With Dreamforce 2014 winding down, what have we learned this year? For one, there are very few obstacles remaining to living in a world where every key element of business can be conducted in the cloud with the flexibility and scalability to meet any business challenge or reach any business goal.
It took SaaS a long time to reach the point where it was considered secure and powerful enough for enterprise needs. But once that milestone was reached, the space has matured with breathtaking rapidity. Think of what can be done on the Salesforce platform today. Everything on the sell side: CRM, Quote-to-Cash, marketing automation, social collaboration, ERP, financials, and powerful analytics that can drive actionable intelligence from the incredible data that is derived across all these critical processes. All with full mobile access – anytime, anywhere. Add services and even buy-side procurement management to the mix and we reaching the point of “what’s left?”
While the general public sees our most recent technology boom through the prism of consumer-driven tech such as smartphones, cool apps, social and Google Glass; the reality is that the heart of the boom is driven by the business cloud. If anything, the last two Dreamforce events have shown how the Internet of Things, and especially The Internet of Customers, has become the de facto method for conducting business and growing revenue. There is no turning back.
So what is next? Perhaps something big we are not really thinking about yet. When Salesforce rolled out Chatter, there was skepticism in some quarters around the utility of a platform-specific enterprise social app. But try imaging Salesforce without it now. The Salesforce and Microsoft partnership will be an interesting one to watch as well as traditional installed software and the cloud start to shake hands more firmly. Apttus X-Author is already pushing that envelop by allowing customers to use some of their favorite standalone Office tools such as Excel inside Salesforce.
Until next September then. And here’s to hoping that Salesforce and its partner ecosystem will find ways to delight and surprise once again. I am more than confident we are all up to the challenge.