Dreamforce never disappoints! There is something energising and strangely comforting about keeping company with 170,000 like-minded individuals. It’s a high-energy, fast paced event and the scale is completely mind-boggling. FOMO sufferers will have a rough time of it – four days is not nearly enough to even scratch the surface!

With so much on offer, every Salesforce Trailblazer will undoubtedly have a unique experience, as we all filter and interpret the sensory onslaught in different ways. Remember those sci-fi novels we read as kids? The ones where the hero has long intelligent conversations with a machine? Well, that time has come. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and boy, we are in for an interesting ride! Below is a personal view and take-home from what can best be described as four days of utterly delicious madness.

 

The future is… NOW! Just about every major platform vendor has been investing in AI and Salesforce is no different. Saleforce’s Einstein is elevating the platform to a whole new level of usability and with the new Einstein Voice it only promises more! Capgemini’s prediction is that by 2021, 40% of consumers will use voice technology over apps and the web. Voice is being touted as the new enterprise UI.

Sound too good to be true?

  • Have a look at what will.i.am has been up to with Omega Management Platform. Something that resonated with me personally is his opinion on AI: Instead of humans learning to speak like robots, the machines should learn to speak like humans. Fancy ordering groceries or booking a restaurant by simply having a conversation? Omega’s onto it! Using Salesforce’s Bot framework, Omega is providing a conversational, contextual, crossdomainable (yes, he invented the word) and proactive AI. And if you think that sounds a bit pie-in-the-sky, you’d be wrong – Omega is already in use as a customer chatbot at Deutsche Telecom where it is augmenting customer service capabilities through human-like conversational experiences. will.i.am also proceeded to (against good advice) do a live demo at Dreamforce 18 and you can watch the session, warts and all, here: Retailing In The Age Of Voice + AI.
  • If you are still sceptical, then look at how Marriott International has transformed their guest services using IoT and AI. You can now find connected devices (like Alexa) in hotel rooms, allowing guests to do a myriad of things simply by asking. Want to book a spa appointment? Need housekeeping or room service? Don’t know the pool hours? Simply ask. Your head may be spinning but there’s still more… Connecting with flight schedules to track guest arrivals, Marriott associates are alerted to travel delays and Einstein comes to the rescue, using Next Best Action to offer up a sweetener based on the guest’s personal preferences.

But Omega and Einstein are just two companies of many that have embraced the power of AI to elevate and differentiate their businesses. In this new world, everything is connected; connected devices, connected experiences, connected clouds.

Putting the customer at the centre of every experience and delivering differentiated customer service requires the connection of systems, applications and data and means that companies can no longer ignore the importance of having a sound integration strategy and a robust integration platform to support their innovation. To quote Bill Briggs (CTO of Deloitte), “Your organization won’t be able to compete the way it needs to without having integration as a core discipline”. Forget about staying ahead of the digital transformation wave, you need an integration strategy simply to remain relevant.

Most Salesforce customers are currently dealing with the headache of connecting to legacy and on-premise apps. This makes Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Mulesoft’s Anypoint platform even more strategic in cementing the future success of the world-leading SaaS business and by extension, the success of its customers.

If the massive Mulesoft presence everywhere at Dreamforce wasn’t enough to drive home the focus on integration, a quick whip-around the customer success expo certainly will. Within the Salesforce ecosystem a number of vendors provide integration offerings across different levels of complexity, from simple file based-integration solutions to more strategic enterprise offerings. Some even promise declarative capabilities!

It can be very intimidating if integration and technology aren’t core competencies of your business. If you’re not sure where to start and need help defining an integration strategy or choosing an integration platform, it’s advisable to speak to an experienced systems integrator, like Adept Group (I know, I might come across a bit biased here, but integration is in the Adept DNA).

After spending a big chunk of time at the customer success expo, I realised that in this new world where everything is connected, connection is everything. It is by leveraging the collective experiences, ideas and innovations of partners, ISVs and customers that individual success is guaranteed. It is this shared knowledge that informs, inspires and transforms customer experiences, business, and careers!

As I mentioned, the journey through Dreamforce is a personal one and this year was made even more memorable through celebrating some achievements of the Adept Ohana. This spirit of Ohana is intrinsic to the Salesforce brand, embedded in the Salesforce community and nowhere more palpable than at Dreamforce!

Watching Kylie de Vries from Foodstuffs here in NZ share insights from the first B2B Commerce implementation in Australasia, filled me with immense pride. It was an exceptional project to be part of and a career highlight for me personally. The spirit of Ohana prevailed during this project, not only through the close collaboration of all parties and the exceptional business outcome achieved in a highly complex environment, but also through the diversity and equality of the project team. Lead almost exclusively by women, the first truly cross-functional Agile project team in Foodstuffs was comprised of 24 people from 10 different nationalities. Power in diversity!

At Adept, fun is one of our core values. We love to celebrate our success and you should too! Our very own Paul Foley created the Celebrate Success lightning component which made its debut on the international stage at the 5 Game Changing Lightning Components on AppExchange session too. Join in the celebration by installing it from the AppExchange!

 

As you can tell, I loved my time at Dreamforce this year and encourage all Salesforce users to consider joining in the fun next year – you won’t be disappointed!