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Dreamforce 2017 Recap

Another year, another Dreamforce in the books. Proud to say this was my tenth Dreamforce in a row, and to my surprise, this was one of my favorite conferences. Here’s a few things that caught my eye, as I reflect back on the week that was DF17.
Dreamforce 2017 Recap

Dreamforce 2017 Recap

The People

Dreamforce has become an extremely large family reunion in the best way possible. I see people I only see a few times a year or perhaps even one time per year-- that time being at Dreamforce. I give out so many hugs; it’s not even funny. I’m all hugged out by the end of the show. Whether it be blasts from the past or people I never met in person until Dreamforce, I always end up giving out lots of hugs and feel like I have friends for life. Some highlights with people were the PepUp Tech Fundraiser, The Amplify (formerly Girlforce) breakfast, and of course the Arkus party featuring the Hella Good Band.

The Inspiring Keynote

The most inspiring keynote I’ve been to in a while was the Trailhead keynote. It felt old school in the way that the crowd was really into all of the announcements. The announcements were just that, announcements, not high-end produced videos and demos of very specific use cases. This was real, authentic, and it came from the heart. The audience was also extremely engaged. Trailhead is here, and it’s the real deal. Can’t wait to see more about myTrailhead in the not-too-distant future. As a matter of fact, that was sorta the big announcement - myEverything. myLighting, myIOT, myTrust, myThis, myThat - the world is yours, enjoy it.

Most Surprised By

While the overarching theme of the conference was diversity, equality, and the fourth industrial revolution, it was extremely surprising that the main keynote didn’t have a nonprofit success story as one of the three main stories. Usually there is at least one video about a nonprofit. This was the right year to have two in my opinion, but alas there were none. There were stories before the keynote started and shoutouts abound but no slick story about a nonprofit at all.

Watson & Einstein working together to make life easier wasn’t as much surprising from a technology perspective, it was more surprising that Salesforce would be so upfront about it and give Watson a lot of shout outs during the main keynote. I do not know much about the inner workings of where Watson starts and Einstein picks up for it, but I’d wager that Watson is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, with Einstein working with CRM data and providing a nice user interface.

The partnership with Google was a bit of a surprise to me. I imagine this has been in the works ever since Amazon Web Services was announced as the host of Salesforce pods in Canada. There wasn’t much around the announcement in terms of apps, but it’s been a long and winding road between the two cloud giants, and I’d like to see them working together in partnership - hopefully this is a huge step towards that. I wonder what does this mean for Quip - do they work together…?

Most Impressed By

Trailhead was by far the most impressive product that I saw at the show. The investment being made into a training platform is unbelievable. Not just because myTrailhead is ready to take off and be the new way that companies onboard and train employees, but also because of the breadth and depth of already existing Salesforce-based training that anyone can start to use for free and become a part of the fourth industrial revolution.

The Best Ever?

Was it the best one ever? Probably not. I’d have to harken back to my first Dreamforce to say that, but I imagine for most their first Dreamforce is their best. I’ll repeat myself though and say this was the best in years. I have so much catching up to do as well. I didn’t even see a lot of the big name speakers, so to Youtube I go, to catch up on all the exciting action I missed.

Please feel free to comment below, on the Trailblazer Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @JustEdelstein.

Arkus @ Dreamforce 17

A little rundown on how to find Arkies & Friends at Dreamforce 2017
Arkus @ Dreamforce 17

Arkus @ Dreamforce 17

It’s finally here, and the Arkus Team is ready to rock. Below is a rundown of all the places Arkies (that’s us), our clients, and our friends will be during Dreamforce 2017. See you on the floor!

Clients

We love to see our clients present and share their success with the rest of you Salesforce-loving folks. This year (RED) is presenting again, this time on Pardot.

Friends

Here at Arkus, we are big supporters of our friends at PepUp Tech, an organization dedicated to enabling underrepresented groups to learn and engage computer science and technology. This year they’re having a fundraising event at a karaoke bar, so come on down and sing your heart out for a great cause!

Products

It seems like admins really love cloning other users because this year our free AppExchange product, Clone This User, is being featured once again in a session.

Arkies

This year we’ve got quite a few Arkies making an appearance at sessions, “Ask the Expert” Booths, and even a 5K Run. Come out and say “hello.”

  • Jason, DF17 Job Fair, Monday, 11/6 6 PM, Moscone West and 5k Fun Run, Wednesday, 11/8 6 AM, Embarcadero

  • Amy, Admin Best Practices - "Ask the Expert" Booth, Monday, 11/6 3:30-6pm, Moscone West, Admin Meadow

  • Justin, DF17 Job Fair, Monday, 11/6 6 PM, Moscone West, 5k Fun Run, Wednesday, 11/8 6 AM, Embarcadero, and Girlforce Breakfast, Wednesday, 11/8 8AM

  • Scott, Extend Salesforce - “Ask the Expert” Booth, Wednesday, 11/8 7:45 AM - 10 AM, Admin Meadow

  • Sam, Community Cove, Community Events table, Monday, 11/6 10 AM - 1 PM, Moscone and D&DF17 (LIVE! Fundraiser for ExtraLife/Children’s Miracle Network), Wednesday, 11/8 11-1

CloudFocus Weekly Podcast

And last but not least, Jason and Justin will be podcasting all throughout the conference. Catch up with them on Twitter @JustEdelstein and @JasonMAtwood.

