Salesforce Briefs

  • Best of 2018: The year that was at cirrus.red

    2018 has been a very interesting year in the Salesforce ecosystem. And we will no doubt continue to feel the influence for a few more years, from some of the acquisitions made this year, the biggest of which was Mulesoft. So to close out 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was, and the best of 2018 here at cirrus.red.

    A quick thank you

    This year, cirrus.red has had over 22,000 views. So firstly, thanks to everyone who has visited. Some of you may have noticed the last couple of months has been a little quiet at cirrus.red, as I have been extremely busy with a huge project (moving an organisation to a new Lightning Salesforce org) and at the same time planning for move back to Australia. But 2019 will be bigger and better!

    So as 2018 draws to a close, I thought it was interesting to look back and review 2018 and list out the top 4 posts from 2018 (based on # of views).

    Best of 2018: Top 4 posts from cirrus.red

    The #1 Post of 2018: Secrets of Spring ’18

    Spring ’18 brought out a few hidden formulas, which turns out were extremely useful and had been asked for from the community for a number of years.

    Now the documentation for Spring ’18 release has been updated, so these are not-so-much-hidden now, but it was the #1 post of 2018 on the site.

    The #2 Post of 2018: GDPR in Spring ’18

    Spring ’18 was also a big release if you were concerned about GDPR. And given the fever-pitched media frenzy that was happening in Feb/March, there was a lot of questions being asked.

    Ultimately GDPR was an alignment of privacy standards across the EU-zone. And Salesforce, like many platform providers, included tools to help companies prepare for the changes which came into effect in May ’18.

    The #3 Post of 2018: Passing the Platform App & Platform Developer I

    Next up, was my guide to passing the Platform App Builder and the Platform Developer I exams. I had decided to study and sit both exams on the same day (not recommended), and shared some of the materials and learning from the two courses to help others who decided they may want to try and pass the exams.

    The #4 Post of 2018: What’s the difference between Process Builder and Workflows

    And finally, the 4th most viewed post from 2018 was a quick guide looking at the differences between Workflow and Process Builder.

    Wrap up

    So no doubt 2019 will be even bigger than this year, and I will try to do a 2019 predictions article shortly!

    And finally, I hope you have had a great holidays so far, and have a happy new year!

  • Salesforce Briefs: Salesforce Tower now the ‘Eye of Sauron’ (for Halloween) & Dreamforce Wrap-up

    With Halloween now behind us, we are fast approaching the silly/holiday season!  This week’s wrap up we have Salesforce getting into the Halloween spirit with Salesforce Tower turning into the ‘Fiery Eye of Sauron’! (Hopefully just for Halloween and not the start of something more! )  Also in this post, we have a Dreamforce wrap-up for you, so if like me you missed it, you can catch up on all the happenings earlier in the month.

    Salesforce Tower gets turned into the ‘Fiery Eye of Sauron’

    After a petition gathered pace and received over 11,000 signatures – Salesforce turned Salesforce Tower into a spooky sight for Halloween…

    For those who haven’t read the books or watched the movies, ‘Fiery Eye of Sauron’ is a reference from the Lord of the Rings.

    [xyz-ihs snippet=”BrockKeelingTweet-Halloween”]

    Though it would be interesting to know how/who managed to convince Marc Benioff of this idea, as he seemed against it at the start of the month telling , “I would prefer for it to become a signal for Batkid as our city needs a lot of love right now.”

    Read more at SFGate or NBC.

    Dreamforce wrap-up

    So as another year wraps up, another massive Dreamforce is now done and dusted for 2018!  To wrap up on all things Dreamforce 2018, there are a number of key resources to check out!  (Unfortunately I wasn’t able to personally attend this year).

    • David Liu over at SFDC99 gives us his wrap up and learnings from the event.
    • Jen Lee also has a post covering off all her sessions from Dreamforce, if you interested in anything automation/flow, it is well worth the look!
    • SalesforceWeek.ly also covered the Dreamforce keynote with a hilarious Fact Check: Dreamforce Keynote.
    • ZDNet has a Dreamforce recap on ai, automation and integration.
    • CRN has a ‘5 things we learned at Dreamforce’ recap.
    • And the official recap from Salesforce also gives a brief overview of all the happenings from the week.

