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Dreamforce 2013, the Digital Industrial Industry’s Woodstock

by Michael Maoz  |  November 19, 2013  |  2 Comments

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 ). 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 CEO, Marc Benioff, out in the courtyard ( ), 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:

  • BPO
  • SaaS
  • Buy and Configure
  • Build
  • 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 !)

The world of CRM applications is searching for its common platform, and for businesses selling and marketing and servicing other companies, 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?

Category: analytics-for-social-crm  applications  business-intelligence  cio  cloud  crm  innovation-and-customer-experience  leadership  saas-and-cloud-computing  sales-force-automation  social-crm  social-networking  social-software  strategic-planning  twitter  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Dreamforce 2013, the Digital Industrial Industry’s Woodstock

  1. Joshua March says:

    It’s certainly an impressive show!

    However Salesforce seems to have confused messages.

    A key part of the cloud revolution is that, because you don’t have to worry about the technical support or hosting of enterprise SaaS applications, and APIs can allow relevant data and messages to flow between tools, there’s very little benefit in choosing an ‘all-in-one’ suite over best-of-breed applications.

    On the one hand, Salesforce recognizes and is promoting this–Salesforce1 is all about APIs and integration with relevant best of breed applications, and is a great step forward.

    But on the other hand, Salesforce are in some areas still trying to be the ‘all-in-one’ suite in lots of areas (e.g the marketing cloud that tries to do everything).

    So are Salesforce going to be an infrastructure platform and database that enterprise apps are built on top of, or are they going to be the enterprise suite that does everything and competes with the other vendors?

  2. Jurij says:

    Exactly you can’t call it just forum or conference it is really the Bazaar of customer ideas. Based on my personal experience I can state, that these few days at Dreamforce can not only impact your business but also change the way you do your business. Every day you meet people, you hear new ideas, you see new technologies, etc. All these make you rethink the way you do your business.

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