Dreamforce and a history of innovation

Parker Harris Profile picture for user pharris October 5, 2014
Salesforce.com co-founder Parker Harris was at the very first Dreamforce conference in a hotel ballroom; as this year's jamboree takes over San Francisco next week, he explains why innovation is at its heart.

I can’t help but get excited every year when Dreamforce rolls around. I remember the first Dreamforce, with 1,300 people in a hotel ballroom. It was a milestone for salesforce.com and looking around the room, it was apparent that our solution was making a difference to customers.

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Eleven years later, I’m thrilled to say this Dreamforce is set to be the largest software event ever, with more than 135,000 people expected to register and an additional three million expected to join online.

Dreamforce continues to be an amazing platform to unveil new innovations that will empower businesses connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Over the years, we’ve introduced many exciting technical advances during the conference—the launch of Visualforce in 2007 to Chatter in 2009 to Salesforce1 in 2013, to name a few. And you can expect more game-changing innovations on this year’s agenda.

While it’s amazing to think how far salesforce.com and our customers have come since the first Dreamforce—this is still just the beginning. As a customer company, we continue to be inspired by customers who use our services to radically change how they do business, and we continue to deliver new products based on their feedback and needs. And Dreamforce provides us with a great opportunity to introduce new innovations and showcase current products that we know customers need to drive their business forward in their markets.

Being a customer company means our customers play a key role in our innovation strategy. We work closely with developers and salesforce.com evangelists to figure out what they need to succeed.

To that end, we started the IdeaExchange a few years ago to create a community where customers can suggest new product features and connect with product managers, developers, partners, other users and administrators. Our team monitors the site, keeps the community updated on which ideas have been chosen and informs them when they’ll arrive.

At Dreamforce, we have the chance to meet with some of our regular IdeaExchange contributors, and these same contributors also have the opportunity to meet each other and discuss the innovative ways they use our platform and services in their organizations.


Of course, Dreamforce sessions, ongoing conversations with our customers and the IdeaExchange aren’t the only ways we decide advanced solutions our customers will need next. Innovation is an important part of everything we do and develop at salesforce.com, and that’s why it is so exciting for us to be named the world’s most innovative company four years in a row.

In my opinion, innovation is the most valuable when it’s not only easy to use, but also useful. We’ve been able to take budding ideas, organize our top engineers and executives on a project to create a product that is easy to use, performs reliably and scales for enterprise. This is the type of innovation we strive for everyday at salesforce.com—developing technologies that empower customers and quickly delivering those capabilities to market.

Which brings me back to this year’s Dreamforce. There is no better experience for a salesforce.com customer than attending Dreamforce. Whether you’re a user, administrator, developer or partner, Dreamforce provides an opportunity for the salesforce.com community to come together to experience four days of innovation, education, fun and giving back to those in need.

Customers and all attendees can look forward to exciting product launches and newly released enhancements, Ignite sessions, ideation sessions, interactive panels and videos that will make this year’s Dreamforce the best one yet.

I really hope to see you all there - in person or online.

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