    But one session I live for each and every year is ‘True to the Core’ with Parker Harris.  (So much so, I will be doing a recap of the video some point in the near future! Similar to last year’s post…)

    If you have never seen this session before, you need to!   It covers the roadmap and upcoming direction for the various elements across the Salesforce platform…

     

    Best Podcasts for Salesforce Admins

    Also this week, I stumbled across a great list of podcasts for the Salesforce #AwesomeAdmin within you!  If you looking for new podcasts to listen to on the way to work… Live the Salesforce dream and tune in 🙂

    Personally, I would also add ‘The Wizard News’ to this list for an entertaining and often LOL-funny listen on all things within the Salesforce world…

     

    The SAP vs Salesforce battle continues…

    Is this really even a battle?  SAP announced a number of ‘victories’ over Salesforce recently…

    Personally I don’t want to discount SAP, but having worked with CRM teams who manage SAP systems, and my own experience of Salesforce… I still feel there is a really large gap between the platforms.  But never stop watching, as a tighter contest in the CRM space, could lead to more innovation given the scale and size of the competitors in this market.

    https://www.enterprisetimes.co.uk/2018/10/10/is-sap-tilting-at-salesforce-crm-crown/

     

    Marc Benioff in the headlines

    The man at the helm of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, is a very interesting character.  He definitely knows how to generate a headline, but often for a good cause.  Generally he tries to be the change he wants to see in the world.

    Over the last couple of weeks he is trying to focus attention on the homelessness issue in San Francisco, tackling other tech entrepreneurs on how to best try to solve the issue.  It is a long-standing and complex issue, so there surely isn’t just one way to try to tackle this issue, but it is great to see this being focused on.

    Additionally CNN Business also wrote a profile piece on Marc this month, which covers some of his other philanthropic efforts.

  • The week in review (Quip Slides, Einstein Voice, Benioffs buy Time, Dreamforce next week)

    There is less than a week until Dreamforce…. and the announcements have started already!  This week we have seen two new product launches with Quip Slides and Einstein Voice.  And although not specifically Salesforce news, Marc Benioff & his wife have announced they are buying Time Magazine.  So let’s jump on in…

    Salesforce introduces Einstein Voice (watch out Alexa!)

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Roll on Dreamforce…. If this is the scale of announcements we can expect to hear! (pardon the pun)

    Salesforce has announced the new Einstein Voice app for use dictation and navigation.

    Have a look at the video to see it in action, shared by Salesforce on Twitter.

    The video shows a voice memo being captured, including a note and some action items.  Then Einstein gets to work, and analyses the words and tries to correlate it to data within your Salesforce (such as updating a opporutnity amount and close date).

    So simple, yet very very effective.  And after all, isn’t that what AI and ultimately Salesforce Einstein is all about…  I mean that and world domination #helloSkyNet

    The announcement before Dreamforce could have been as a response to Microsoft’s recent Dynamics 365 AI announcement.  But I do hope it is a taster of a number of exciting products announcements next week!

    Read more about this over at VentureBeat.

    Quip launches Quip Slides…

    Salesforce Quip Slides

    Salesforce’s Quip has just completed the Office ‘trifecta’, by announcing the launch of Quip Slides.

    In a move which allows users of Quip to now create collaborative slide decks using the new product.

    If you haven’t used Quip previously, the power of platform is how it drives collaboration on the documents teams use regularly.

    You can follow documents, get alerts when updated, prepare/update the document as a team and even chat about the document/project/etc in a team feed (similar to Chatter).  And the power of your CRM (Salesforce obviously) can easily be pulled in to these documents automatically.

    Previously you could create documents and sheets.  And now, firing a shot across the bow of Microsoft (and Google), slides and presentations are included!

    Here is a demo video of the new feature in action:

    Read more, over at GeekWire or visit the Quip Slides site.

    Benioff’s buy Time…

    Although not specifically Salesforce, the Benioff’s have announce they are buying Time Magazine.  Now there is a lot of news announcing this acquisition into the personal assets of the Benioff’s – one article in particular caught my eye.

    Over at the NYTimes, they had an interesting take on the Benioff announcement to buy Time.  Specifically relating to how the personal fortunes of CEOs, when mixed with media and politics – can cause tension in the current US political regime.

    Regardless of your political persuasions, it is an interesting read and covers how the purchase personally of a media organisation may complicate things for the company’s board/shareholders.

    Read move, over at NYTimes (or read about the acquisition via the BBC).

    Dreamforce, is almost here!