If you’d like to catch up at the conference, feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @djwebster.

Dreamforce 17 for Community Banks

Community Banks will have a full agenda this year at Dreamforce.
Dreamforce 17 for Community Banks

Dreamforce 17 for Community Banks

With the recent announcement of the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, this year's Dreamforce agenda is packed with over a dozen sessions directly related to retail banks. If members from your bank are heading out to Dreamforce next week, here are several sessions you will not want to miss.


Financial Services Keynote: Build Loyalty by Unlocking Your Firm’s Full Power

Dreamforce is loaded this year with product and industry keynote speeches, but this one is a must for all community banks. I have attended this for the last three years, and not only is it a great way to get a glimpse of how other banks are using Salesforce to streamline operations and improve client experience, it is also a great place to meet other bankers or say “Hi” to your fellow Community Bank User Group members.


Retail Banking: Accelerate Innovation to Be the Bank Your Customers Love

If you are coming to Dreamforce to learn more about the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, this is the session for you. Hosted by Anthony Morris from Salesforce and speakers from City National and SunTrust Bank, you will surely get a glimpse into the future of the Financial Services Cloud. Take this Trailhead module in advance to prepare for this session.


Retail Banking: How to Engage Customers 1-to1 Beyond the Branch

This is a great session for banks that are considering using Marketing Cloud to help to create targeted 1:1 journeys with their clients. This session also ties in nicely with the Trailhead session listed above.


Banking's Future: How Banks are Innovating with the Salesforce Platform

Were you successful at convincing someone from your IT department to join you at Dreamforce this year? If so, then this is the session for them. Join the guest speaker from TD Bank to see how they are developing apps on the Salesforce platform to help create the Bank of the Future.


The Financial Services Cloud Advantage: Grow AUM with Relationship Intelligence

Before the announcement of the retail banking add-on, the Financial Services Cloud was designed specifically to help Wealth Management firms get a better understanding of their complex relationships. This session offers several speakers from top Wealth Management firms who will talk about how they are using Financial Services Cloud to help improve the experience of every client.


Digital Mortgage: Borrowers Can Finish the Process from Start-End in 16 Days 

Reimagine Success In Mortgage

As someone who has both worked as a mortgage underwriter for several years and has gone through the mortgage process several times, I know all the complexities and steps it takes to get a mortgage to go from application to closing. These two sessions will offer a glimpse into the many ways mortgage departments can use Salesforce to help manage the mortgage loan application process.


Building a Commercial Lending Powerhouse at TD Bank

I have also worked as a commercial lender in the past, and if you thought a mortgage was complex, wait until you apply for a commercial loan. With multiple departments from origination to underwriting, and then from loan operations to post closing, the commercial loan process is filled with more inefficiencies than any other area of a bank. This session offers a demo from TD Bank on how they used nCino to make their loan process more efficient.


If you are unable to attend or you miss a session because realize you can’t possibly walk from the Hyatt down to the Intercontinental in 5 minutes, no worries, all sessions are recorded and can be viewed online several weeks following Dreamforce.


Do you have any other sessions you are excited about attending this year? Drop them in the comments below or tell us all about it on Twitter, on the Salesforce CommunityFacebook, or chat with me @ScottTSearle. See you at Dreamforce!

Dreamforce 17 for Administrators

Dreamforce has something for everyone. If you’re an Administrator, there is a lot in store for you this year. Let’s take a look at what Dreamforce ‘17 has to offer.
Dreamforce 17 for Administrators

Dreamforce 17 for Administrators

Although Dreamforce this year is kind of later than usual, at this point it is quickly approaching. Have you thought about your agenda? What sessions are important to you as an Administrator? Now that the Agenda Builder is live, and I must say, it’s better (hello Einstein) than last year’s version, it’s a great place to start.

But wait, hold on, and take a step back. Before you dive into selecting Keynotes, Product Keynotes, and Sessions in the agenda builder, it’s a good idea to evaluate your current skill set.  What can you say you confidently know well? Where are the gaps in the knowledge you are either interested in learning more about, or skills you will be called upon in the near future to execute on in your day job as an Administrator?  I personally like to take advantage of Dreamforce as an opportunity to seek out the features and functionality I know little about. Either because I’m starting to see a trend in inquiries related to these topics in my everyday world, or because I’m just interested in the topic in general.

Once you’ve done a bit of soul searching, it’s time to tackle the Agenda Builder!

