Dreamforce 2018

Every time I attend Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce global gathering in San Francisco, I leave feeling moved and stirred about the future of technology and the people who use it every day.

Each year we go to Dreamforce to learn about Salesforce’s roadmap, meet their product teams and connect with our attending clients. It is a great way of taking the industry’s pulse, enabling us to help our clients make sense of it all.

This year, two topics rose to the top (both on stage and  around the multiple venues): Multicloud Integration and AI.

Salesforce is investing heavily in making their many clouds work seamlessly together. On that front, the biggest news was the announcement of Salesforce Customer 360, which unifies the customer profile across clouds and external systems in a single repository and is meant to be accessible to non-technical users. The other remarkable development  was to see how quickly the recent acquisition of Muelsoft has permeated the message and product features of each of the Salesforce clouds.

This year, Einstein had an enormous footprint at the conference with its own dedicated venue. Each day a different AI scenario was highlighted in addition to dozens of client-led sessions that showcased Einstein at play. To top it off, Salesforce announced their Einstein Voice Assistance right before the conference, which was talked about and shown off extensively.

Despite having a background in AI myself, what impressed me the most about the Einstein showcase was not the algorithms and data manipulation tools, but rather a very low-tech tool they had available for attendees to play around with. Within the Einstein venue there were a bunch of tables outfitted with paper worksheets and sharpies for customers to identify AI needs in their organizations. This stickies-and-sharpie approach was incredibly popular with customers who were energized by the simplicity of the approach to bringing Einstein into their organizations.

I honestly believe this human-centric approach is what sets Salesforce apart in the market. Their products, as high-tech they may be, succeed because they enable business users to do things on their own. To make mistakes and fix them on their own. It is a product set for a digital-native generation of business teams that expect technology to be invisible and not something to grapple with. That vision that anyone should be able to scribble a business problem on a worksheet and then just open Salesforce and implement it on their own –that democratization of business enterprise technology — is the reason why Salesforce is successful. You can literally feel that difference at Dreamforce through the energy of the crowd. It is by far the most diverse, young and energetic business software conference you can attend.

This left me wondering about the role companies like Isobar have to play in that vision. When our technology partners improve their products (so much so that our clients can do in a few clicks what took us months to implement just a few years ago) some may feel uneasy. We do not. Spending less time in nuts-and-bolts problems like data ingestion and implementing AI algorithms frees us to focus on the digital craft of building the best customer experience for our joint clients. A customer experience that is natively digital but also powered by those people in the back of the venue playing around with stickies-and-sharpies. A digital- human-experience.