2013 Salesforce.com Year In Review
2013 was another big year for those of us that work in the Salesforce.com ecosystem. I am always excited to see interesting new development work get pushed into production, and I was fortunate to be involved with several great examples:
-Complex workflow built on Force.com to manage an application process that will bring the world new top level internet domains
-Several new Service Cloud implementations for new businesses just getting started, as well as companies that are moving their existing support team processes over to Salesforce.com. These projects included many of Salesforce’s powerful Service Cloud offerings
>Custom Service Cloud Console offerings
>CTI/Live Agent Chat integration
>Email to Case functionality
>Sophisticated Customer Portal offerings
>Integrations with backend billing, ERP and RMA systems etc
As a big fan of Salesforce.com, I enjoyed seeing Salesforce.com set up as the center of a company’s view into its business. I was lucky enough to work with multiple companies in 2013 that were willing to go down this road with their business. Looking forward into 2014, there are several topics that Salesforce.com has presented either through Dreamforce or its marketing efforts that I think will be a big part of how companies leverage their Salesforce investment going forward. Here are the five biggest changes I see going forward:
1. Salesforce1 – I simply can’t state enough how impressed I am with Salesforce1. Salesforce.com has done a great job of creating a platform offering that will easily allow companies to leverage their existing Salesforce.com production environments and expose this information on mobile devices (phones as well as tablets).
2. The feed point of view – Throughout 2013 there were a number of times I saw how Salesforce.com is moving their product offering into a feed based solution. What do I mean by this? Well, Salesforce.com now offers Chatter feeds, Case Feeds, and Communities as a central part of their product offering. I’m not sure how exactly Customer Portals will evolve into Communities but the direction is clear and I know its the future. Companies who are embracing Chatter, and rolling it out properly are seeing tremendous value in this product offering.
3. The Internet of Things – At Dreamforce in November, the Developer Zone had some really cool companies showing some of their interesting development work in the Internet of Things space. For the un-initiated, what does this mean? Basically, it means capturing data from sensors (for lights or servos or temperature measurement or flow measurement or liquid pumps etc) and tracking their feedback in Salesforce.com. Our friends at 2Iemetry are doing some fantastic work in this area. If you’re a fan of Lego and Salesforce, this will bring a massive smile to your face.
4. Salesforce.com is now a mature player in the enterprise software marketplace. With over $3 billion in annual revenue, Salesforce.com regularly wins deals with the largest global corporations. During several of the Salesforce keynotes at Dreamforce, Salesforce announced VPs of this or that business who had been hired away from the likes of the $38 billion per year industry giant like Oracle. And the presentations these guys gave were all about building out the Salesforce.com corporate infrastructure so that they can grow from $3 billion to $10 billion to $40 billion. In the lifecycle of a business, that is Salesforce’s potential future over the next 10 years.
5. One of the ways Salesforce.com has said its product offering will evolve is to develop industry specific product solutions. This means we will likely see industry specific offerings like Salesforce.com Telco, Salesforce.com Pharma or Salesforce.com Financial. I also think this is why we have seen Salesforce.com acquire companies like ExactTarget, Buddy Media, and Radian6, so that when Salesforce.com offers its industry specific products, they can now offer a more end to end solution.
No one can clearly see all of the details of the future or even 2014, but it is obvious that there is a huge opportunity to build innovative and successful solutions in the Salesforce.com ecosystem in 2014.