We heard from several Salesforce executives and a few vendors who pitched in to show Salesforce products in specific use cases, but we also checked in with Michael Lock, VP Google Enterprise, to hear his thoughts on the cloud.
Nobody Can Ignore the Cloud
Lock is a longtime Googler, and while he's surely biased about which cloud products are the best, his thoughts on the most important cloud trends a good to keep in mind.
First, IT no longer gets the best tech hardware first. Witness the BYOD movement that has changed the role of IT. Second, the cloud (especially at Google) is about access to infinite computing power. Google has massive data centers, Hoover Dam sized, Lock said.
Now cloud based systems can be rebuilt from the ground up. This is exactly why Salesforce has been so successful. Another good example of the massive power of the cloud, YouTube videos are now more expensive to delete then they are to simply leave alone. That is because of the huge amount of computing power the company has. Lastly, Lock stressed the importance of mobile.
"Mobile cloud is growing faster than any technology in history."
50% of Americans now own a smartphone. Companies should think mobile first, he said, and noted that native apps are beating web apps.
Social Key for Data.com
Brett Queener, Salesforce EVP Data.com and Marketing Cloud, gave the Data.com keynote and he also debuted the Social Key tool for linking public social data to business data. Data.com is a handy sales tool that helps manage leads and keeps sales teams up to date on lead contacts and potential new customers.
Data.com Salesforce bought a company called Blue Tail in July, and Social Key partly came from that data mining company.
Social Key, is a new feature that helps correlate social data with the stores of business data so many sales teams already have. For example, if someone is posting complaints on Twitter, and that person doesn't have any info in their profile, Social Key may be able to figure out who that person is if they are already in the business data mix. Of course, it also works the other way, so business data can be set up in Data.com with those peoples' social personas right there with their other info.
"Build social profiles of customers and help close more deals," Queener said. Data.com is also helping companies with CRM adoption and with better marketing productivity, he said. "This gets so much more leverage out of what people are already doing." Queener said.
Customers are on social more than anywhere online, he said. Data has changed as a result because people are sharing more than ever. Social Key can help create new leads because it can harness what people are saying about a company, and then target those folks if they fill a need.
Chatter for Service Communities Keynote
"The workplace is fundamentally broken," Nasi Jazayeri, EVP & GM Chatter said in his Chatter keynote. "Employees, customers, partners and products are all siloed, and every partner we talk to wants to bring down these walls."
Everyone is doing social, but the business processes may not be there yet, Jazayeri said. Of the 170,000 Chatter networks, companies are reporting more productivity, less email, more engagement and 39% faster access to information, he said.
Chatter Communities for Service is an integrated portal for help in customer service, sales and marketing.
Salesforce has debuted Chatter Communities for Service, and it's an all in one portal for connecting customers, vendors and partners with teams behind the firewall. Those vendors and customers can brand their end of it for the teams on their side, and it's meant to make people easier to find and problems easier to solve.
General Electric is one of the first companies to try out Communities for Service, and Doug Bewsher, SVP product marketing at Salesforce, gave a demo of the system GE has been using. There's a feature called the "I Need" search bar, and it will connect to data from the service center, for example, or anything those vendors can't find within the partner facing content.
Marketers can get connected to vendors, and any lead info collected gets added right into Sales Cloud, for example. GE already has 50 private 'Access' portals connected to vendors and clients. The new Data.com and Chatter features are rolling out soon, and Salesforce has said only that they would be ready in the second half of 2012.