Marc Benioff’s keynote speech announced forthcoming products, sustainability initiatives, and a commitment to social responsibility
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Every year, Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference grows, taking over the Moscone Center and the four blocks surrounding it. This year, more than 170,000 people converged on San Francisco to attend the conference, build relationships with partners and customers, and enjoy the many parties that Salesforce partners host across the city.
This year, CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote focused on connectivity, sustainability, and values, which drove the focus of this year’s Dreamforce.
We’re all familiar with the first three industrial revolutions–first, steam power in the early 19th century, then electricity in the early 20th century. The rise of computers in the 1980s comprised the third industrial revolution, and the fourth is upon us now. Characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, the key operating word is “connectivity.”
Cloud computing and artificial intelligence have overhauled how companies think about how they do business. Two feature reveals at Dreamforce showcase Salesforce’s answer to the connectivity revolution: Customer 360 and Einstein Voice Assistant.
Customer 360 is a new cross-cloud technology that brings together Marketing, Commerce, and Service Cloud to engage the customer and help with customer resolution. Powered by Customer 360, Marketing Cloud will be able to trigger abandoned shopping cart journeys that originate in commerce cloud. And customer profiles, Commerce Cloud orders, shopping cart data, and the ability to order for the customer will all be stored in the Service Cloud Agent Console and powered by Customer 360. This free feature is expected to roll out to customers in 2019.
Einstein Voice Assistant allows sales reps to “talk” to Salesforce and update records using voice. This allows sales reps to create tasks, update records in between meetings, and sync contacts into the record’s details. A second related product, Einstein Voice Bots, will enable Salesforce users to build their own branded voice-activated assistants. This product is currently still in beta, as well.
In the week prior to Dreamforce, Salesforce worked closely with the Global Climate Action Summit to focus on reducing its carbon footprint across the globe. Salesforce has committed to conserving resources, sourcing responsibly, and reducing overall waste in the workplace. Dreamforce kicked off this new initiative with the offering of reusable water bottles, lanyard recycling stations, recycling volunteers, green transportation and compostable packaging for food.
“Sector by sector by sector, we are working incrementally to make [decarbonization] better and better,” Benioff said. “This Dreamforce is going to be an example as to how we can all decarbonize our own companies, as well.”
Salesforce, along with 21 other tech companies, have signed the Step Up Declaration to decarbonize by 2050.
In a time of environmental encroachment, embattled political stances and socioeconomic uncertainty, Benioff posits that monumental change rests on the shoulders of today’s companies. The values of companies not only drive profit with today’s audiences and customers, but they also drive movements within society.
Each company has to listen to society, Benioff said. But many companies are not listening to their key stakeholders: their customers and their employees. These companies often have the same dreadful ending: executives walk out, employees walk out and ultimately the company collapses. Success is not about maintaining the status quo or doing whatever it takes to see a profit. Success is staying true to your values as a company.
“We need to be able to ask the question: is what we are doing today ethical and humane?” Benioff said. “We are all going to have to ask that question in the technology industry, and every company and CEO better be ready to answer to that question through their values.”
Overall, while the new product rollouts were met with a somewhat lackluster response, Benioff delivered a solid message true to Salesforce values that is sure to direct the focus of Salesforce in 2018 and 2019.