Dreamforce 2021 – Highlights

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And just like that, Dreamforce was done! While Salesforce had originally promised a global extravaganza that visited a number of cities around the world, the reality ended up being a little different due to you-know-what. That meant that just 1,000 lucky attendees were able to head to San Francisco to attend in person. There’s no denying the city looked different without every other person on the street carrying a Dreamforce backpack!

However, thanks to the launch of Salesforce+, it was arguably more global than ever, with a huge audience still able to watch the event online across the three days. From Einstein rocking out on stage with the Foo Fighters, to appearances from Hollywood A-listers including Will Smith and Jane Fonda, it was (on paper at least) another Dreamforce that was full of content, insight and the usual glitz and glamour.

But what did those watching make of it? The experience was undoubtedly different to normal, so we asked some of our favorite Trailblazers what they thought of Dreamforce 2021 and their experience both attending in person and watching it online this year, as well as their own highlights from the event.

Did you attend virtually or in person?
I attended it virtually. I couldn’t travel to the US because of the travel restrictions, but I was equally excited this time as I took part in the Voice of the Trailblazers segment as a Salesforce MVP, and was featured in the Dreamforce Countdown Show on Salesforce+.  It was fun recording the sessions with fellow Trailblazers.

What are your first impressions of Salesforce+?
At first, I thought Salesforce+ would be just a platform to watch Dreamforce and other Salesforce events online. I was wrong—it is a lot more than that. It’s a complete streaming service to watch live and on-demand original Salesforce content. It was so cool to watch Dreamforce live while also chatting with fellow attendees. Networking was not compromised.

The idea to have a video streaming service of its own is a great initiative by Salesforce. It’s a first of a kind for a company in the CRM ‘space’ to have a streaming service to broadcast its own content, and I’m sure more companies will follow suit. I expect to see a lot of useful original series, talk shows, podcasts and much more.

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
For me, the highlight was the APAC Takeover of Dreamforce, where we had the opportunity to get insights from APAC leaders as they shared their region-specific points of view on customer experience. There were trailblazer stories, exclusive entertainment from APAC artists and a rebroadcast of Benioff’s main show for those who missed it.

Is there anything you were expecting that was not announced/mentioned/explained?
Not really, because we know how Salesforce announces everything at Dreamforce. It introduces the new products/features that we should expect to see in the future releases but doesn’t really mention the pricing, complete feature set, limitations, etc. It was the same strategy this year too with its new product announcements – Backup & Restore, DevOps Center, Privacy Analytics, etc.

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?
Definitely a thumbs up! So cool to pair it with a suit.

Follow Manish – https://twitter.com/sfdcFanBoy

 

Did you attend virtually or in person?
Virtually. Last year, during the first online Dreamforce event, the likes of Brett Taylor and Marc Benioff hinted that they wanted to be back in-person for the 2021 event. Plans were constructed to launch the first global Dreamforce event for 2021 with hubs in San Francisco, New York, London and Paris.

Unfortunately Salesforce made the decision to scale back and only offered an intimate in-person gathering for US residents in San Francisco instead. For another year, my Dreamforce was a virtual experience, almost. We decided to hold our London Admins in-person meeting on the Monday evening to speculate what Dreamforce will deliver, and promote the key must-see sessions.

What are your first impressions of Salesforce+?
During their past virtual gatherings, Salesforce has struggled with managing the volumes of people wanting to join the sessions. So, Salesforce+ really needed to meet the expectations of a global audience, especially for keynote presentations. Having watched the keynote live in a restaurant venue we did experience some glitches and buffering, but then that could have also been local network issues too. I expect most people on their home network had a smoother experience, while watching sessions on demand would have been easier still. The fact that Salesforce supplied over 100 hours of a mix of live and pre-recorded content that is all available via their new Salesforce+ channel is an achievement in itself, and opens the doors for future content to be loaded in this way.

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
My main highlights were mainly Architect-themed. In 2019, Salesforce gave space in the Trailhead Zone for an Architect area, and this year was the first year for an Architect keynote which was beautifully delivered by the team, too. It shows that Salesforce is taking the role of an Architect very seriously. They understand that, as Salesforce Orgs can become complex due to the potential of diverse functionality and integrations that can be built, the need for experienced people to deliver these implementations well is critical.

An additional Architect highlight was of course Ruth, who seemed to completely own Dreamforce at her first outing since her birth a year ago. Plushies of Ruth were the ‘must have’ take home item from San Francisco, with many a Trailblazer around the world wanting to get their hands on one. And then, Ruth the mascot continued her dominance by owning the stage, dancing along at the Foo Fighters gig, getting up to all kinds of mischief around the Dreamforce campus, and filling my Twitter timeline. Go Ruth!

In addition, one of my personal highlights of my 2021 Dreamforce was the Keynote Watch party, which was hosted and sponsored by OwnBackup and Copado in a restaurant in the city of London. It felt just like the Salesforce UK and Ireland party that is hosted in San Francisco during Dreamforce.

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?!
Benioff has a good shoe game but is only one of the key Salesforce players who like to express themselves via their footwear. The main character that comes to mind is Chris Duarte, SVP of Trailhead Content, who will decorate anything that keeps still for more than five minutes, and has a whole wardrobe of blinged up trainers. You have been warned!

Follow Amandahttps://twitter.com/Amandabn1

 

Did you attend virtually or in person?
Virtually – although I missed being there in person, Salesforce+ made it easy to stay connected and enjoy the content!

