. Know your customer. Connect the two”.
Since the devices don’t have the right context to make the right decisions for the customer experience, IoT Cloud seeks to bridge the gap between devices and customers. They also showed off a pretty sweet demo!
Salesforce then brought up CEO of Commerce Cloud (formerly DemandWare) Jeffrey Barnett and SVP of Product and Engineering Rohit Goyal. The biggest highlight for me was learning what Commerce Cloud really is and does!
It shocked me how many customers are already using it and their observation that in today’s environment, 1/4 of all transactions are touching multiple devices before completing.
To put it into perspective, Twitter averages a little over 300M users per month. John and Rohit also shared that they plan to add more opportunities to integrate Commerce Cloud with all the other clouds (continuing that theme of uniting the platform) as well as make more APIs public and leverage the existing Salesforce Developer community! I talked to Jeffrey and he said at this time there are no free Developer editions but hopefully that will change in the future.
A couple other topics that were discussed that weren’t of as much interest to me (but may be to you) were the focus on the different industries Salesforce is taking, the renaming of ISVs to AIPs (Application Innovation Partners), the notion that Salesforce is expecting a 10X increase in consultant demand by 2020, and the Salesforce Ignite program, that allows Salesforce to differentiate the customer experience by focusing on the human factor in addition to the business and technical sides that others solely focus on.
The final part of the day was dedicated to sharing info on the 6 key clouds, providing both an overview with some of the product leaders as well as drill down on the specific clouds. Here are my highlights on each one but you can check out more slide details on the #SalesforceAR hashtag!
Adam Blitzer – EVP and GM Sales and Service Cloud (@AdamBlitzer)
- Taking what used to be manual and rules based and making it intelligence based
- Sales Cloud Roadmap: Focusing on Lead to Cash, Intelligence, Inside Sales, and Productivity
- Service Cloud Roadmap: Intelligence, Lightning, Conversation, Field Service
- Q: What’s your hardest challenge?
- A: A lot of directions we can go in. Hardest challenge is probably making the right bets. AI is the biggest opportunity we have, and business software in general has. Releasing AI is going to be a v1. It’ll be interesting when you put it in the hands of users to see if it meets expectations.
Matt Tippets – VP Marketing Cloud
- Marketers will become the most responsible for managing customer journeys
- Marketing Cloud Roadmap: AdTech and MarTech, Intelligence, B2C Transformation, Cross-Cloud Journeys
Ketan Karkhanis – SVP and GM Analytics Cloud (@karkhanis)
- “No human being can analyze all the data out there. We can’t even ask all the questions”
- “Analytics needs to be actionable and shape behaviors”
Mike Micucci – SVP and GM Community Cloud (@mikemicucci)
- How do we extend the core of CRM and connect to customers and partners?
- Community Cloud Roadmap: Personalized Experiences, Answers Einstein, 1:1 Engagement, Productivity
Adam Seligman – EVP and GM App Cloud (@adamse)
- “Want to deliver a unified customer platform”
- “Want Salesforce to be an incredibly friendly platform for programmers”
- 1.6M Trailhead badges earned
- App Cloud Roadmap: Lightning, Meta-tenancy, Data & Events, Developer Experience
One of my biggest takeaways was from the App Cloud drill-down. They talked about SalesforceDX and how they’re focusing on Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for Developers right now, but the goal will be to developer an #AwesomeAdmin experience as well! It will be using Git and have the ability to rollback behind the scenes without having to expose the command line. I’m very excited for this to become a reality!
The day was concluded by talking with some of the Salesforce partners and talking about how much the Partner ecosystem has grown!
Last but certainly not least, the day was concluded with a fireside chat with none other than Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris. He took some Q&A that I unfortunately had to leave early for to make a work meeting but I got some good insight from him before I left!
“We do have these clouds but Engineering is one unit for us. We’re well positioned to get the people to work together. My job is to get the people to work together and execute the architecture across all of the business units” – Parker Harris
“It’s not just the products we’re creating but the culture that we have” – Parker on how Salesforce is so successful in recruiting in the competitive Silicon Valley
He also came back to the theme of unifying all the clouds to create one end-to-end experience. This is something that really excites me and reinforces the notion that Salesforce can be a complete customer platform rather than just specific products. Parker is confident that this will help sustain Salesforce’s growth as they hope to reach the coveted $10B mark in fiscal 2018 (Feb ’17-Jan ’18)!