    And finally, in case you have been hiding under a rock, Dreamforce is almost here!  Kicking off next Monday 24th Sept. survive Dreamforce

    It is another sell-out this year, and you can read all about 9 tips to survive Dreamforce here.

    Additionally, all announcements from the week will be showcased on this site – so stay tuned…

  • Salesforce to buy Mulesoft

    After last week’s announcements big Salesforce announcements relating to Dropbox, CloudCraze and Salesforce Essentials. It appears that 2018 could be shaping up to be a big year for acquisitions… As Salesforce has announced they will buy Mulesoft.

    UPDATE: It has now been officially announced, that Salesforce will acquire Mulesoft for $6.5bn (source here). Previously, Business Insider had confirmed that Salesforce was working on a big deal, but they couldn’t confirm the acquisition target was Mulesoft.

    Is 2018, the year to buy?

    After a quiet 2017 on the acquisition front. We have now seen a number of purchases early on in 2018, is this just the start of a big year of acquisitions?

    With CloudCraze announce just last week, focusing on B2B e-commerce. And Attic Labs adding to the Quip offering. Could we see Mulesoft being added soon?

    When this deal closes, it will be one of Salesforce’s largest purchases to date, coming in at an estimated $6.5bn.

    Also, this would be another acquisition which was initially funded by Salesforce Ventures. As Mulesoft received $128m in funding from Salesforce Ventures back in 2015. (Look out Dropbox!)

    Salesforce to buy Mulesoft – but what is Mulesoft?

    Salesforce to buy Mulesoft for $6.5bn
    Mulesoft is in target.

    Mulesoft has created a cloud platform called Anypoint. As a platform, this aims to facilitate data integration across multiple systems. And it is targeted at enterprise companies, counting Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Spotify as customers.

    By using published APIs for applications, the platform takes a fair amount of the development out of connecting systems together. In turn, this helps speed up the delivery time to integrate systems together.

    Mulesoft is also behind the Dataloader.io platform, which many businesses use for admin data loading tasks, instead of the Apex Dataloader.

    Why would Mulesoft help Salesforce?

    As we know Salesforce is huge in the enterprise CRM market. This is a market which also typically has multiple systems which need to integrate with each other, be it CRM, ERP or general database systems – ultimately there needs to be a connection where data will be synchronised.

    There are a variety of tools you can use. But many of them require a developer to create and maintain. I have seen a number of different solutions to this problem over the years. Though tools like Jitterbit, Boomi and Mulesoft have taken a page out of Salesforce’s book and have reduced the development overhead needed to integrate often complex systems.

    Where does this help Salesforce though?

    As we have seen over the last few years, there is a push from Salesforce to support Big Data Objects, External Objects with oData and Lightning Connect. It is all about data!

    This is where you can imagine – a platform like Mulesoft would be an add-on subscription. ‘Integration Cloud’ anyone? But much like Wave Analytics is to Reports and Dashboards. Mulesoft would be in a different league to the existing Salesforce solutions. (Also no doubt, Mulesoft would have a side benefit for Wave Analytics = more data! More sources! )

    The value for Salesforce also lies in being able to help customers, integrate and connect systems to the base CRM system. After all, if you get customers to continue to integrate Salesforce in their IT infrastructure, you make it harder for them to move away from Salesforce… And there is a lot of money in that!

    Personally, I would love to see how other add-ons, like Einstein, could in turn be used to make this even more compelling in the future!

  • The week in review (Salesforce buys CloudCraze & drops $100m on Dropbox IPO)

    Well it goes a few weeks with nothing being announced and then **BAM** three big announcements within a week.  This week for Salesforce Briefs, we look at the big announcements in the Salesforce universe.  As per predictions for 2018, this week we see Salesforce announce the second major acquisition of 2018 (the first being Attic Labs) – announcing they are buying CloudCraze.  Salesforce also announced it was planning to deepening integration ties with Dropbox, and also splashed a cool, $100m IPO investment in the company.

    To top off the week, Salesforce has also announce the retirement of Desk.com and SalesforceIQ.  While announcing a new Salesforce Essentials bundle, aimed at small businesses.

    Read on for all things Salesforce, this week.

    Acquisition #2 for 2018: Salesforce snaps up CloudCraze

    Salesforce has made a huge play for the e-commerce market this week.  This week announcing that Salesforce buys CloudCraze.

    CloudCraze is the B2B e-commerce solution for a number of household brand names like Coca-Cola.