First, sort by Trail Map as a top sort option, then filter by the Role of a Salesforce Administrator.  That will give you a very abbreviated list to start with that includes Sessions and Keynotes (Salesforce for Admins).  Once you’ve selected what may interest you through that filter, you may want to open it up to ‘All Sessions’ and use the filters, such as Roles, Category, Industry, and Level, etc…to find additional Keynotes and Sessions that fit your Dreamforce education goals. There’s a filter for Location which can be helpful as well since the Session locations can be several city blocks away from each other so pay attention to walk time between Sessions.

I have to give a shout out to Mike Gerholdt who has written a few blog posts to help out Administrators. His general post related to getting ready for the Agenda Builder links to this great Quip Admin Track Cheat Sheet for Sessions. That list alone has 107 great Sessions for Administrators. His other blog post targets the Administrators Dreamforce game plan and bullets steps to have a more effective and successful Dreamforce experience.

There is always the Admin Meadow, where you can learn about the latest features and jump into informative talks at the Admin Theater. This is a great place to squat between Keynotes and Sessions and perhaps get to know and collaborate with other Admins.

I highly recommend attending the product keynote sessions as well.  Those are hosted by the Salesforce Product Managers and Evangelists who know of all things Salesforce now and planned for the future.

As always, wear comfortable shoes, bring layers (it’s San Francisco after all), pace yourself, and enjoy all that Dreamforce has to offer!

Do you have other recommendations for Admins at Dreamforce ‘17? Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or in the Success Community or Power of Us Hub. 

10 Years of Dreamforce Tips

After a decade going to Dreamforce, here are 10 tips to get you through your first or your tenth.
10 Years of Dreamforce Tips

10 Years of Dreamforce Tips

1. Book Early

Ok, this is clearly a tip for Dreamforce 18 but for those of you who are staying in a hotel by the airport, learn your lesson. Keep up to date in the Success Community and when Dreamforce hits, get in there and register. That day. Don't be late or you will be staying in a van down by the river.

2. Leave Time to Talk

There are hundreds of sessions to go to and while the pull of FOMO might get your agenda packed, make sure you leave time to explore, network and get your Trailhead on. Some of the best times I have had at Dreamforce are just catching up with colleagues.

3. Fuel Up

Food, coffee and drinks will come and go quickly, so take them while you can. Someone offers you a sandwich and a bottle of water? Take it. It might be another 12 hours before you get another chance to eat or drink.

4. Pack Light and Leave Room

Make sure your suitcase has at least 25% room to fit in all the SWAG you will grab at Dreamforce. Don't be that rookie checking the extra bag on the way home and having to explain to the boss why you just couldn't leave the extra-large Astro doll and had to pay the fee.

5. There is an App for That

Yes, the Dreamforce event application (for all your major platforms - TBD) is a must download before getting to San Francisco. Not only is it packed with maps, sessions and schedules it can help you connect with others. Need to know where to go to register? There is an app for that. Need to fill out the session survey? There is an app for that. Need to get to the keynote on time? There is an app for that.

6. Power Up

No matter how big your cell phone battery, or how well charged it was overnight, it is not going to make it through a day at Dreamforce. Between the bad cell signals, crappy wifi, and constant tweeting be prepared to bring your own battery for one, if not two, charges. If you don't have a battery at least bring cords and plugs so you can sit in a beanbag, relax and charge.

7. Dress to Last with Layers

To dress for success is the saying, but success is surviving Dreamforce so dress first and foremost for comfort. The days turn into nights and you are almost always on your feet or sitting in rows of other people. San Francisco can be cold one moment, and hot the next so dress in layors. Leave everything heavy from books to laptops behind in the hotel, the more you carry, the more you will regret it. Make sure to test out a good pair of shoes with support before getting on that plane and remember you can always do laundry in the hotel.

8. Bigger is Better?

As Dreamforce gets bigger and bigger, it gets more and more spread out and the lines will get longer. Get to where you need to be earlier, get a lay of the land and add 30 minutes to anything you want to do for travel from place to place. Scheduling sessions back to back is going to be tough if it takes you 25 minutes to get there.

9. Plan a Lunch

One of my favorite things to do a Dreamforce is to go for lunch with the other Arkies (yes, that is what we call ourselves) or some of my favorite Salesforce employees. With over a 100,000 people in town, don't leave this till the last minute and make a reservation in advance.

10. Don't Miss Keynotes

I will always regret not being able to see Steve Jobs do a live Apple Keynote. The next best thing is a Marc Benioff keynote with all the bells and whistles (Coke carrying drones anyone?). No matter how tired you are, get out of that hotel and come witness the best in the business bring down the house.

Whether you are a first timer or a lifer, Dreamforce is a blast and a blur all wrapped up into one. If you have tips or tricks for Dreamforce survival feel free to leave them in comments below, on our Facebook page, the Trailhead Community or tweet them to me at @JasonMAtwood.