A traditional Hawaiian blessing and surprise performance by music legend Stevie Wonder set the stage for Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff’s Dreamforce 2015 Keynote. “We are here to entertain you. We are here to inspire you. We are here to motivate you. But we are here mostly to thank you,” said Benioff. He thanked customers, employees, partners, veterans, teachers, and many others in the capacity crowd for everything they do for Salesforce.

Philanthropy Model

The cloud computing giant is set to become the 4th largest software company in the world by 2016. Benioff said he is thrilled with Salesforce’s growth because “We did it the right way. We have no regrets because we built it with a philanthropy model.” More than 16 years later, Salesforce has now donated $100 million in grants, 1.1 million hours in community services, and $250 million in product.

Benioff recognized a special audience member, his mother and cancer survivor, Joelle, and spoke of losing his father to cancer. “I know cancer has impacted not only our family, but every family,” Benioff said. He introduced Dr. Laura Esserman, Director of the UCSF Breast Care Center, who is leading the Athena Wisdom Study in an effort to create a more personalized approach to treating breast cancer. “It’s only by working together that we are going to have a different future. I’m confident with [Salesforce’s] backing we can change the world,” said Esserman.

The Connected World

The same advances in medicine are impacting the enterprise. Benioff spoke about early personal computers, of which only thousands were made, and how that number then jumped to millions of computers. Today billions of mobile phones and other devices are connected in the Internet of Things (IoT), generating trillions of customer interactions. “I am more connected to the very people who are supporting me in my life. That’s why this is more than an IoT revolution. It’s truly a customer revolution,” said Benioff.

Companies now, more than ever, have an urgency to connect with their customers in a deeper way. But there is a problem, shared Benioff. All of the data and all the devices are not bringing us closer to customers. Organizations are swamped with data and it has separated them from their customers. Less than 1% of customer data has been analyzed, while 77% of customers are not engaged with companies. “That’s what we are here to fill,” said Benioff. “Get ready for a new kind of customer success.”

The Customer Success Platform

Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform enables its customers to engage deeply with their customers and to build 1:1 relationships. They can sell, service, market, analyze data, and build apps on the incredible architecture of a single code base. Benioff recognized the world’s largest enterprise ecosystem that helps make the platform possible, including developers, ISVs, system integrators, the Success Community, Salesforce Admins, and MVPs.

Lightning Strikes Twice

Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris then joined Benioff onstage as “Lightning Man” to talk about the exciting Salesforce product innovations that empower customers to make these vital customer connections. He shared that Salesforce is a metadata platform company and that the next generation of this platform, Lightning, has been rebuilt from the ground up.

Lightning is enabling customers to build custom connected applications fast with drag and drop tools. They can use the free learning platform Trailhead to improve their Salesforce app building skills and easily leverage 50-plus pre-built Lightning Exchange components on AppExchange. The smart and beautiful new Lightning Experience UX not only speeds sales processes, but can also be used to create beautiful apps. In fact, Salesforce has already built two vertical apps with Lightning, Salesforce Financial Services Cloud and Salesforce Health Cloud.

The Future of CRM

Parker also shared that the future of customer relationship management (CRM) is automated, proactive, and intelligent. He introduced SalesforceIQ for Small Business, a smart, easy, out-of-the-box CRM, that leverages data science to help customers be more productive. SalesforceIQ automatically tracks customer interactions and notifies the user when follow-up and other actions are needed. This proactive tool is available for Sales Cloud customers as well.

IoT Cloud + Thunder

With the billions of connected devices now in existence and the trillions of interactions happening as a result, Parker again emphasized the importance of connecting to the customers behind them. He then announced Salesforce IoT Cloud, powered by Thunder, a massively scalable, real-time processing engine. This technology makes it possible for companies of all sizes to listen to the world at IoT scale, trigger actions with real-time rules, and use the power of Salesforce to proactively engage.