    Salesforce continues on aquisition path in 2018. Salesforce buys CloudCraze
    Salesforce buys CloudCraze

    It is yet another acquisition that first started with an investment from Salesforce Ventures (in 2017).

    So what is the play here?  Well it is clear that Salesforce is beefing up its Commerce Cloud offering.  This acquisition feels very similar to past acquisitions of Pardot and Exact Target, allowing Salesforce to tackle the B2B & B2C markets.

    Also as Salesforce continues to aim for growth towards $60bn by the 2030’s, one way to do that is to grow via acquisitions.  Just with the added advantage that also helps to diverse the market they cover…  So expect to see more acquisitions this year.

    For an interesting take on this, read on here at CRN or the statement from CloudCraze and Salesforce here.

    Salesforce drops $100m on Dropbox & announces new integrations

    After first announcing a deeper level of integration with Dropbox for Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud and Quip.  Salesforce has followed up that announcement by investing $100m in Dropbox.

    Will this be a potential acquisition in the future too?  It is too early to tell, but I would love to see it drive Salesforce to ‘catch up’, as the the cost of extra data storage from Salesforce is prohibitively expensive…

    This potentially values Dropbox’s at anywhere between $7-8bn, which is staggering for a company that is not making a profit!

    Additionally, SalesforceBen and ZDNet has a good breakdown of the integration with Dropbox.

    Retirement for Desk.com & SalesforceIQ, but new Salesforce Essentials…

    It is the end of the road for Desk.com and SalesforceIQ (well it will be in March 2020), as Salesforce has also announcement the retirement of Desk.com, SalesforceIQ and a number of other small business products.  These are products aimed at the Small/Medium Business (SMB) market, where customer either don’t want or need (or can’t afford) a full Salesforce Sales/Service Cloud solution…

    Instead they have announced a new Salesforce Essentials SMB package aimed to getting small businesses onto the Salesforce ecosystem quicker, with an offering that is a more ‘out of the box’ solution that needs less setting up.

    Retirement of Desk.com was announced this week.
    Sample of Desk.com with Jira

    For a quick history lesson, Desk.com (or Assistly as it was called) was originally bought back in 2011, to help bolster Salesforce’s customer service/support credentials for small businesses.  Particularly if they couldn’t afford/had no interest in Service Cloud.

    SalesforceIQ product to be retired.
    SalesforceIQ from email to mobile… (Source: Salesforce)

    While SalesforceIQ was aimed at the sales side of the SMB market.  Attempting to streamline emails and drive sales productivity for the SMB market.  Surprise, surprise it was also a previous acquisition.  And it was brought into the Salesforce ecosystem back in 2014, after Salesforce bought RelateIQ.

    Additional reading, can be found at TechRepublic and Diginomica.

  • Salesforce Briefs: The week in review (on track for $10B rev., Einstein AI & SF Tower in Indy)

    This week’s in Salesforce Briefs, the big news was Salesforce’s quarterly results, which highlight Salesforce is very much on track to hit their $10B (USD) revenue target for this financial year!  Also in this week’s wrap, have you wondered how Marc Benioff uses Salesforce Einstein AI within his own company?  We get a glimpse of some possible future AI tech that powers Salesforce’s own sales forecasting.  And finally, there has been a lot of noise recently about Salesforce Towers here there and everywhere.   With the new Salesforce Tower opening for business in Indianapolis, with an interesting article from Marc Benioff about why Salesforce is expanding there.

    $10,000,000,000
    $10b is alot of money… Let’s hope it is USD though and not ZWD 🙂

    Salesforce’s continues towards $10B revenue

    $10B is a lot of cash…  Salesforce announced its first quarter results this week, which confirm Salesforce continues its faced paced march towards the $10B revenue target for this financial year.

    With Marc Benioff stating that Salesforce’s revenue growth, gives it “the fastest growth of any top [five] enterprise software company.”

    Very impressive numbers indeed!  To take a look at the results in more details, head on over at TechCrunch.

     

    How Marc Benioff uses Einstein

    Over at BusinessInsider, there is a fascinating article on how Benioff uses Salesforce Einstein internally to shape.  There is a product called ‘Einstein Guidance’,  And it has been developed by Salesforce for internal use (at least initially), helping the sales team manage their forecast meetings.  File this under, ‘I can’t wait to see this one’.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?
    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Einstein is a CRM highlight

    AI and specifically Salesforce’s plans to integrate Einstein as part of the overall platform, also made news as part of an over wrap up on why Salesforce’s share price hit an all time high.  Firstly, I didn’t realise that the stock ticker for Salesforce was ‘CRM’ on NYSE (clever marketing!).  But there is a breakdown on the future of AI and how it will be used to leverage future growth for Salesforce.  There is also an analysis of why there is so much focus on all things AI & Einstein and how the offering compares to other players in the marketplace.

