Dreamforce 2012 Summarized in Four Words: Social, CMO, Marketing, HR
By Jim Lundy
Salesforce held it’s tenth Dreamforce (#DF12) event last week in San Francisco and we were there. There were a number of product announcements that took place there and we will be analyzing them (Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, Collaboration) in several Aragon Research First Cuts. This blog post is about the event and what we saw. The bottomline is that we saw a lot and Dreamforce has become the event in High Tech that firms need to match.
Dreamforce – the Event
The opening day of Dreamforce, particularly Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote, is one not to miss. Even though there were a few repeats from last year’s keynote (mainly Burberry), this year Salesforce signaled that it is going to start to compete for a larger slice of the technology spend in enterprises with its Marketing Cloud and Work.com announcements.
The Cloud Expo at Dreamforce was bigger than last year and more crowded. In fact, Salesforce probably needs to expand its usage of Moscone, as there just isn’t enough room to walk around comfortably in the Moscone West anymore. There certainly lots of comparisons being made to Oracle Open World, which I think packs more people into its keynotes, but has a less crowded show floor (which means fewer free passes are given out at Oracle Open World, as compared to Dreamforce).
Dreamforce – Focus on the CMO
The gauntlet that Salesforce threw down at Dreamforce 2012 is that the C-Suite matters in Technology selling, at least that is the story they showed. Numerous CEOs and CMOs were there, as well as a few CIOs. Clearly though, with the CMO of General Electric, Beth Comstock, being in Marc Benioff’s keynote video and her boss Jeff Immelt being there live later in the week, the message being delivered is that technology decisions are not just the perview of the CIO anymore. Salesforce was using the focus on the CMO to raise the spectra that CMOs might spend more on technology than CIOs do. That said, we need to separate the vision of Dreamforce 2012 from the reality of what it was. Salesforce is launching its Marketing Cloud Suite and it needed to make a splash. It certainly got GE to do a fair amount of promotion for them.
Salesforce is in GE and is clearly very active – there was a lot of hype around its Chatter Communities, which is in Beta at GE Capital. GE also a heavy user of other technologies too, such as Oracle, SAP and Cisco. In fact, Webex Social (formerly Cisco Quad) is one of the key Social Networks being used internally at GE, something Dayan Anandappa, a CIO at GE, recently talked about at the E2.0 conference. Of course, as every technology matures, it will become common to have more than one. We expect large enterprises to have multiple social networks, so GE will be more of the norm than the exception.
Dreamforce – the Marketing Cloud
Salesforce kicked off its new push into Marketing, with the combination of its Buddy Media and Radian Six acquisitions. Social Marketing is all the rage these days and this raises the spectre of how long Marketing Automation firms such as Marketo and Eloqua will remain independent. Salesforce’s move into Marketing mirrors moves and Suites offered by Adobe, Google (bought Wildfire), IBM, Oracle and others.
Work.com – Focus on the Head of HR
At Dreamforce 2012, Salesforce announced Work.com, its new push into Social Performance Reviews. We are writing a First Cut on Work.com, but suffice to say that it will be an easy add-on for existing CRM users. The challenge is that many other HCM/Talent vendors offer a full Talent and/or HCM Suite for a little bit more than what Salesforce is charging for Work.com. One thing is clear: the product, which includes full performance reviews, looks solid and it integrates well with Chatter.
Dreamforce: An Enterprise Ecosystem
The partner solutions, the apps that can be added into the Salesforce stack, are numerous and growing. Every vendor in Enterprise software needs to watch what is going on with Salesforce’s AppExchange, which is powered by force.com. Salesforce keeps making it easier to port apps into app exchange, such as their improved support for Java. They are also making it much easier to make mobile apps that can access core apps such as CRM. It is interesting that many firms are now willing to talk about what they are doing with Salesforce and how they are leveraging apps from AppExchange to help them get things moving faster.
Dreamforce: Social Everywhere
One thing that was clear is that with Salesforce, the focus was on Businesses going Social. Many enterprises are jumping on the Social bandwagon, with Salesforce Chatter or with other Social products. Saleforce made a number of announcements about Salesforce Chatter, particularly around Chatter Communities and ChatterBox, both of which are in beta or preview and won’t ship until mid or late 2013 (more on this in separate Aragon Research First Cuts).
It’s a Wrap for Dreamforce 2012
It was a great week at Dreamforce and there were lots of excellent conversations. Many of the people I talked with were on the business side of things, less on the IT side. This represents a shift we see Salesforce helping to promote and lead along with other firms, such as Apple. Salesforce made some big moves at Dreamforce and we expect that it will still take time for it to capitalize on its new push into Marketing and HR.
That said, it was Steve Jobs who single handedly upped the game on Events and Event quality and the CEO as Chief Spokesperson. That baton has now been passed to Marc Benioff. Dreamforce is the event to beat in Silicon Valley and Marc’s keynote is the one to watch.
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