CloudSmiths at Dreamforce, a life-changing experience

Wednesday, 29 November 2023 10:04
CloudSmiths at Dreamforce, a life-changing experience

From left: CloudSmiths' Salesforce Consultant Emmanuel Fousteris, Head of Innovation Services Hardus Swanepoel, Salesforce Architect Duncan Brown, and Strategic Account Manager Ryan Dube.

Dreamforce is the world’s largest AI and CRM event hosted by Salesforce. This year, four worthy CloudSmiths team members got to attend the event in San Francisco, USA, held from 12 to 14 September. With over 40 000 attendees from across the globe and covering myriad industries, this annual event – positioned as a pinnacle Salesforce experience - presents a unique opportunity to learn about the latest Salesforce innovations, as well as network with industry leaders. It’s a place where ideas can be shared, innovations unveiled, and new technologies discovered. Dreamforce is about learning, improving, and moving the tech world forward. It truly is a career-changing experience for many.

CloudSmiths’ Salesforce Consultant Emmanuel Fousteris, one of this year’s attendees, says, “Dreamforce is more than just a tech conference. It’s a place to be inspired by thought leaders and trailblazers who are using Salesforce to make a positive impact in the world. By attending keynotes, working sessions, and events, I have learnt new ways of addressing customer experience, sustainability, and other important business-related issues.”

Networking is a crucial component of the Dreamforce experience. Emmanuel explains, “With so many people from different industries and roles in one place, it’s the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and learn about their work, all while exchanging ideas.”

For Emmanuel, Dreamforce has had a significant impact on his career in a number of ways. He says, “Attending this event has helped me learn new skills through a variety of educational sessions and workshops, where I was able to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. The event is also a celebration of innovation and customer success through the use of technology. It inspired me to think differently about my work and how I can make greater contributions to the Salesforce Ohana.”

His biggest takeaway is also sure to have a positive impact on his work, and the clients he deals with. “The future of customer relationship management is all about personalisation, automation, and artificial intelligence. Salesforce is leading the way in these areas, and I’m excited to see how the technologies can be used to create more meaningful and engaging customer experiences.”

A Strategic Account Manager at CloudSmiths, Ryan Dube was inspired and excited by his time at Dreamforce 2023. He says, “Attending the Dreamforce conference feels like a cross between attending a sold-out Bok game at Ellis Park and a jam-packed cult festival like Woodstock. There are so many sessions and activities to attend, and just loads of information to absorb.” For Ryan, however, one of the highlights was attending a Keynote delivery in person after attending virtually since 2016.

When it comes to his work, the innovations around Slack were very exciting, as was the FSC Roadmap incorporating Mulesoft, Tableau, and Slack (all part of the CloudSmiths strategy) and driven by Data Cloud. He says, “I have so many highlights from this entire experience, and they aren’t all from Dreamforce. The trip itself was an inspiration. From the serenity of Muirwood Forest and going over the Golden Gate Bridge, to seeing Alcatraz from a distance, and the food. The food! I even got to see three home runs at a baseball game. Lifechanging stuff.”

He says the event itself was a wealth of discovery and learning, networking, and innovation. For Ryan, attending the BOLDforce Mixer and connecting with the Salesforce black professionals community was possibly one of the most impactful moments from the conference, on a personal as well as a professional level. He adds, “Passing my BA Certification in the process was pretty cool, too!”

Hardus Swanepoel, CloudSmiths’ Head of Innovation Services, says, “My biggest takeaway from Dreamforce was the enhancements in Tableau Pulse. As someone with an extensive background in data analysis and dashboarding, the functionality provided by Tableau Pulse to query and visualise data on the fly is insane.” When something big comes along, that will have a quantifiable impact on the way you do your job, it’s life-changing stuff. With an excitement that’s palpable, Hardus adds, “The constant cycle of updating and rebuilding dashboards based on the needs of Exco packs is going to be a thing of the past. Additionally, the native ability to have Einstein as a co-pilot across the entire Salesforce stack is inspiring! I’ve even gone to the extent of replicating this for myself, having a Presales Architect co-pilot to assist me with documentation and historical data on projects and clients. It’s unbelievable how much easier advancements like this are going to make our lives.”

For Duncan Brown, a Salesforce Architect at CloudSmiths, artificial intelligence (AI) was the MVP. Some of the key messages this year surrounded AI – how to implement it, how to trust it, how to make it work for business. Duncan was also impressed with the evolution of Salesforce’s Genie, now Data Cloud. He says, “This focus on data is the foundation for the appropriate use of generative AI and a Large Language Model (LLM) that we can use to generate unique predictive content to submit to our client base. It is exciting to see that Data Cloud is freely available for any enterprise and for unlimited customers. This is an incredible opportunity to run a PoC to understand where your customer data sits, how to ingest it, and to build some achievable use cases for your data.” For Duncan, the chance to delve deeper under the hood of Data Cloud was one of the most exciting and impactful experiences at Dreamforce 2023. “Dreamforce is about potential. It’s about exploring new tech and understanding the thought processes driving them. It’s about learning how to use these innovations, and being right in the thick of the conversations and knowledge sharing that drives them.”

Behind the hype, networking, and excitement of Dreamforce, there’s a deep core of learning. Duncan says, “By attending events such as Dreamforce, we as CloudSmiths can prepare for the future as a consulting partner and make sure we position our clients to take advantage of all the cool new tools.”