What are your first impressions of Salesforce+?
Salesforce+ seems like a great platform for content and I love that more of the content was available on demand so that no one missed out. I can see room for improvement in the navigation, but it’s a great start!

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
It’s hard to pinpoint one highlight – perhaps True to the Core. This is always a fascinating session with some hard-hitting questions and answers. Overall, it was just so reassuring to see an in-person gathering of my peers. It gives me hope that we’ll all be able to get back together at some point.

Has the event changed any of your feelings about how the platform will evolve over the next 12 months?
The official roadmap for the retirement of Workflow Rules and Process Builder was a bombshell. We knew this was coming, but seeing the roadmap makes it feel very real. It’s definitely time to start skilling up on Flow.

Is there anything you were expecting that was never announced/mentioned/explained?
I was hoping for more news about Dynamic Forms for standard objects—this is going to change the way we build page layouts and improve the user interface, so I think it needs to be a priority.

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?!
Thumbs up! Always. That man knows how to rock a suit and shoes like no one else.

Follow Christine – https://twitter.com/ChrisieMarshall

 

Did you attend virtually or in person?
I couldn’t attend Dreamforce even virtually during the original dates, but thanks to Salesforce+, I watched the sessions I wanted to shortly after the event took place.

What are your first impressions of Salesforce+?
When I heard of Salesforce+ for the first time, I was slightly hesitant whether a B2B company would be able to produce enough engaging content for the launch. However, Salesforce has proved yet again why it’s one of the most innovative companies in the world. Right after Dreamforce, not only is there lots of content available from the event itself, but also many other exciting videos. Personally, I enjoyed The Inflection Point channel featuring interviews with well-known CEOs. As for improvements, I hope they will add search functionality to Salesforce+ soon so that it’s even easier to find the content you need.

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
Two key highlights were really important for me, as they would directly influence how customers use Inspire Planner, our Salesforce native project management app.

The first was the integration between Salesforce and Slack. Currently, our product fully integrates with Chatter as part of the collaboration platform, but we are really looking forward to improving the customer experience with Slack integration.

The second highlight was about deprecating Process Builder and completely focusing on Flows. There were rumours about it on Twitter earlier, but now it is official. Many of our customers automate processes within Inspire Planner with Process Builder, so we need to help them migrate to Flows. The good news is that this transition will be a gradual process until the Winter ‘23 release, and Salesforce promised to offer migration tools to support this process.

 Is there anything you were expecting that was never announced/mentioned/explained?
Not that I was expecting it to be announced during Dreamforce 2021, but I really hope Salesforce will increase the limit of custom fields on the Activity object soon.

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?!
Definitely thumbs up.

Follow Timhttps://twitter.com/TimKoroteev

 

Did you attend virtually or in person?
Virtually.

What are your first impressions of Salesforce+?
Wow! Dreamforce Everywhere with the help of Salesforce+. We Trailblazers now have our own streaming service by Salesforce so we can experience events, podcasts, Trailblazing stories, and expert advice.

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
Our Salesforce Economy is a family of 15 million Trailblazers, and there are 9.3 million new Salesforce Economy jobs expected by 2026. It’s huge and very exciting to see such empowerment opportunities in the Ecosystem.

Salesforce Developers can optimize business processes by harnessing the power of Salesforce Flow, and I saw how Salesforce is focusing more on that by adding continuous innovations.

I would also suggest every Salesforce developer check out the Trailmix Innovation from Anywhere with Salesforce Developers, to dive into everything announced in the Dreamforce 21 Developer Main Show.

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?!
Thumbs up! In fact, I was thinking about my Salesforce MVP plush slippers swag, I could have worn them if I’d attended Dreamforce in person!

Follow Omhttps://twitter.com/omprakash_it

 

Did you attend virtually or in person?
In person.

What are your first impressions of Salesforce+?
It’s a game changer for the industry, to provide a platform that puts their business content out there for broader audiences.

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
Slack HQ and integration with Flow.

Has the event changed any of your feelings about how the platform will evolve over the next 12 months?
Slack is going to change how we use Salesforce.

Is there anything you were expecting that was not announced/mentioned/explained?
Not that I can think of!

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?!
👍

Follow Rakesh – https://twitter.com/rakeshistom

 

Did you attend virtually or in-person?
This year I attended virtually. I really enjoyed Will Smith’s session, since the content was a little different and very motivating.

What was your main highlight from Dreamforce?
One highlight for me was the announcement of Process Builder and workflow rules being retired. I’ve had lots of clients struggle with performance issues related to Process Builder. So I’m excited to see the push to use Flows. The more customers embrace that technology, the better.

Benioff’s shoes this year – thumbs up or thumbs down?
Definitely two thumbs up!

Follow Chrishttps://twitter.com/SalesforceCh

 

If you missed Dreamforce 2021, it’s not too late! You can catch up on a range of sessions with extensive coverage, available free of charge to anyone with a Trailblazer account on Salesforce+.

From business leadership and tech insight, to chats with Team USA Olympians and Hollywood actor Jason Sudeikis, there’s something on there for everyone. Oh, and did we mention Marc Benioff’s keynote is there? Find out for yourself whether the hype for his #DF21 shoes was justified!

Want to add your own thoughts on Dreamforce 2021? Mail us – we’d love to include them!

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