Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual flagship conference, was all about AI this year.
The trailblazing gathering, held from September 12-14 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, is billed as the world’s largest AI event. It included some big announcements as well as exciting updates on recent developments in data and AI.
HIKE2 was proud to be there, along with their partners, supporting both customers and AEs and contributing to the conversation.
The main theme of Dreamforce 2023 was summed up as:
The perfect equation for innovation = Data + AI + CRM + Trust
This year’s Dreamforce was the 12th annual for Chip Driggs, HIKE2’s new Director for Partnerships and Alliances.
Chip has a long history and deep experience with predictive AI. He owned a business analytics consultancy, Scios360, and built applications from 2007-2010 — several years before the market was ready.
Chip then joined Salesforce, where he remained for 10 years. He started out in sales for the first couple of years and then moved into Alliances and Channels. He became an expert in going to market with partners, corralling all the various parties — including Salesforce, consultants, customers, and AEs — into an aligned vision. His team’s responsibility was to coordinate and work hand-in-hand with partners to build a strategy and execute on it.
Now Chip is performing a similar role at HIKE2, and experiencing Dreamforce from a partner organization’s point of view.
“This year’s Dreamforce was great,” Chip says. “They worked out the kinks they experienced during last year’s conference (the first year post-Covid.) The city came together and really put on a good face for San Francisco. Given the main focus was AI, all the presentations included lots of really cool, innovative stuff. Partners and customers came back and there was a great vibe.”
Chip notes that Salesforce is continuing to grow. They’re bringing in more partnerships than they have historically, and HIKE2 is doing the same. He thinks that as the AI and data markets expand, we’re going to see new developments from Salesforce, not only on their own platform, but also on Snowflake and others.
Top Takeaways from Dreamforce 2023
Several main themes emerged during the exciting 3-day event.
1. An impressive commitment to giving back
Salesforce’s focus, as always, is not just on innovation; it’s also on impact.
The company’s dedication to public schools, achieving a net-zero carbon footprint, and supporting hospitals and philanthropic efforts is nothing short of amazing.
As Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce has said, “It’s more than just building great products; it’s about using our power, technology, and leadership to make the world a better place.”
That commitment was evident throughout the entire conference.
2. Salesforce is prioritizing closing the AI trust gap
In an AI-driven world, trust is paramount. The company understands that “important questions around ethics, security and bias need to be answered for enterprise AI to be implemented in a trusted, responsible way.”
Salesforce is committed to addressing the AI trust gap, with 52% of consumers currently saying they don’t trust AI. Salesforce is on a mission to bridge this gap by building the most trusted AI platform for customer companies.
Chip agrees. “It’s all about delivering success. At HIKE2, for example, we have our AI Readiness Assessment. We’ve also recently acquired Great Data Minds, and we’re able to build Gen AI apps. These are a few of the ways we’re proving our commitment to building trust and ROI for our clients through data and AI,” he notes.
The AI revolution, at its core, is a trust revolution.
3. Data isn’t enough — we need actionable insights
Companies generate massive amounts of data daily, but useful insights into that data are much more important — and far more elusive.
Salesforce announced that they’re upping the ante by offering free access to Data Cloud and Tableau for all Sales and Service Cloud customers with Enterprise or Unlimited licenses. The free package includes two Tableau creator licenses plus Data Cloud licenses for up to 10,000 profiles. It’s a game-changer for businesses aiming to make data-driven decisions and empowers all of us to transform data into action and insights.
In response, HIKE2 is creating additional offerings to help clients make the most of these opportunities. Chip explains, “We’ve already created our AI readiness assessment package and we’re working on new offers to help our clients maximize value and see the future with these new free Data Cloud and Tableau licenses.”
HIKE2’s Key Moments at Dreamforce 2023
This year, HIKE2 had an active presence as a partner at Dreamforce.
Along with Elements.cloud and several other co-sponsors, HIKE2 hosted a co-working space directly across from the Moscone Center.
“That’s really important at Dreamforce, because if you don’t have a place to relax and meet people, it’s almost impossible to connect. If you try to go to a restaurant, you often can’t get in. So it was really key to have our own dedicated space,” Chip explains.
HIKE2’s three pillars of focus at the conference included their partner organizations, their customers, and AEs.
“We had an open house breakfast one day. We hosted numerous partner strategic meetings. We had several customer meetings, two or three AE meetings, and we had the happy hour as well. It was great having productive, meaningful, and actionable outcomes come from our time there,” says Chip.
HIKE2’s biggest event happened on Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency — AI in the Legal Industry: Exploring the Path Ahead. The thought leadership roundtable was co-sponsored by Introhive and Salesforce.
According to Chip, “The most exciting part of this is the support we’re getting from Salesforce, especially from Léo Murgel, SVP and COO of Salesforce Legal Corporate Affairs. We — Mike Crawford, Amanda Wodzenski, and myself — have all built really good relationships at Salesforce. But most importantly, we come with a very strong point of view. We bring a lot of thought leadership in the legal space, whether that’s for law firms, corporate legal, or public sector.”
Exploring the Future of Legal Tech: Harnessing Momentum in the Legal Space
One of Salesforce’s goals is to build out the legal consulting ecosystem vertical. They want to speak the customer’s language and bring focused solutions to the legal industry.
In keeping with these goals, HIKE2 will be taking the same roundtable format from the Dreamforce event on a roadshow during the remainder of the year. It will feature a rotating series of legal technology thought leaders, interactive sessions on innovation and Generative AI, and use cases.
Each event will use the Salesforce subject matter expert layout:
- A Salesforce product expert, whether that’s a senior director of Gen AI, a product manager, or a marketing manager,
- A customer who will share their story,
- A HIKE2 moderator.
The Legal AI Executive Briefing Series is planning sessions for LA, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC. If you can’t make it in person, you can also join a virtual session (check the schedule.)
Powering the Future with Salesforce
Whether you’re using Service Cloud, Experience Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Manufacturing Cloud, or another Salesforce product, HIKE2’s biggest strength is our experience and our ability to work with Salesforce and deliver success.
“It’s all about good customer stories. Where have we done this before? What were the challenges? What were the results?” Chip explains.
“We can show you we know what you need. For example, here’s what we’re going to do to help you achieve your business goals, whether that’s building pipeline and closing by the end of the year, improving efficiencies, speeding up decision making, cutting costs, or growing revenue.”
Additionally, HIKE2 recognizes the momentum occurring in the legal space right now, and plan to be at the forefront, expanding on that — possibly even being a host sponsor at Dreamforce next year.
The AI Revolution is Now
There was a crystal clear theme that ran through all Dreamforce sessions: The AI revolution is happening right here, right now.
If AI is the brightest, most powerful lightbulb of our time, data is the electricity that makes it all work. Without quality data, AI simply can’t shine.
So keep in mind:
In today’s data-driven world, many companies have data scattered across “data islands.” Focus on building bridges to bring that data together in one place to unleash AI’s full potential.
Don’t be afraid to embrace AI — it’s a game-changer. Support your team on their AI journey. If you need expertise, don’t hesitate to hire it.
Every company needs an AI strategy. We’re all becoming “prompt engineers,” shaping the future of AI.
Finally, always be ready to embrace new technology. Lean in and watch your organization thrive. Don’t fear the future; seize it!