Salesforce ecosystem state of play: what we can learn from who exhibited at Dreamforce 2015

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Dreamforce is a time management high wire act so finding the time to walk through and see all that’s on offer at the Cloud Expo can be a challenge.

This year we wanted to undertake some analytics and see if there are any insights we can gain from what solutions and service providers were exhibiting at what is now the largest technology conference in the globe.

Our cheat sheet was the cloud expo brochure we grabbed on our way through. While we have attended over the past few years we are not able to compare how the exhibition has changed over the last that time to pick up any trends but here are some general themes and insights from our team for the Dreamforce 15 Cloud Expo this year.

We found that many products and services solved more than one customer problem, many fulfilled multiple customer needs; which was interesting to note and also posed a challenge in categorizing them.

See Chart for our analysis below

General Themes

There is a lot you can do on the platform
The wide variety of products and services available is amazing. There are so many solutions that help organizations from traditional areas of Sales and marketing to every manner of business requirement.

The ability to enable organizations to take advantage of innovation and cloud technology to run and continuously improve their businesses and in many cases take quantum leaps, with the potential to disrupt their industries is truly an immense achievement by Salesforce and the Salesforce eco-system

It’s a lot about Sales and Marketing. But data driven analytics & decision support is increasingly important.

Sales & Marketing solutions were well represented and are very much an integral part of the Salesforce solution suite itself. The eco – system is providing solutions from gamification to new and innovative was to create customer experiences and engagement. Customer and employee collaboration and engagement was another top category.

The maturity and representation of data analytics, business intelligence, data warehousing and big data solutions really goes to the flexibility and scalability of the Salesforce platform to achieve a plethora of business solutions and go deep into the value chain. These solutions supporting businesses to make sense of their data, rapidly make decisions, and gain intelligent insights into their customers and operations – something that is so important for organizations today. Sales and Marketing continuous the long march to being much more data focused and decision driven.

The level of data empowerment available for employees of all functions through smart analytics and feedback loops was a key theme we picked up throughout the conference.

Key top category was consulting and why this is an important factor

Consulting services was equal top in frequency with the large data and analytics solutions category. The opportunities with the Salesforce is enormous and many solutions will require expertise in defining and developing solutions with customers and this is a very prescient factor.

A)Cloud is encompassing both mature and emerging for organizations there will be some that require rapid support and sound advice to implement their cloud strategies as fast as possible in playing catch up.
B)And for others understanding how they can leverage emerging technologies for small improvements to significant transformations will require expertise, partnerships and collaboration with Salesforce consulting teams.

ERP was a surprisingly strong category

ERP was another well represented category, coupled with BPO and CPQ solutions – organizations can re-imagine their value chain, back end operations, and rapidly migrate to the cloud. This is a launch pad for many to really innovate and be able to change and scale their operations. Just bringing your data in from the back office to front office and customers to create self-service solutions and redesign your customer experience and services is an area that customers are definitely seeing the opportunities in.

Ecommerce is potentially another growth and opportunity area, with only a handful of solutions on offer, but with key players such as Zuora subscription solutions going strong

Opportunities and Emerging Technologies & Solutions

The rise of predictive tools
Predictive tools is another key growth group – with Salesforce also implementing predictive solutions as part of SalesforceIQ and is part of the systems of intelligence revolution that will make all our lives easier and our teams and organisations super smart
IoT – There were only a few in the main Cloud Expo

We have not included the developer zone exhibitors where the IoT solutions and providers were also exhibiting. The insight here – is that it is still an emerging technology and the opportunities are still developing for organizations and teams. However watch this space – this is where the action will be over the next couple of years.

Verticle specific solutions have more room to grow
I remember attending my first Dreamforce a few years ago and the partner keynote was all about partners focusing on industry specific solutions. Solutions such as Veeva have been successful for some time and this year there has been a lot of excitement about Vlocity and this looks set to continue.

What was missing!

We think start ups. I don’t know if you can classify the exhibitors as start ups – given the marketing spend required at Dreamforce is probably a barrier to emerging teams and start-ups. One of the key challenges that the Salesforce platform does really well is address the ability to rapidly develop a solution and trial and test it in the market – Salesforce is an incredible opportunity for start-ups for this reason.

The other aspect is the importance of collaboration between companies and startups and what that can do for organizations in terms of expertise, knowledge and agility. Salesforce do run The Dreamforce Start up Summit. This should be on all start-ups radar for learning and networking next Dreamforce.

Dreamforce Exhibitor Trends

Dreamforce Exhibitor Category

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