Overview of Dreamforce 2013 (Part One)

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Last week I had the pleasure of travelling to San Francisco for my third Dreamforce experience. This journey was different as it was my first as a Salesforce MVP which meant I got to hang with the cooler kids (I’m not one of those just yet) and experience some of Dreamforce from a different perspective.

Arriving in town a few days early helped acclimatise to the San Francisco timezone and weather and try and get over the onset of jet lag. On Sunday registration opened and the flood of the 135,000 registrants with the familiar blue lanyards and Dreamforce badges could be seen around San Francisco.

The conference kicked off on Monday and I attended several sessions in the Foundation Zone. This is an area, that was set up in the Hilton Hotel, to cater specifically to the Not For Profit space. Having a specific space together with the Community Zone, which was next to the Foundation Zone, shows why devotees like myself support and enjoy working in the Salesforce space.

On Tuesday Dreamforce really kicked off with the main keynote. At the start of every main Dreamforce keynote the first section is dedicated to the Salesforce Foundation and how they are working in the community. Salesforce are the pioneers of the 1-1-1 model which has now been adopted by other large companies across the globe.

As you will see in the above video, view from 12.47 if you don’t want to watch it all, Marc Benioff announced that the main beneficiary of support from the Salesforce Foundation over the past twelve months were the People of Haiti following the devastating earthquake. In the following YouTube clip, as Marc interviewed Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti, and Petra Němcová, I can honestly say there were very few dry eyes in the Moscone Centre. Seeing how Salesforce, and donations from the Salesforce Foundation, was being utilised to help get Haiti back on it’s feet was amazing.

We then moved into the main keynote. As usual everyone in the room and those around the globe watching on the livestream were on the edge of our seat waiting to hear the announcement. And then it was announced – The Internet of Customers. Such a simple concept that clearly connects the Internet of Things and the end result being the Customer. How does Salesforce play in this space?

Salesforce1 is the new Customer platform connecting everything in new ways. Salesforce1 has been developed with a focus on mobile first linking how society has embraced smart devices as the mainstay tool to stay connected and their work life/activities.

Salesforce1 replaces the Touch product and is already in general availability. Further functionality will be coming In the next release allowing custom branding enabling app developers to get an app to market quicker than ever before. How? Well developers get “10 times more” APIs; partners get new tools to make their apps mobile; end-users get the all-new mobile apps; administrators get a new “Salesforce1 A” mobile admin app for provisioning (and freezing) end users; and customers get superior and connected experience across the Salesforce ecosystem including the acquired tools such as Heroku, ExactTarget, Buddy Media, and Radian6. Is it a game changer? Well that phrase has been overused – it is definitely a revolution on how mobile apps are built and delivered!

Be prepared to be consumed by the phrase “Internet of Customers” which will replace Cloud as the standard phrase but it truly describes where we are heading with technology.

As Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, stated during the keynote “For everyone in technology, is this not the most exciting time to be in technology? I wholeheartedly agree!

My next blog will focus on the Marketing Cloud Keynote. If you’re interested please subscribe or leave a comment.

Utilising Technology to change the face of Fundraising

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Hi Everyone and welcome to the first blog on my new site. I thought my first blog should focus on providing some background on myself and how I got to where I am. I hope you enjoy my blog and stick around for my regular updates.

Over the past few years my career has moved from the commercial sector, particularly in Financial Services, to focussing on the Not For Profits vertical. It’s a place I love being involved with as I always find the most passionate people who are focussed on changing the world. This aligns with my own philosophies as I’m not only interested in social change but change within organisations to increase effectiveness.

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Over the past few years I have been transforming  organisations by implementing new technologies, such as salesforce.com, to enable their teams to work more effectively and efficiently.

We have seen small and large organisations move from a myriad of disconnected systems including excel spreadsheets and dedicated fundraising systems towards a platform that provides one true view of the contributors and all their interactions with the organisation expanding their capabilities as most if not all of their requirements are delivered using that platform. This has been a massive step forward and has helped start the journey to transform the organisation.

As we know things never stop there and organisations continue to transform so shouldn’t their tools also evolve almost organically? Gone are the days where the focus of the organisation was almost dictated by the capabilities of the system. More so, the old concept of “upgrading”, which is sometimes effectively throwing out the old system, to the newest version of the system is no longer relevant. All organisations need a platform that can continue to evolve and be enhanced easily as the organisation changes.

This is the reason why I am involved in the salesforce.com space as they are the only tools I have seen and used that will keep ahead of the need for change and deliver the change rapidly.

So what’s next in the Fundraising and Not for Profit space?

I think the time is right for some fundamental change in the fundraising space. The Fundraising process hasn’t fundamentally changed over time. With the introduction of organisations such as Kiva, which is a micro-financing organisation driven by social interactions, will we see this type of model drive a change in how fundraising is operated? Is Peer to Peer fundraising, or as I prefer to call is social fundraising, the model that will be adopted as we move forward? Do the donors want to see the true impact of their donations and how effective they are? Regardless, as the model changes we need technology to adapt and keep ahead of the change to ensure we maintain the 360 degree view of our contributors.

Over the coming months I intend to blog about my views on the changing face of Fundraising and the impact on organisations and how this can be managed.

I encourage and welcome your feedback. Please leave me some comments and help drive the focus of the force Innovation blog.