As part of its global event series in 2017, Salesforce headed to Sydney International Convention Centre for a one-day conference. What was the talk of the tech event?
In October, we covered the key takeaways from Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.
The company’s first return to Sydney in three years, held in March with more than 13,000 people registered to attend, was one of the largest technology conferences in Australia.
This Salesforce tour was ‘trail’ themed – think campfires, tents, logs, etc – all in homage to its Trailhead project, which provides guidance for users getting to grips with Salesforce products.
There were three major themes of the event:
Data is moving
closer to home
In his keynote speech, CFO and Executive VP Mark Hawkins, announced that Salesforce is to set up an Australian data centre. (Australian data was previously stored on servers in Asia.) Salesforce is partnering with Amazon Web Services to deliver this update as part of a US$400 million cloud infrastructure deal that was announced last year¹.
The data centre, chalked up for Sydney, will provide local storage for Salesforce tools including its CRM Sales Cloud, customer service software Service Cloud, community building portal Community Cloud and business intelligence analytics tool Analytics Cloud.
Why is this a big deal?
Asia Pacific was the fastest growing region for Salesforce in the last quarter², so Australia is a prime target for the company’s strategic expansion outside of the US.
More importantly, however, the move resolves data sovereignty issues. Australian data privacy laws make it difficult for sensitive commercial information to be stored offshore. Those privacy or legislative barriers have been removed.
What is Einstein?
Dominating discussion at the Dreamforce conference back in October, Einstein has finally landed. Salesforce customers are now able to access its artificial-intelligence solution, which is essentially a plug-and-play data scientist for business.
What will AI mean for Salesforce users?
Salesforce has moved well beyond its roots as just a CRM capability to become a full suite of intelligent customer relationship tools.
Fundamentally, AI brings into the fold predictive analytics, machine learning, natural language processing and smart data discovery for businesses. What this heralds is the ability to deploy real-time insights and predictions that optimise individual customer interactions and the opportunity to scale such processes.
What was said?
Throughout the conference there was a focus on equality and diversity. In fact, the day’s closing keynote was Australia and the Age of Equality, which argued that as much gusto should go into closing the equality gap as is spent on new products and markets.
What does this have to do with a technology conference?
Technology is historically a demographically one-side industry. It reports relatively little representation of minority groups and is notorious for the low proportion of female employees, particularly in leadership positions. Addressing diversity not only makes good business sense, it’s a societal issue. How will change be enacted in technology without its key players getting involved?
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