By Dick Stark
I virtually attended several of the Dreamforce keynotes held this week in San Francisco. Hard to believe but this year’s Dreamforce had 135,000 attendees, making it the largest software conference in the world. Salesforce is now 15 years old and will do $5B of revenue in 2014, meaning the SaaS business is very significant and Salesforce is truly a technology giant. Good thing we are working with Salesforce via Remedyforce and not against them. Here are several takeaways from the event.
A theme of this year’s show was, the “Internet of the Customer,” borrowed from Cisco’s “Internet of Everything,” or “Internet of Things.” CEO Mark Benioff pointed out that in this “third wave” of computing (Microsoft and Oracle belong to the second wave), there will be 50 billion things interconnected in 20 years. To prove this, Mark showed off his new electric toothbrush which is Wi-Fi and GPS enabled so his dentist can make sure he is brushing regularly (I did not make this up). At any rate, the “Internet of the Customer” really means that customers are in charge, and Salesforce is listening, understanding, and engaging its customers through technology.
Just announced is SalesForce1, a new upgrade to the force.com platform. SalesForce1 is better enabled for mobility and social media while providing access to the same Salesforce cloud. It comes with “APIs for anything to connect with everything.” Mark Benioff astutely and succinctly summarized it this way, “the software you know and love, only better.”
Service Cloud SVP Alex Bard led one of the more interesting sessions. According to Gartner, Service Cloud is the number one rated customer support application for three years running. In fact, Service Cloud is so highly positioned in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Engagement Centers that no one else is even close. Here are several new features, that hopefully will be added to Remedyforce in subsequent releases.
Predictive Intelligence. This is an advanced knowledge management application that automatically looks up similar cases to quickly resolve incidents. In addition, relevant knowledge management articles are matched to the particular situation.
Multi-monitor support. Since agents often have two monitors, Service Cloud now allows an agent to open up a window on one monitor and then move that window to the other monitor. Allowing multiple windows to be open and visible to the agent greatly speeds up incident resolution.
Co-Browser support. This is a new Bomgar like feature that allows users to share their desktop and smartphone with an agent to quickly resolve technical issues.
Alex Bard also discussed proactive support, where users issues are fixed prior to a situation becoming an incident. He used an example of a DeWalt tool user trying to remove sticky lug nuts. By monitoring tool battery usage through its Wi-Fi connection, a support agent can prevent a user from running down the battery too quickly. A quick call determines that the user was using the wrong tool. The agent can then make a sales appointment to discuss purchasing the right tool for the job. This truly is the Internet of the Customer.