Salesforce.com aims to bring Dreamforce atmosphere to London

Sketch It was a throwaway comment made by Dr Steve Garnett, Salesforce EMEA president at the Salesforce1 World Tour London press briefing on Thursday, but it was a resonant one. Last week’s event felt like Dreamforce five or six years ago, he explained.

It was meant to signify both the atmosphere of the event as well as the growth of Salesforce.com in the UK – and the keynote went crash, bang, wallop into this.

“We’re seeing record crowds, everywhere we go, around the world, because people are hungry to learn about the future,” George Hu [above], Salesforce COO, explained. 10,000 registered attendees can‘t be wrong, and this future was the new Salesforce1 mobile app, enabling anyone to run their business purely on their mobile device.

“Just imagine how instantly more productive you were if every one of your salespeople had that in their hands,” noted Fergus Griffin, SVP solutions and product marketing, in the product demo.

If the physical demonstrations were brand new, the message was still the same: it's all about the internet of customers

As with any keynote, there was a little bit of competitor mocking, and this came in the demo. “Here’s a legacy ERP system I haven’t seen in a while,” Griffin said, the screen fixated on SAP.

The demo went without a hitch – however, if the physical demonstrations were brand new, the message was very similar to the one we’d heard when Salesforce1 was originally unleashed. It’s all about the internet of customers.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff introduced the concept at the last Dreamforce. Behind every device, these billions of connected devices, there’s a customer. It’s important to go beyond the device itself.

“It’s all about people, at the end of the day,” Hu told delegates. “When we think beyond the era of things, and understand that behind every single one of these things is a customer relationship, then we have the springboard to start thinking about how to transform business.”

Cloud, social, mobile, cloud, social, mobile – no wonder Hu described cloud-first as “the new mantra in today’s world.”

Speakers, customers, came and went. Of particular note was Alzheimer’s Society CIO Ray Cross, for whom public speaking in front of thousands wasn’t terra firma, but gamely made it through, as well as FinancialForce CEO Jeremy Roche.

Some of the content was a little too mid-Atlantic flavoured, and asking a UK audience to whoop and cheer of their own accord rarely ends well

Not everything hit the right note; some of the content was a little too mid-Atlantic flavoured, and asking a UK audience to whoop and cheer of their own accord rarely ends well regardless of how big the announcement is. Yet the overall consensus was of satisfied customers and delegates, with the biggest round of applause greeting the news that the Heron Tower was to be renamed the Salesforce Tower.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a race,” Hu explained. “It’s a race to get to this new world.”

It sounds like a film trailer tag line, but it’s a serious business plan. Whoever taps into this connected ecosystem first will have a key advantage – and it’s customer demand that will force it either way.

A couple of references were made to Hu’s new smartwatch – which naturally, is equipped with Salesforce1’s app. Gyms need to become au fait with connected fitness devices, he argued – and if his local gym doesn’t, the one down the road will figure it out and he’ll take his custom there.

Either way, it beats Marc Benioff’s connected toothbrush.

Read more on CloudTech’s coverage of the Salesforce1 World Tour, including product announcements, here.

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