Cloudforce Dallas 2012

It’s been a few years since the Salesforce circus had made a stop in Dallas, but now they are back. In 2010, almost two years to the day, the message was around Service Cloud 2: "The Next Generation of Customer Service." On that day the wake-up message was that your customers want information on their terms – they "Google" questions looking for answers and don’t want to call your 800 number (Salesforce was highlighting their Knowledge offering which can be indexed by search engines).  So what’s up for Dallas in 2012?

Well here we go!

The lights go dim and Metallica gets cranked up – maybe even a bit too loud (is that possible for heavy metal?).  Guitars scream and drums pound during the opening montage which ends around the "Salesforce + Like" tagline.

Up first is Area VP, Enterprise Sales, Patrick Blair who takes us through the opening presentation, and of course the infamous "Safe Harbor" statement. Patrick does a good job reiterating the social enterprise message that we’ve seen from Dreamforce. The need is there – your customers are social so why isn’t your company (i.e "the social divide")?

Then we get to see the Burberry video which has one of my favorite quotes from CEO Angela Ahrendts, if you’re not embracing the social enterprise "I don’t know what your business model is in five years" – what a powerful statement.

Glenn Holland – Principal Sales Engineer, and Timothy Slinger will be assisting with the product demos. Hey guys, does Dan Darcy know you’re after his day job?  Glenn shows the latest and greatest Chatter enhancements (Chat, Approval Processes, etc) in support of the Social Enterprise message.

Josh Lipton CTO of Advantix Solutions Group does a testimonial.

The Spotify video highlights Salesforce Rypple product – "Social Performance Management." I must have missed this video if it’s been out on YouTube. It does a good job of highlighting this HR / ongoing performance review product. Now we get a demo led by Glenn. The first thing you notice is that it doesn’t look like an HR application. It’s a feed with fun ways to provide feedback to employees in a  "public and human way." It definitely looks more fun, timely and relevant for performance coaching.

The keynote continues working it’s way around the Social Enterprise "horseshoe." Next company to highlight is Kimberly Clark, with a demo highlighting the Force.com platform and custom apps.

After that, another customer testimony. This time from Shane Mclaughlin with Centerpoint Energy. Shane does a good job explaining how his business was transformed with a partner portal, a public authenticated customer portal and Live Agent (Chat).

Rossignol is the next company presented with a video – a nice touch in that it highlights Salesforce.com’s global reach (the video is in French with subtitles).  All the footage is of extreme skiing (which keeps orthopedic surgeons busy I suspect). The practical demonstration is using the iPad by a Rossignol sales rep making a sales call to one of their resellers.

Another testimonial, this time from Jarrod Beck, President and CEO of United Texas Bank.

Activation is the company selected to highlight services. Their customers are gamers and very social – the least likely audience to call an 800# for support. I have to say Salesforce has gotten really good at making these company video montages. This one has great energy level. The demo after the video highlights a customer portal, knowledge base, and how you can use the service cloud to build a community.

Next customer testimonial is from Steve Jourdan with HHS (Hospital Housekeeping Systems). The nice take-away message here was that Salesforce, from a technology perspective, makes them competitive with much larger players. It’s something I love about Salesforce – the "democratization" of the platform. Small companies can be just as productive and competitive by using Salesforce as the large enterprise players. Everyone accesses the same platform from Salesforce. The key to success is how well you leverage it (which is where partners like us come into play).

The last company that is highlighted is HP.  127 billion in revenue, you can’t help but say internally "wow, that’s huge." After another super video this parleys into a demo of the Radian6 social monitoring product.  A nice example, "if the topic comes up about printers, what percent of the audience mentions HP, and is the sentiment positive?" For the folks that are talking about your company, how influential are they? What’s their social profile?

As the wrap up begins, Patrick reiterates the trusted platform that Salesforce.com is built upon and briefly talks about other products that didn’t get highlighted – Heroku and Data.com.

The Social Enterprise "horseshoe" slide is brought back up and Patrick talks about the necessity to get your company to this level.

Lastly, an invitation to get to Dreamforce in San Francisco – act now $799! And with that, the lights are raised and we exit the hall.

My closing thought is how prominent Chatter is being portrayed in the Salesforce user experience. One thing that I’ve noticed in all the demonstrations was that Chatter is in the forefront and the core CRM product is being portrayed in a supporting role.

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