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Living the Dreamforce


Living the Dreamforce

I was pleased to attend the 2013 Dreamforce with over 120,000 of my closest friends from around the globe. Dreamforce has become a major convention in San Francisco, growing from humble beginnings in 2003 with 1,300 attendees to an impressive 93,000 attendees populating all three Moscone Convention Center halls last year. This year, it’s even bigger. Why? For starters, the rise of cloud computing as a staple for business software has certainly contributed to the success of Dreamforce. But there are other contributing factors, not the least of which is the excellent keynotes and solid information imparted throughout the conference.

Obviously there are a number of things I walked away with, but wanted to take a moment to discuss some of the topics that I feel were of note:

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid

Sheryl Sandberg asked this question during her one-on-one with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, one asked of her and all potential employees by Mark Zuckerberg. Her book was the primary topic of the conversation, and frankly is a must read for any business person.

While the book may be written from a female point of view, there is excellent advice for anyone who wants to build a business, become a better professional, grow faster and succeed more quickly.

  • Be more self-confident – Sandberg particularly wants women to be more confident and Lean In to get what they want, both in the corporate environment and in their personal lives. She also went on to say that both men and women should be more confident in women. The truth is that we should all be more confident, more open and more in tune with what gets the job done, not what is a stereotype from way back.
  • Sit at any table – Sandberg wants everyone to be able to sit at every table. This is not just women, but those who have a passion for being there. From the board room to the back room, men and women must align to build successful companies of the future. And we must provide those opportunities without concern for what was done before.
  • If you can get along better with 50% of the population, you will succeed – whether it’s men learning to work in alignment with women or vice versa, your ability to get along better with half the population will expedite growth, personally and professionally, and put your company and your career path in high gear.

Dispensing of stereotypes, getting rid of insecurities and leaning into possibilities will ensure an organization is more agile, which brings me to my next point.

Agility Equals Competitive Advantage

Cloud computing ensures we can do anything and everything faster. By aligning your organization to be more agile, you’re ensured to become the go-to choice for your customers simply because customers expect to have their ever-changing needs met quickly.  The truth is we are in a race for customer acknowledgement and approval, which means you have to ensure your company moves quickly. It’s important to perpetuate agile processes, and remove any challenges that might get in the way.

  • Speed Wins. Perfection Loses – there is no such thing as perfect. Striving for the ideal product or service ensures you are in second place, or third, or maybe even last. Put your company in the winner’s circle by developing an attitude of “good enough” since you know changes will come, particularly after customer input.
  • Agile Employees are happier – nothing is more frustrating than continually meeting over the meeting to have the meeting on a product or service. Get to the best place possible, and then continue with more action. Employees in motion will stay in motion, and you’ll have better results.
  • Only the customer knows best – only your customers can tell you if you have hit or missed the mark, so by implementing agile processes you’ll get the product or service to market quicker, customer feedback sooner, and positive changes made faster, making the customer even happier.

The continued advent of cloud technology will only empower agile processes, ensuring that customers get what they really want faster.

The Cloud is the Great Enabler

Customers are not the only ones empowered by the cloud. Contact center agents are as well. This not only means faster delivery of service, but also a change in the customer transaction environment. According to Forrester, in 2012 93% of customer service transactions were voice. However, in 2013 that number dropped to 73% and will only continue to shrink as customers become more adept at utilizing other channels. This necessitates additional changes for the remote agent to ensure positive customer experiences. And more changes for contact center IT organizations to keep the information at the fingertips of the agent.

Because cloud technology is readily available, the days of being the big fish are almost extinct. Small companies can create and develop strong products and services and bring them to market more quickly than ever before. Cloud technology empowers everyone, so embracing it for your environment is critical to success now and in the future.

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