Salesforce’s Dreamforce ‘17 wrapped up this week in San Francisco. Over the years it has grown dramatically and now claims to be the largest technology conference in the world. As always, several key trends were clearly visible.
One of the central themes of the conference was the focus on encouraging widespread adoption of the Lightning® interface. The Lightning UI interface is a new design which more closely resembles tablet and mobile apps in look and feel. It is an update to the Salesforce Classic UI. Lightning continues to receive additional functionality. But several other important trends were prominent at the conference:
Takeaway #1: Custom Development is Out
For years the common model when implementing Salesforce involved extensive customization around functionality required for a specific enterprise.An enormous and very profitable professional services industry grew out of the need for this customization.
Custom code used to customize Salesforce systems further entrenched these professional services organizations; once a company had utilized developers for extensive customization, they were generally reliant on these vendors for additional changes and tweaks to the code.
Takeaway #2: Apps are Where It’s At
The rows of Professional Services booths that previously populated the tradeshow hall have been replaced by hundreds of AppExchange® App vendors.
Currently there are over 3,000 Salesforce Apps available.
Apps deliver functionality in an off-the-shelf, easy-to-install package that provides a proven and tested solution.
There are fewer reasons to embark on custom development when most likely there is ‘an App for that’.
Takeaway #3: CPQ Matures & Hits its Stride
CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) allows companies to customize and bundle products and services in an automated way inside Salesforce.Rules-based programming can control pricing tiers and product packages.
Previously CPQ involved tremendous customization and professional services fees, but as more and more industries and companies adopt this tool, the implementation steps have become well documented and more quickly repeatable.
Salesforce’s acquisition of SteelBrick® CPQ has further solidified CPQ as mission critical, and Salesforce continues integrating it with other Salesforce products such as Einstein® AI which can assist in creating pricing models.
Takeaway #4: Communities are In
Salesforce Communities are portal sites which allow a company’s customers and partners to log in and access various resources; customers can submit cases, access knowledge articles and view their account information, among other available features.
Many of us, as consumers utilize self-service daily to access our banking or other information; previously, this type of self-service customization was costly and limited to larger organizations such as banks and telecom companies.
Salesforce’s Communities feature makes it fast, easy and inexpensive for smaller business to deploy this resource.Communities and self-service portals can now be implemented by any SMB company with nominal expense and effort.
Takeaway #5: Administrators Will Need to Up Their Game
Historically, the standard model when implementing Salesforce was to have an internal company employee trained to administrate the Salesforce platform, set up and train users, and generally manage the system.
But the massive increase in standard functionality within Salesforce, coupled with the need to know the administrative, configuration and API settings of often dozens of third party Apps has presented an enormous challenge to the lone internal employee Administrator.
Reliance on this internal employee Salesforce administrator has introduced a significant risk to enterprises should this individual suddenly leave the organization; high demand for competent administrators has made this a real issue to consider.
Training multiple employees to be competent as Salesforce administrators or utilizing outside managed Salesforce administration services who can provide continuity will help mitigate this risk.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. Examples cited in this article are only examples. Salesforce®, SteelBrick®, Einstein®, AppExchange®, Lightning® are trademarks of Salesforce.com, inc.
© 2017 Snowforce, LLC. All Rights Reserved - November 2017