The company Salesforce, has a yearly customer happening named Dreamforce. I’ve heard about how big it is, and still got a big surprise of the size of it, it is truly huge!
Leading up to the happening, I tried to find out many things, but the sheer amount of sessions was announced to be around 3 000, and somewhere I heard the participation number would be around 170 000 people. The summit is spread out in all the conference center Moscone venues. As well as around in several hotels. One get’s flustered just by shear numbers.
Leading up to Dreamforce
If you have the chance to participate in Dreamforce, it’s imperative to fix ticket’s way up front. This include Dreamforce, flight, as well as hotel. All of these get’s sold out fast. We ordered our’s in June, and we had everything set up great.
This year was my first to attend, and after the whole week and as I’m back home, I’m still amazed on the size of everything around Dreamforce . I’m having a hard time to comprehend everything that’s happening around the city center. Everywhere you look you see Salesforce logos and ads and more.
Everybody needs to pickup their own badge personally, and at the same time you get a backpack and water bottle, which is really smart. That way you save the environment from one time cups. The bag is actually really nice, not a cheap “use once, and throw away” quality. And the bottle will definitively be used in the future. The badge can be picked up from several places around the city, and you can either do it on Monday afternoon, or Tuesday morning.
With a session amount like mentioned before, you really need to plan your visit, and for that Salesforce have made it very easy, to build your own agenda. The mobile app is easy to use, and during the whole Dreamforce event, you can search, filter and find sessions to participate in. If open places, you can enroll yourself in advance for the sessions, or at least bookmark them for yourself, so you remember them.
When planning your agenda, it is vital to leave enough room around the sessions, to either move yourself from one venue to another, or go and check out all the partner areas, and expert areas and other booths, which are called campgrounds. If there are some specific issues or things you want to have cleared up, write them down and check out where you can either find experts or information booths for this.
We picked up our badges on Monday, so when Dreamforce started on Tuesday morning, we were all set to go and start exploring, and learning.
During the first day I opted for a combined session / campground tactic. And it turned out to be a good strategy. You got to hear some sessions, get used to the campground atmosphere, and kind of slowly slide into Dreamforce mentality. One of the sessions I attended was “Personalize Service at Scale with Einstein”.
I also had the opportunity to go to a couple of sessions on the venue of Marriott Marquis, which one was about Service AI, and the customer case was Prudential Finance. They did not shed light on the total amount of calls, chats and emails they receive yearly in their customer service, but by implementing Service AI and chat bots, they had analyzed they decreased contacts by 40 000 yearly.
Wednesday was started with a keynote with the heading: “Salesforce Einstein Keynote: Your AI Journey Begins Here”. This was the only time I went to Moscone North, and Hall F, which is the largest and main stage during the happening.
We were mostly going to spend the day going thru campgrounds, talking to many many experts and Salesforce partners, as well as producers of extension programs. We had a goal of getting ideas, and in contact with companies with integration tools for different programs we use in the background. For example software like Slack, Confluence among other. We are going to boost our customer service with a CTI solution during 2020, so that was another thing of interest. CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration. There is also the intention to add support chat, to complement the customer community we have in use. Beyond CTI and Chat there is also the hope and wish to take in use Einstein Service, and the function Next Best Action.
One session we attended was Accenture presentation on how they have taken myTrailhead in use, and obstacles they faced as well as solved. Accenture is approximately 5 210 time larger then our company, and with around 4 000 licenses, they still faced the same kind of challenges. myTrailhead as a product is really interesting, and as I have performed 39 badges on Salesforce’s Trailhead, I know it has huge potential.
On Thursday the main keynote was a “Fireside chat” between Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and the 44th President of United States of America, Barack Obama. We planned with Janne to get a seat into this.
For the most of the bigger keynotes it’s necessary to start queuing up a hour or two in advance, but during the morning we got a huge surprise when hearing, that the first persons to line up for the keynote, had started to queue at 2:45AM. So when we arrived to Moscone, the lines were VERY long. One of the staff members keeping the lines in order, told us that there was no chance to get in, and suggested we go to one of the live stream locations.
I found later on a news about this, on abc7 channels website, that “only” 8 000 persons could get in and get a seat. 8 000 is a lot of people, but if the total attendance of Dreamforce is around 171 000, it’s a pretty small portion of visitors getting in.
We headed over to AMC Metreon’s iMAX movie theater. When arriving there, we were warned the end of the line probably would not get in, but we stuck out, and waited which was awarded in the best way. We got in as the last’s one, and got to see the keynote live on a big screen. Later on we heard that there was many who couldn’t even get a live stream place.
During Thursday we continued with the campgrounds, and among other’s looked up a producer of a integration tool, we had a little experience of. We have to continue the investigation on this integration tool issue, as no definite solution was found, but a couple of potentially good ones was.
As we were to fly home on Friday, as soon as 16:00, there really was no time to dig deep into Friday’s programs. San Francisco International airport is pretty big, and we were warned when we arrived to the US, that 3 hours before flight would be a good time to arrive to the airport. We had a sturdy breakfast (because airline foods aren’t that special), and went for a last walk around in the center of the city, before heading to the airport. Pro tip is to order the cab the day before, as there is a lot of passengers flying out of the city on Friday, when the conference ends.
Great trip, and I hope there will be a possibility to do it again.