3 Key Takeaways from Dreamforce 2019

Announcements on cross-cloud integration, strategic partnerships, and OMS innovations stood out at this year’s conference.

Why do I attend Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce conference for employees, partners, customers, and stakeholders? Because every year I learn something new. Being there allows me to see how others are approaching and adding value to the same technology platforms we use at Astound Commerce. I gain insight on how Salesforce is directly addressing market concerns, and it makes me realize many people out there are experiencing challenges similar to ours. That feeling of “I’m not alone” is so important—it helps re-energize and inspire how I and my team approach our jobs.

At Dreamforce 2019, held November 19 through 22 in San Francisco, cross-cloud integration—which has the potential to transform the ecommerce experience for our clients and their customers—dominated the conversation.

First, some background: Last year, when Salesforce announced its integrated CRM platform Customer 360, people got excited. They started to imagine the possibilities of getting siloed clouds—marketing, service, commerce, community, and so on—to function together. Achieving this would remove the massive amount of custom work we currently do to reach this same end, thereby enabling our clients to use their development dollars—and our development time—to devise new features that create differentiation in the marketplace, rather than just treading water. 

Dreamforce Announcement #1: Customer 360 Truth

Cross-cloud integration is notoriously difficult, and customer data is complicated. The realization is setting in that this system synchronization is not going to happen overnight. But in the meantime, Salesforce is continuing to release tools that mark each step toward realizing Customer 360’s promise. The latest, announced at the conference, is Customer 360 Truth.

Set to roll out over 2020, Customer 360 Truth will allow companies to draw from all the clouds to create a single customer record, ensuring a uniform customer experience regardless of platform. It will also connect customer data, authenticate identity, govern privacy, segment audiences, and personalize experiences. It could be a massive boon for Astound clients, including those still struggling with marketing, customer service, and compliance initiatives, and we’re eager to incorporate these tools as they become available.

Announcement #2: New Alliances

Also announced were new—and extended—strategic partnerships with Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services that could streamline our clients’ Salesforce integration. For example, many companies are deeply invested in a particular cloud platform solution. Salesforce is making sure its solutions are compatible with all these stacks so that customers don’t need to switch platforms. That means less disruption and a shorter learning curve for our clients.

Announcement #3: Lightning Order Management

But the most innovative unveiling—at least for us and our customers—concerned Salesforce Lightning Order Management. Teased in the keynote, this order management system (OMS) is natively built on Salesforce’s core platform, and it will allow us to deliver end-to-end ecommerce experiences, from shopping to shipping to customer service.

This will be a game changer. Lightening Order Management will fill a gaping hole in the suite of platforms; it may also eliminate the need to purchase and integrate a third-party solution. This development has the potential to not only save clients substantial time and money, but also to reduce the risk and complexity of data- and system-synchronization issues. We’re already speaking with customers about their test cases.

In addition, we’re participating in Salesforce’s pilot program to roll out the technology. Given our focus on and belief in this OMS technology, it was great to see it presented so well—and to observe the enthusiastic reaction. This and so much more at the conference is helping me brainstorm about how Astound Commerce will employ the Salesforce platform in increasingly innovative ways going forward.

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David Murack

David Murack is vice president of technical services at Astound Commerce.
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