A few weeks ago, out in San Francisco, I attended a technology conference that had the zip and appeal of the Skoda Garda that my brother drove back in High School. Today I am back in San Francisco speaking at Dreamforce 2013 (and if you are at the event, it is Wednesday morning, 9:00am 0 10:00am at the Palace Hotel, Grand Ballroom – come join 850 of your cohorts to explore Customer Engagement and the Future of Customer Service http://bit.ly/HWROeV ). There are over 100,000 attendees, and whilst I don’t smell the wind through the trees at Woodstock ’69, there is a lot of the Yasgur’s farm vibe for the New Cloud age about the Moscone Convention Center.
Mad Money’ Jim Cramer interviewed Salesforce.com CEO, Marc Benioff, out in the courtyard (http://cnb.cx/17FBHJn ), and later Marc spent 15 minutes demonstrating the ServiceCloud, which is emerging as a $1 Billion revenue stream for the company. The themes of the new business are all here: Cloud computing, mobile applications, connected devices and connected people.
It is exciting for me, as my research has been on the engaged customer, employee, partner and products in what I have been calling a Customer Engagement Hub. It won’t all be about Cloud. My amazing colleague, Andy Kyte, points out persuasively that the five pillars of delivering capabilities remain:
- Buy and Configure
- Buy and Customize
This makes a CIO’s job ever more complicated. And they are here in abundance this week. Whereas in previous years the overwhelming mass of attendees were in Sales, and then five years ago began a shift to Customer Service, now the spectrum of Marketing, Sales, and Customer Support are here, along with the technologists – the latter providing the adult supervision. Why? Because though innovation flows from the bottom to the top, decision making and prioritization flow from the top down. Never has the role of CIO been more critical, and their attendance here this week is validation of that. For more, see my colleague Tina Nunno’s fantastic work on the CIO. (You can even downloaded her new book to your eReader http://amzn.to/I2FWJ3 !)
The world of CRM applications is searching for its common platform, and for businesses selling and marketing and servicing other companies, Salesforce.com is the leader – upwind and downwind. In the business-to-consumer world where operations are much more complicated, disbursed, and real time, solutions remain partial.
What is emerging is a picture of connected devices, especially mobile. Mobile becomes your social interface, the way you manage devices, a set of business services, and much more.
Devices themselves begin to require the same level of connection and orchestration, and software/hardware providers like ThingWork, Digi, Axeda, Jasper Wireless and FitBit are telling us about our health, the health of our businesses and equipment, and even manipulating objects to tune them for best use.
Gartner has been leading on Cloud, Social, the Connected Enterprise and Social, and it is great validation that the largest CRM event in history is exploring these themes.
If you are at Dreamforce, what do you think of this Customer Idea Bazaar?
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