    Prepare your CRM for the future of AI

    And keeping with the AI theme, I found a very interesting article about what you can do to start preparing your CRM for the future of AI today.  It doesn’t specifically relate to Salesforce, but it helps you to start thinking about how you can prepare for this new world when it finally arrives.

    CRM Buyer’s article can be found here.

     

    Salesforce Tower, Indianapolis
    Salesforce Tower in Indy

    Salesforce in Indianapolis

    In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.  But did you know Salesforce has made a lot of investment in Indianapolis, with another ‘Salesforce Tower’ being unveiled there?  Why are they expanding outside of San Francisco?  And why Indianapolis?

    There was an article from Marc Benioff himself on why Salesforce is investing in Indianapolis and explains the vision.

     

  • Salesforce Briefs: The week in review (Trailhead Tracker, Magic Quadrant & SF AI Breakthrough)

    With Salesforce Briefs: Week in Review, we jump into the launch of the new Trailhead Tracker app.  Also saw Salesforce celebrating their Leadership position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for an astonishing nine consecutive years!  And finally there was a research paper published from Salesforce Metamind team, relating to Artificial Intelligence and how it may be able to start improving our productivity by creating summaries of text heavy documents and emails.

     

    Salesforce launches Trailhead Tracker

    Trailhead Tracker now on App ExchangeThis week Salesforce released a new app called Trailhead Tracker on the App Exchange.  With this app, you can now link Trailhead directly to your org.  Why would you want to do this?

    You can now assign badges and track employees progress on what they complete in Trailhead.  This signals a move for Trailhead towards a Learning Management System (LMS).

    Remember Trailhead isn’t just a tool for Admins/Developers, there are some great trails for end users too.  Imagine creating an onboarding plan for new employees, where users can work through self paced learning and get recognised within Salesforce for the modules they have completed.

    Find the app here on the AppExchange.   Additionally Trailhead also received a small update, allowing users to add content to a ‘favourite’ list.

     

    Salesforce maintains position in ‘Leaders Quadrant’ of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for ninth consecutive year

    This month has seen Salesforce named in the ‘Leaders Quadrant’ of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

    https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2017/05/salesforce-gartner-crm-customer-engagement.html
    Click to view – source: Gartner 2017

    What is the ‘Magic Quadrant’?  Gartner rate vendors in various fields based on two metrics, Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execution.  This narrows a vendor down into one of four quadrants:  Leader, Challenger, Visionary, Niche.  You can read more about the Magic Quadrant here at Wikipedia.

    It isn’t a foolproof grading system.  In addition it does give potential buyers an added dimension to support the buying process.  By showing the potential future roadmap of the system and how likely the vendor is to actually deliver on that vision.

    You know all those ‘Safe Harbour/Forward Looking Statement’ slides from Salesforce?  They are there for a reason. 🙂  As we all know Salesforce is a great innovator and this is one way they prove it.

    And on to the great news, Salesforce has achieved a Leadership position for the 9th year in a row in the CRM Customer Engagement, outperforming the likes of Oracle (and Microsoft which isn’t even rate in this category)!

    Earlier in the month, they were also named as a ‘Leader’ in the catchily named category ‘high productivity aPaaS’ Magic Quadrant, you can read about that here.

     

    Future direction of Einstein?  Breakthrough in Salesforce AI research allows the generation of long, coherent and relevant text summaries.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very recent development in the CRM arena.  The future potential excites me (and hopefully things don’t go the Terminator way) and I am excited in seeing how it benefit end users of Salesforce.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?
    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    But we are a little way of seeing the full power of AI, as I mentioned in the Deep Dive article.  We are only just starting to see the potential of Salesforce Einstein and what it can do for users.

    This week Salesforce Metamind published a research paper on how AI could be used in the future to increase productivity.  They have trained AI to provide a summary of long text blocks.  Ultimately this will be leveraged to produce an accurate summary of large unstructured text (like email or documents).

    For more you can read the TechCrunch article about the announcement here.  Alternatively Forbes also had a write up about this announcement.

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