A technology conference keynote whose highlights included a traditional Hawaiian blessing, an intro video set to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” words of wisdom from MC Hammer and Neil Young, and a chattering car and coke machine can only be summarized in single phrase: “breaking boundaries.”
The topic of this morning's Dreamforce keynote, of course, was the Social Enterprise. We’ve been talking a lot about the social enterprise a lot these last couple of days. On ComputerWorld, our CTO Glenn Weinstein looked at the relationship between the 3 major trends in enterprise technology: social, mobile, and cloud. On The Huffington Post, our Chief Strategy Officer Narinder Singh took a fun look at the personality types of the social enterprise. Most importantly, we’ve been trying to bring the social enterprise down to earth for our customers by describing the real-life success stories we’ve seen over the last 3 years.
But after today’s Dreamforce keynote, its clear that the concept of the social enterprise has broken out of the boundaries that have defined the conversation to date. Here's what I mean:
Breaking out of the thread: The center of Chatter is currently the thread, just like Facebook used to be. But the launch of instant messaging and online meetings make Chatter appropriate for a broader set of communication and collaboration requirements, those that need to happen in realtime.
Breaking out of organizational boundaries: Using Chatter to improve collaboration between employees already has a dramatic impact on productivity. Now we can use Chatter to improve collaboration with customers and partners-- the type of collaboration with an even more immediate business impact.
Breaking out of the browser: Salesforce has always talked a big game when it comes to mobile, but its mobile offerings have been focus on point apps for CRM and Chatter. Now, with touch.salesforce.com, we'll be able to access the full power of the salesforce platform anytime, on any device.
Breaking the bonds of skepticism: Perhaps most importantly, today's keynote demonstrated how the social enterprise is breaking away from the enterprise skeptics. Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts addressed this in her fantastic closing remarks: "For any CEO who is skeptical-- you have to, HAVE to, create a social enterprise. If you don’t connect with your customers socially, I don’t know what your business model is in 5 years.”
Benioff opened today's keynote by claiming that while Salesforce may have been "born cloud" back in 1999, that today its being "reborn social." Today's announcements will help Salesforce's enterprise customers go through a similar rebirth.