RenaissanceTech goes to Dreamforce – Recap
From the moment I stepped out of the San Francisco airport, I was immediately swept into the mega-convention that is Salesforce’s massively attended, “Dreamforce”. I was eager to get to the conference and an Uber landed me in a rideshare with a Salesforce marketing specialist. We had an engaging conversation ranging from all thing’s tech and Salesforce, to marketing psychology and the Japanese concept of ikigai. This foreshadowed the broad range of topics I would experience throughout my time at Dreamforce 2022.
Upon arrival at the Moscone Center, Partner Ben Karam and I were amazed by the transformation into “Dreamforce National Park” – an urban forest of trees, stone sculptures and Salesforce’s trademark woodland creatures. The scene was lively and people were headed in all directions, taking in the different areas of the conference – while other CRM companies bought ad space nearby and a handful of protestors looked to piggyback on the event. Throughout the venues, the forest theme was prevalent and added to the atmosphere. There were many sessions delivered in open areas, with every attendee receiving headphones that were tuned only to the speaker. I was excited to see what messaging and key trends the Salesforce ecosystem was seeing, and how we could incorporate any valuable information into our customer’s projects. The value of learning and understanding more of Salesforce and its users is paramount to us, not only because we specialize in the integration of Infor CPQ and Salesforce CRM, but also being that “Continuous Improvement” is a key company value of RenaissanceTech.
We joined in with 40,000 other end users, partners and vendors alike to learn more about what’s on the horizon for this software giant. With the stream of celebrity and motivating speakers – refreshingly an all-women lineup with powerful messaging. It wasn’t difficult to bring back some relevant takeaways for our CPQ firm in Columbus, Ohio.
Embracing the shift into B2C/B2B2C
Many sessions we attended, highlighted trends we’ve noticed in our world of CPQ. One of the newest being, a shift towards enabling B2C and B2B2C models of selling (and in some cases, even selling via kiosk). There is not only a need for configuration of complex products, services and processes, but also guided selling – where the user is taken through the selection process to determine the best fit for their need. The system must support a combination of novice users who need an abundance of product information, and expert users who are looking to quote as quickly as possible. Configuration engines must be capable of handling complex calculations, at a speed fast enough that the user doesn’t know it is happening. No matter the complexity of what’s being configured, more and more businesses want to open up quoting and configuring to the public. This further validates the reasons we saw a need to create SwiftSell (https://renaissancetech.com/free-cpq-trial/) which enables companies to embed Infor CPQ directly on their websites for anonymous end users to engage with products before buying. It’s an exciting shift, and one we welcome working with our customers on.
Room to Learn means Room to Grow
What can we improve in our current and future offerings? The ability to integrate with best of breed solutions was a frequent topic. People want solutions that work seamlessly with other solutions. This is also something that we have seen become more and more important throughout our projects. One source of truth for maintenance, but that data being dispersed into any system that could benefit from this information. The advantage of our manufacturing CPQ solution is that it is an agnostic one. It was originally designed to work standalone and doesn’t need to be launched from a specific ERP or CRM to quote. With over 25 existing integrations, the ultimate benefit is connecting Infor CPQ with your ERP to provide a seamless order entry system. Continuing to develop more integrations, will be key to staying relevant in the ever-changing tech landscape. We welcome the possibility of new partnerships to provide new capabilities and new integration potential with Infor CPQ.
Provoking Change and Giving Back
Themes of provoking change and giving back were prevalent throughout Dreamforce. Whether it was the slogan “Business is the greatest platform for change” printed below the Moscone Center sign, or the star-studded, environment friendly lineup of speakers. It was clear, preserving our environment is a key corporate mission. There were also tree planting stations, which showcased Salesforce’s participation in the 1t.org initiative (planting 1 trillion trees by 2030). Typically, it’s profits, revenue and bottom-line that drive corporate America, but that’s unfulfilling in my opinion. It was refreshing to attend a conference that pushed the value of giving back to the world, more than adding dollars to the bank.