We had the opportunity to attend Salesforce’s Dreamforce event – held at the usual location, Moscone Center in San Francisco, from November 5th till 9th 2017. As usual, it was mega event, distributed across downtown, with Salesforce claiming 170k+ attendees. Salesforce shared some interesting ecosystem statistics, for instance it will generate / power 850B+ US$ in business in the next 10 years and have a net positive employment effect of 3.3M+ FTEs. Impressive statistics.

Here is my short video blog on Dreamforce - take a look (if the video does not show up - check my Youtube channel here):


And here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):

Want to read on? Here you go:

Salesforce discovers personalization, puts a ‘my’ in front of offerings – The main product innovation of the keynote was Salesforce discovering personalization. Salesforce is making sure that Einstein becomes personal, that IoT gets a personal touch, that Lightning fits and most importantly that learning – via Trailhead (see later) becomes personal. Certainly, a good – but also overdue move.
All the mascots are here -  Holger Mueller Constellation Research
All the mascots are here

Partnership with Google – That one sounded familiar – and yes in 2008 a partnership of Salesforce and Google was announced (see here). Fast forward to 2017 and both are at the same – better integration of and more products – Salesforce now has Quip and Lightning, Google Talk is gone – and we have Google Hangouts (and more) on the Google side. New is the Google Anlytics partnership allowing sales and marketing professionals to come one step closer to marketing effectiveness and lead qualification information.
But the key announcement is Salesforce choosing Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as its preferred cloud platform for international expansion. That comes on the heels of a Salesforce and AWS partnership (my take here, spring 2016) and Salesforce just announcing it is live on AWS in Australia (see here, from October 17th 2017). Not sure if Australia is not international, but at the end of the day a large SaaS vendor like Salesforce needs IaaS options, the surprise is that that GCP comes in so soon and close to AWS reInvent – certainly a coup by Google. [Salesforce has clarified in factual correction that there are two preferred public cloud for international extension - AWS and GCP.] Unfortunately, both vendors were pretty closed up to share specifics and e.g. an announcement of Salesforce using more of Google in the form of Kubernetes and AI / Tensorflow – did not happen. But only what hasn’t happened can still happen… 

Salesforce and Google Partnership -  Holger Mueller Constellation Research
Salesforce and Google Partnership

New developer tooling – Closer to developers, Salesforce announced some key tooling, like the platform support of dynamic pages, a keynote topic. Equally, given the novelty of the new Salesforce TrailheaDX offering (see my June 2017 event report here) – Salesforce announced new capabilities in developer tooling, automated flows for DevOps. Good to see the traction here.

Salesforce myTrailhead - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
Salesforce myTrailhead

myTrailhead – All enterprise software vendors need a way to get their users qualified in their software. And it’s 2017 and this cannot be achieved with traditional class room style learning and courses. It must be a new learning system, with easy content consumption (mobile), self curated (at the learner’s pace and time) and self created (for new content offerings). All Learning systems are getting there, so Salesforce saw the opportunity to package the overall learning system as myTrailhead. Compatible with the Trailblazer them, MyTrailhead, allows to create content with TrailMaker, target learner / employee profiles with Trailhead Profile, create learning paths with Trail Mixer (it creates trail mixes, really) and TrailTracker which provides – no surprise – gamification for learning experiences. Enterprises can brand their offering, create their own content and tie into their existing LMS. Salesforce is very explicitly stating that myTrailhead is not – and does not replace the LMS that enterprises have. The product will come out in the first half of 2018 – for now it’s in preview with Salesforce content. A good move by Salesforce, Learning matters and is going through a fundamental platform and best practices change that SaaS / Enterprises vendors need to reflect in their offerings.


A good Dreamforce for Salesforce and its ecosystem. Customers, partners are energized and ready to take their Salesforce investments to the next level. The absence of any major announcements on the product side did not spoil the party, customers have plenty to noodle on adoption wise. And with Salesforce going into extraordinary depth with very few highlight customers in the demo (Adidas was the most prominent one) there is more detail to absorb than at other user conferences. The myTrailhead product is interesting and key for Salesforce – education will help the vendor to get more product into enterprises, using the admins as the trojan horse. A good strategy.

