Dreamforce 2015 conference coverage

Last updated:September 2015

Editor's note

At the Dreamforce 2015 conference, cloud-based CRM provider Salesforce built on its key innovations from last year, with improvements to its development platform, Lightning, and its analytics offering, Wave. With its upgrades, Salesforce has continued to focus on personalizing customer experiences, making data actionable and democratizing the application experience for business users.

Salesforce built on these upgrades with enhancements to existing offerings, such as the Sales and Service Clouds, as well as with new service offerings at the Dreamforce 2015 conference. Announced at the show was Salesforce's foray into the Internet of Things -- the IoT Cloud -- which enables companies to take the massive streams of data coming from products, ingest that data into the Salesforce platform and generate actions based on the data in real time. Wind turbines could adjust their behavior based on weather or delayed passengers with airline connections could be rebooked while they are still in flight. The IoT Cloud is powered by Thunder, a sister development platform to Lightning, under the hood.

The IoT Cloud also reflects Salesforce's further entrenchment in its ecosystem. Microsoft, for example, is using the cloud to capture data on Office 365 usage, Microsoft's productivity and collaboration platform. Salesforce in turn is tapping into Microsoft's Azure for scalability given the massive volumes of data, then sending the data to Salesforce applications.

Users responded to the offerings at the Dreamforce show with piqued interest -- and some caution. Users are generally enthused by the enhancements to Lightning, which they said has made Salesforce applications' UI far more user-friendly.

The Health Cloud, which Salesforce announced on the eve of Dreamforce, targets the healthcare industry and aims to bring siloed patient data together to improve patient relationships. However, the Health Cloud is ambitious in scope, promising to stitch together data from legacy healthcare systems. But this kind of data integration has been a bugbear even in industries in which CRM systems are well-entrenched, such as retail, so healthcare may pose an even steeper challenge.

Wave, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, still needs to establish its street cred among a wider base of users. While some companies welcome its business-friendly data visualization features and speed of implementation, many others are still heavily invested in other analytics tools and need to figure out where Wave fits in to their plans.

Finally, the IoT Cloud presents opportunities to corral and digest massive volumes of product and customer data, but it's a major undertaking that will take infrastructure and other adjustments for many companies.

Ultimately, Salesforce's moves at Dreamforce 2015 signal that the cloud-based CRM provider is moving well beyond its roots, though CRM remains at the core. Time will tell whether this expansion bolsters its foundation or extends CRM too far afield.

For more Dreamforce conference news and trends, check out our roundup below.

1Dreamforce coverage

The Dreamforce 2015 conference was marked by Salesforce's commitment to tackling new industries with offerings including the IoT and Health Clouds but also by customer re-evaluation of older services. A year after their releases at Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce's Analytics Cloud, known as Wave, and its application-development platform, Lightning, still face adoption challenges among users. The conference also signaled the start of a deeper relationship between Salesforce and Microsoft, which could open doors for the IoT Cloud.