Enterprise cloud-computing company Salesforce.com kicks off its Dreamforce 2011 conference today with a keynote address from Chairman and CEO Mark Benioff, focusing on the concepts of the social enterprise and the post-PC revolution.
This year's Dreamforce is being held at Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, August 30 through September 2, with 475 sessions. Salesforce.com expects more than 40,000 attendees plus another 35,000 expected to participate online via Salesforce Live.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is also on deck for the event, along with Facebook CIO Tim Campos, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, and Verizon Business President Bob Toohey.
The Post-PC Era
Salesforce.com is best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and has been pushing its "no software" strategy since long before other companies jumped on the cloud computing bandwagon.
Now, Salesforce says, there's a rise in companies working to improve the way they communicate with customers and employees online, in the cloud. That rise, Salesforce said, involves companies transitioning into more "social enterprises" -- a term Salesforce is trademarking.
So, what is a "social enterprise"? Salesforce.com defines it as a business that builds social profiles of customers, creates internal social networks, and communicates with its customers over the Internet.
"If anyone is positioned to talk about the cloud, and the end of the PC era, and what is essentially granting access to all your data no matter what device you are working with, Salesforce is," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
"Salesforce has the experience. They've worked through the bugs. They have succeeded well beyond what many people have either intimated or assumed. As this era of cloud computing continues to grow, I expect them to profit from it."
Social Enterprise in Action
Vala Afshar, chief customer officer at Enterasys Networks, said transforming into a social enterprise has fueled his company's growth, allowing it to operate with agility and deliver the level of engagement that its customers expect.
"We've partnered with Salesforce.com to leverage the cloud, developing customer and product social networks that have redefined the customer experience and our product development process," said Afshar, noting that his company plans to share best practices and hear from experts on how the cloud can continue to change the way the firm operates and deliver business value.
The Cloud Expo at the Dreamforce event features nearly 300 exhibitors and partners that make up the cloud-computing ecosystem, including Diamond sponsor Accenture and Titanium sponsors Bluewolf, Deloitte, Eloqua and Marketo. Platinum sponsors at Dreamforce include Astadia, BMC Software, Dell, HubSpot, Model Metrics, Pardot, Silverpop, and Wipro Technologies.
Kevin Campbell, group chief executive of technology at Accenture, said the company's participation at Dreamforce is just one component of its commitment to further strengthen its alliance with Salesforce.com and sharpen its focus on delivering innovative uses of cloud computing that drive business value for the enterprise.
"With the largest team of Salesforce.com-trained and certified professionals of any global integrator," Campbell said, "Accenture has worked hand-in-hand with Salesforce.com for more than six years, delivering agile, enterprise-scale, cloud-computing solutions to help our joint clients make the shift to become a social enterprise."