On the concern side, Salesforce remains slow at innovating, but that is understandable, given the vendors efforts to move its platform from inhouse / Oracle to public cloud (AWS, Google) and more opensource. [Salesforce points out that Oracle remains a partner and that Salesforce works with all its partners to deliver the best for its clients.] Not an exciting message for a general user conference, but the move will change Salesforce more than many other potential product announcements. Salesforce must go through this re-platform successfully, to remain competitive from a infrastructure perspective and also to power and create a modern platform around BigData and Machine Learning.
 [Salesforce points out that it is not re-platforming, but offering customers choice. I agree on choice but still think they are re-platforming.] Both are moved are prohibitively expensive on the current inhouse platforms. [Salesforce wants to point out that the Winter '18 release has over 300 product innovation and 36 ideas. I'd still hold against that is a sliver of what Salesforce could produce if focussed 100% on functionality. I can of course be wrong here.] That Salesforce can do this in a calm and controlled way is good news for the ecosystem and at the same time a sign that its key CRM competitors (Microsoft, Oracle and SAP) are moving (even) slower on their CRM capabilities. That may not remain the same, anybody long enough in enterprise software will remember what happened to Siebel Systems. And will also remember that putting a ‘my’ in front of the products – as well intended as a strategy – has not been proven to be a long term success (remember mySAP?).

But overall a good Dreamforce for Salesforce, that is moving its platform and taking its foot off the gas pedal in regards of major new functionality. Customers and the ecosystem don’t seem to mind, so all is green for Salesforce at the moment. Longer term Salesforce needs to pick up innovation speed. Wished it was 2019 or 2020 already?

Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here). And please checkout the blogs of my colleagues at Constellati
on Research 
  • Alan Lepofsky - with a detailed look at Quip - here
  • Alan Mulholland - with a look at IoT - read here
  • Cindy Zhou - with a look at the Sales and Marketing news - read here
  • Doug Henschen - on a next step for Einstein - here

And more on Salesforce:
  • Event Report - Salesforce TrailheaDX - AI, Events and more - read here
  • Progress Report - Salesforce has a platform vision - 2017 it has to get real - read here
  • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - It's not about Einstein - but the platform - read here
  • News Analysis - Salesforce selects AWS as preferred Public Cloud Infrastructure Provider - Good move - read here
  • Event Report - Salesforce Connections - Bringing together Builders and Studios for Marketing Success - read here
  • Event Scorecard - Salesforce Dreamforce 2015 - App, Analytics, IoT... - pre event thoughts assessment - read here
  • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - Value for customers - but some concerns on direction - read here
  • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
  • News Analysis - Salesforce Unveils Breakthrough Salesforce IoT Cloud, Powered by Salesforce Thunder - First dips into IoT - read here
  • News Analysis - Salesforce Unveils the Next Wave of Salesforce Analytics Cloud—Delivering Actionable Insights Across the Customer Success Platform - Glass half full - and half empty! Read / watch here
  • Event Preview - What I would like Salesforce to address this Dreamforce 2015 - read / watch here
  • News Analysis - Salesforce Announces Salesforce App Cloud - A Unified Platform for Building Connected  Apps, Fast - It’s all coming together, across the clouds - read here
  • News Analysis - alesforce Delivers Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder […] - More productivity for Admins and Developers - read here
  • News Analysis - News Analysis - Salesforce Launches Salesforce Shield - More PaaS capabilities coming to Salesforce1 Platform - read here
  • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - Read here
  • News Analysis - Market Move - Salesforce (re) enters HCM - will it rypple the market this time? - Read here
  • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - A Customer Succes Platform, Analytics and Lightning - but really Salesforce is re-platforming - read here
  • Constellation Research Summary of Salesforce Dreamforce 2014 - read here
  • Research Summary - An in depth look at Salesforce1 - Better packaging or new offerng? Read here.
  • Dreamforce 2013 Platform Takeaways - All about the mobile platform - or more? Read here
  • Platform ecosystems are hard - Salesforce grows it - FinancialForce shrinks it - read here.
  • Our take on Salesforce.com Identity Connect - from three angles - Identity, CRM and PaaS - read here.
  • Takeaways from the Salesforce and Workday Strategic Partnership - read here.
  • Act II - The Cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
  • How many Pivots make a Pirouette? Salesforce's last Pivot - read here.
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.