Dreamforce is always a whirlwind of different experiences related to Salesforce. Every year they manage to absolutely out do themselves in terms of content and the amazing ways they deliver that content.
This year was no different. There were so many amazing announcements and “Ohana” (family) moments, but I will try to condense it into the top three that inspired me (along with some outlier things I really loved).
1. Einstein and Accompanying Apps
Einstein was definitely the star of the show (and for good reason!). The promising aspects of AI and Machine Learning driven processes when it comes to Sales, Service, Marketing and Analytics is outstanding. In the case of Analytics, our sister company Hilo Studios (www.hilostudios.com) played an incredibly integral part in the Einstein coming out party. The power of using Predictive Intelligence tools combined with powerful Analytics tools makes the notion of Predictive Analytics something that is achievable at this very moment. It’s an exciting time for us data geeks!
2. Salesforce DX
I have personally been a developer on the Salesforce platform since 2007. I remember the advent of Visualforce and the demise of S-Controls like it was yesterday. What I saw around Salesforce DX made me feel like I did when I saw the game Doom with dynamic lightning and amazing rendering for its time. It was revolutionary for PCs at that time. While the tools of DX have been around forever, it truly is revolutionary for the Salesforce Platform. Scratch orgs, pipelines, new CLI, new packaging, CI friendly!
I can honestly say like so many of us that the real dream of having CI and Git driven development on the platform was a difficult one for many years. Especially for ISVs. Manual diffs and merges, lack of disposable testing environment targets, and very manual release management. And most of all: no versioning. DX nearly brought tears to my eyes seeing it.
I know we will need to wait a few months but I am EXCITED! I am so excited I can’t wait to register for the TrailheaDX Developer Conference coming up to celebrate and really get hands on with all the fun and awesome stuff Salesforce DX will be coming out with. I can say for many of my fellow Salesforce developers we are hopeful that when it comes out we will have the “pre DX” era and “post DX” era of Salesforce development.
3. Bots, Natural Language and AI
One of my own big missions this Dreamforce was to discover new methods of bringing value to our customers using Salesforce. That goes thinking beyond the way traditional users engage with Salesforce. For many years the primary forms of interface were keyboard and mouse with tab based solutions. With the advent of smartphones, it’s all about touch and scroll with feed based solutions.
The next method of interface seems to be around automated bots, AI and natural language with headless solutions. All you need to do is look at technologies like Amazon’s Alexa and its Skills API for natural language. It’s an extraordinary tool as a means of engaging in many interface and API based services with no single interface. The interface is your voice and their headless service. With natural language you get the means of interface. With bots you get the means of engagement.
Bots can respond to commands and provide to you the information you require. They can reside within many apps using APIs like Slack, Salesforce, Amazons Alexa, etc. However, Bots are a very “If this- then that” (IFTTT) solution when it comes to natural language. The combination of Natural Language, Bots, and AI with the existing API services will be a great thing to see in the future.
Winter '17 and beyond stuff...
Communities Lightning Bolt
It was great to see Communities Lightning Bolt coming out in Winter ’17. Lightning Bolt gives the ability for partners such as Wave6 to develop pre-built industry and use case specific communities’ templates that allow for the same robust customization you see within lighting driven communities today. Kudos to the Communities team for developing the Bolt templates and taking Communities to the next level!
My Salesforce1 is going to be amazing! Any Enterprise Organization that prefers its own branded apps but wants to use the power of Salesforce1 and Lightning to drive it can now do it in an incredibly easy way. This looks to be many releases out (according to the App Cloud product folks), but it will be incredibly exciting to see.
I’m just going to say AMAZING! YES PLEASE on this one.
Some of the other amazing experiences this year for me personally was presenting on our award winning App Cloud Solution for Kelly Services, winning a pair of Heroku headphones and meeting Astro (at the same time)! It was an outstanding event and like every year, I went away knowing more than ever.
As Parker Harris (Salesforce Co-founder) said, “When we build innovation, we do not do it alone, we build it with our Ohana (family).” Dreamforce16 was more than just your everyday technology conference, it was a reunion (that included well over 170,000 of your closest trailblazers).
Check out our Dreamforce 2016 album on Facebook (be sure to tag yourself)!