Salesforce Dreamforce concludes today, before it all started I collected my thoughts on what I wanted Salesforce to address before Dreamforce.


Here is what my thoughts were before Dreamforce (see for blog here and video here):

If you don''t have a chance to watch - some key thoughts in good old writing:
  • Will the message change from 'Customer Success Platform'?
  • Salesforce announced the Salesforce App Cloud, time to dig a little deeper.
  • Let's see what is next for Lightning - and a follow up on Shield, all announced in the last 12 months.
  • Along the same line let's see what is going on in "Analytics" with Wave - is more real time coming? Will it become 'true' analytics - read more here.  
  • A chance to checkin the ecosystem - always good to check the pulse on the showfloor.
  • Salesforce has been very successful but its core architecture is getting 15+ years old - is it now time to re-platform (my guess) and it is time to share that?


So how did Salesforce do? 

  • The messaging stayed around 'Customer Success Platform' - a good move. I have been critical of Salesforce changing / pivoting the messaging too fast - yearly - so it's good to see it remained the same. Software needs time to catch up - so glad to see the same uber messages. 
  • The Salesforce App Cloud turned out to be the major announcement of the conference. Customers and partners are excited about the new capabilities. Developers cheered when they saw the drop down deploy capabilties across AWS locations for their Heroku apps. And Trailhead is a well received, massive developer know how effort. Effectively App Cloud is the first cross cloud PaaS platform. 
  • Lightning is becoming a confusing branding name for all kind of products - but they key is the new Lightning experience - finally a new UI for Salesforce. Starting mostly with Sales Cloud in the Winter release. The question is of course - why peacemeal this in a declarative UI architecture? Why not turn it all on? Kudos for the option of customers to operate both old and new UI at the same time. 
  • Analytics Cloud has made good progress, mostly has become material beyond the announcement stage from last year. Salesforce is upgrading its reporting with better visualization, and with a price tag. But vendors should be allowed to charge for innovation. Concerns remain on the default daily update, which is a good starting point but cannot be the end state for enterprises in the faster and faster moving speed of business in the 21st century.
  • The ecosystem is alive and well. We spike with a number of ISVs and they are both successful building on the Salesforce platforms their apps from scratch, as well as uptaking Salesforce innovations like Analytics Cloud and IoT Cloud.
  • Aging Architecture - Salesforce has componentized (part of last year Salesforce1 efforts) and now a new UI with Lightning Experience. In a Q&A Salesforce founder Harris stressed that Salesforce is re-factoring all the time, but that cannot mislead that the core of the automation runs on a now 16+ year old conceptual architecture sitting on top of the Oracle database. Hardly where you want to be today, hardly 'cloud native'. And let's keep in mind, by now this architecture is older than the ERP architectures at the time Salesforce positioned those as obsolete 15 years back (e.g. R/3 was 10 years old in 2001, e-Business Suite 4 years old). On the flipside it is a very, very successful architecture that has powered Salesforce to become the #1 SaaS vendor. But age creeps up on humans and software...  an area customers need to pay attention to and from our conversations are increasingly. 

    Is IoT Cloud the first 'false' cloud of Salesforce?

    IoT Cloud was a major new capability for Saleforce. By itself it is an amazing engineering feat - listening and understanding IoT events, create profiles and trigger rules - all the way into the transactional apps. And it's the first public reference of Salesforce using open source - with Kafka, Storm and Spark. But in contrast to the other clouds it is not a 'true' (or the same cloud): The Sales Cloud lets me run Sales, the Service Cloud Service, Apps Cloud build and run Apps - the IoT Cloud does not allow enterprises to run IoT Apps. It's a connection cloud to the Salesforce Apps and platforms. So a 'lesser' cloud. When I asked Salesforce co-founder Harris and product chief Dayon, they pointed to product naming challenges - fair enough. But it is confusing for enterprises and Salesforce is positioning a little more here than what it is - and its a different type of Salesforce Cloud. 
    That said IoT Cloud generates a lot of value for customers, allowing them to see IoT events, and action on them in their familiar applications,. Salesforce needs to be careful though not to see IoT too much from an apps vendor perspective - but also from a things perspective. The things perspective, moving code to the data, automating as much as possible in software (not through humans) are key design guidelines and use case for the next generation Apps scenario of IoT. 


    Overall a good Dreamforce for Salesforce and its customers, much more happening than in 2014 where it was all about Salesforce 1 and Wave. Good progress creating more value for customers, but as mentioned above, some longer term concerns. 
    From an event perspective, a massive party for partners and the ecosystem. But the event may soon get to big, with 20+ keynotes. Talks with customers showed they are overwhelmed and can't get to the information they need and want easily. And partners are concerned on getting their message across in a mega event like this. For years it was always 'bigger is better' for Salesforce regarding Dreamforce - but events have an optimal size, and Salesforce should not forget Dreamforce is a user conference that needs to create value for customers. I am sure they have a look for it and I am not sure if going to 200.000 attendees is the answer. 
    Check out my overall event video here:

    More about Salesforce:
    • 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 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 - 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.