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Dreamforce 2021 Onsite Report – Welcome to the Trusted Enterprise

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Before I get into my thoughts about Dreamforce, I want to pause for a minute.  I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to attend Dreamforce.  I’m struggling to reconcile the hope and joy that we got to experience at the event knowing that we are still in a world ravaged by COVID and so many families and businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.  But it is with these feelings that I’ll try to focus on themes that bring not only hope but innovation to our world and offer the prospect of a brighter future for everyone.  

First, my impression of the COVID safety protocols was far above and beyond any other event I’ve attended since the pandemic started.  We were required to have two negative PCR pre-screens, and submit two additional daily tests during the event.  While the testing regimen was itself impressive, the technology behind the scenes was mind-blowing.  You guessed it, Salesforce was powering the system.  Salesforce was seamlessly integrated with a COVID testing partner, Color.  The event details, deadlines, and test results were seamlessly communicated and shared between the testing provider and the Dreamforce team.  We received a daily update including a unique QR code indicating our clearance to attend the event.  Upon reaching Dreamforce, we had an ID check, badge check, and QR scan.  As a tech nerd, I am excited the tech worked with all the hidden complexity.  As an attendee, I felt incredibly safe and able to be at ease in some close quarters with other attendees.

The main theme permeating Dreamforce this year was “Welcome to the Trusted Enterprise”.  My initial thought was this was going to focus on security and privacy but I was wrong.  Salesforce is doing its best to address larger societal challenges and align its technology to help with more than just security and privacy.  A few components to this:

  • Sure, secureness and privacy have been a big focus.  Everything from Salesforce Shield to Hyperforce are giving companies more control over the data and better infrastructure to remain compliant and able to protect critical information.  Salesforce is getting into the backup, recovery, and devops space with some on-platform features which will greatly enhance capability.
  • Trust crisis in business.  Between security breaches, bad customer experiences and concerns about social issues, trust between customers and companies is at an all time low.
  • We only get one Earth and Salesforce is working hard to do their part to lead businesses to take care of our planet.  Notably, they are now “Carbon Negative” i.e. they purchase more carbon offsets than they produce.  And they’re leading a consortium of businesses to plant one TRILLION trees, which will sequester carbon make habitat and improve the health of the ecosystem.
  • Salesforce continues to be outspoken in many social issues and standing up for human rights.  They are also continuing their commitment to philanthropy with the 1/1/1/ program (1% of time, product, revenue donated to charity).  

I love that Salesforce is really trying to “make the world a better place” and using their platform and company position to affect positive change far beyond just the tech space.

The 2nd big theme that was everywhere was Slack. Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack has been pretty big news.  My take on it is that Slack is going to open options on how to leverage Salesforce technology and collaborate with team members and customers.  I’m a huge fan of having more options and Slack is another medium that can be used to amplify the core business automation that Salesforce is running behind the scenes.  My other observation about Slack is that when well implemented, PEOPLE LOVE IT!  Gaining adoption in Slack is often much easier than backoffice Salesforce.  I’m really looking forward to how we can make Slack work in some of our complex and custom use cases that we currently support with our customers.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one up-and-coming big deal.  It was shared that both Workflow rules and Process builder will be end of life’d in the future.  No specific timeline was shared, but much like MFA, these long ramps to a big change like this can get pretty stressful if they aren’t handled well in advance.  With WF and PB being such a core part of the platform for so long, many businesses using these features will need to start looking at how to reduce reliance on these features and move automation to Flow or other methods.

Thinking about how Red Argyle fits into all of this, my major takeaways…

  • We’ve been beating the drum for security, privacy, and compliance for the past two years and our efforts there will continue.  If you need an independent, 3rd party look at your system configuration and risks, we’re happy to have a conversation.
  • Collaboration is going to keep changing due to how people are working now.  I think Slack presents a huge opportunity to improve things.  We have been using Slack at Red Argyle for 5 years and it’s been a game changer for us, even before COVID.  During our office shutdowns (which we’re still very hybrid and remote friendly) it’s been an instrumental tool in fostering collaboration and innovation with our team.
  • On Platform Backup and Devops are exciting to me.  I feel backup has been an underserved portion of Salesforce with 3rd parties doing a good job filling the gap, but it’s hard for many customers to make the jump from data export to the enterprise options available today.  With this on platform option, there are now more ways for Salesforce users to backup their data safely and reliably.
  • We’re part of a movement trying to make the world a better place.  I know it is a funny silicon valley joke, but I think it’s true.  Salesforce inspired Red Argyle to adopt the 1/1/1 program 10 years ago and that’s been hugely impactful for our local communities.  We continue to advocate for equality and the environment.  Salesforce is leading the way and I’m looking forward to following in their footsteps.

Happy to talk if you’re interested in any of these themes and how Red Argyle could help your company become a Trusted Enterprise to your customers!  Cheers!

– Garry

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Marc Benioff delivering his keynote address, “Welcome to the Trusted Enterprise”

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