A distant Dream... now back to reality...
Expectations were certainly high as we ventured to the other side of the globe; a voyage that would take us to the highly coveted Dreamforce in San Francisco. An event whose reputation had been built up over many years through the stories handed down. We were told of the amazing keynotes, the 170,000 attendees, the nightly “business meetings”, endless plains of technology and information, infinite opportunities to improve yourself...
Recently, I met with a Salesforce Alumni and she said, “I can’t imagine what it would be like attend that as your first Dreamforce, it’s so amazingly big now!” She was right - no amount of planning could prepare you for how overwhelming it truly is once you are there on the ground. The Moscone Centre, and all the surrounding venues, are made up of a maze of people, all heading to the next opportunity to be inspired.
On our first morning, we arrived before 8am to our first session ‘Operational Reports Roadmap and Best Practices’. It was a great way to ease into the week and our Dreamforce experience was officially underway. Then, the main Keynote was broadcast across all of Dreamforce and people watching on the big screens were going crazy. Over the coming days, I would attend more than 25 sessions and keynotes, receiving an overload of information.
The Main Attraction
Of all the sessions, there was one session that would reign supreme - Obama.
It's been said that people lined up from 2:45am, probably coming straight from a ‘business meeting’. For me, I ended my 'meeting' a little bit earlier the night before with a plan; I arrived in the line-up shortly after 7am and somehow found my place amongst the longest lines in the history of Dreamforce! The line moved, people were frantically running and pushing their way to the final door, and somehow, I had made it.
Obama's message was clearly articulated; “Part of solving big problems is not a just a matter of finding right technical solution, but also figuring out, 'how do we restore some sense of our common values?'” and also “leadership is not about you having your name in lights, but identifying the power of other people and unleashing that”. The overarching message of how leaders need to support and empower other leaders in order to inhibit growth, and ultimately change, was the resonating theme of his session.
It took me a few hours to get back to a grounded state.
So many clearly articulated messages enveloped Dreamforce: Customer 360 experience, Innovation & Inspiration, Trailblazers Together, Sustainability, and Global Impact. There is so much information to consume and process. As a Newbie at Dreamforce, I found this very difficult- how do I process all of this information, use it and then live it? What was clear to me is that Salesforce is building both Technology and a Culture at the same time. Those that are already embedded in this mindset only need to hear the call to action as they are inspired to go back to their normal lives and attach themselves via tools like Trailhead.
Questions I pondered, after days of listening, learning, and 'business meetings' were:
- How do we take the impact of this amazing experience back with us to our businesses and customers?
- How do we, as a business, react and how do we align our culture, processes and expertise?
- How do we inspire leaders of leaders to drive change?
As a Partner of FinancialForce, we embrace the mantra ‘the only customer-centric ERP, FinancialForce helps businesses streamline, simplify, and automate financial operations on the Salesforce Platform.’ At Agilyx, we are ‘Change Ready’, we embrace it, we challenge it, we look to the future. Dreamforce was a place that reinforced our mantra and solidified our intent as an organisation.
For me, the standards of technology and culture were benchmarked at Dreamforce. The challenge has been laid out. We cannot simply sit back and ride the wave that is Salesforce. We must embrace it in order to be better as a business, support and grow our team, and to strive towards the best possible outcomes for our customers.