Salesforce kicked off its “Sweet 16” Dreamforce conference Tuesday with a free-flowing keynote program that stressed a 360-degree view of customers, new opportunities for voice-activated artificial intelligence, and the power of Trailblazers to change the world.
In a feel-good showcase of innovation, the company’s Co-CEOs, Marc Benioff and Keith Block, explained how the connected technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be harnessed for innovation and customer success.
"This is a celebration of you, our Trailblazers, of everything you are doing. It's an incredible moment,” Marc said as he strode through a cheering crowd sparkling with occasional gold hoodies bestowed upon celebrated Trailblazers.
“This is an important time for the whole world,” he said, adding, “business is a platform for change.” Marc cited Salesforce’s values, a commitment to improving public school education, and decarbonizing Dreamforce ‘18 as areas where business can make a difference. Tim Cook, the the CEO of Apple, Salesforce’s newest strategy partner, got a special acknowledgement for standing up for equality and love.
However, Marc made clear throughout the opening keynote that the agents of change are the Trailblazers sitting in the room. “It’s a time where we are taking personal action to change the world,” said Marc. “We’re doing it together.”
Two new Salesforce offerings took center stage when co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Parker Harris presented the company’s most important projects: Salesforce Customer 360 and Einstein Voice. The vision of Customer 360 was enforced through the stories of several Trailblazers presented on stage, but first with the story of Brunello Cucinelli, an Italian fashion brand that notably puts people-first in everything it does.
Salesforce Customer 360 is a full-spectrum business solution including the Service, Marketing, and Commerce Clouds, and more. Combined with the integration provided by the Mulesoft acquisition to connect external systems to Salesforce, companies can now offer a true connected experience to their customers.
Einstein Voice, a new capability that lets customers talk to Salesforce and connect to artificial intelligence, was demonstrated by QingQing Liu, Salesforce Principal Mobile Architect, who sipped a mug of coffee while listening to her Salesforce daily briefing.
“We don’t sit still in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Parker said.
The Trailblazer who received the most cheer from the audience was the nonprofit PepUp Tech. All four co-founders, including Salesforce employee Selina Suarez, spoke with Marc about giving underserved students the tools, knowledge, and connections to enter the tech industry. They gave a shout out to the 75 enthusiastic PepUp Tech students in the audience and challenged everyone to hire from the organization’s pool of graduates.
Other featured Trailblazers included United Way, Unilever, and Marriott. Brian Gallagher, the President and CEO of United Way, was introduced with a heartfelt video about how being a swim coach for physically handicapped kids inspired him to make the world a better place — and ultimately partner with Salesforce on the new Philanthropy Cloud. Marriott Global Chief Commercial Officer Stephanie Linnartz shared her story of Trailblazing.
Unilever — and in particular, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream — showcased the story of Jane Moran, Global Chief Information Officer, and how she’s leveraged Customer 360 and Heroku technology to better serve their customers and distributors. Plus, attendees got treated to free ice cream after the keynote.
Amidst the cheers and enthusiasm of thousands of Trailblazers, there was a quiet but memorable moment. Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet demonstrated Customer 360 capabilities by escaping to a staged Marriott hotel room set, where he sipped a macchiato, reset his room temperature, and played some relaxing music – all via “smart” speaker commands and automation. Sighing contentedly in his chair, Tony praised Dreamforce musical favorite LT Smooth to the chuckles of the engaged crowd.
In case you missed it (or just want to watch it again — we wouldn’t blame you!), you can view the entire main keynote here.