As a FinancialForce PSA partner, attending Dreamforce took on a whole new outlook for us at TOP Step Consulting. In the past, we had a focus on learning more about the partner community, how their tools work with Salesforce, and potential synergies with TOP Step’s professional services consulting focus. TOP Step’s ability to implement solutions with Salesforce integrations has always provided a connection to the Salesforce community. Learning the latest features, best practices, and how we could utilize Salesforce to its fullest potential has been important to us.
This year, in addition to learning more about the Salesforce development platform and tips and tricks from other Salesforce users, we also focused on developing relationships with potential partners to help us be more successful in our new FinancialForce PSA practice.
Here are some of the highlights from Dreamforce we would like to share with you:
Continued expansion of the SalesForce platform
The sheer volume of diversity of the over 350 cloud computing companies showcasing over 1,000 easy-to-integrate solutions shows how flexible the platform is. With flexibility comes the need for discipline. Our experience in Professional Services consulting, including system integrations and user experiences, will bring efficiency and structure to companies interested in the flexible and expandable FinancialForce PSA solution. TOP Step is at the starting gate of our FinancialForce PSA practice, and we look forward to meeting more customers and prospects in the near future as the FinancialForce PSA community grows.
Valuable networking opportunities
FinancialForce had a strong presence throughout the Dreamforce conference. FinancialForce sponsored a gathering where there was a great opportunity to network with company executives and people we had worked with in past careers connected through PSVillage. It was exciting to hear the many success stories of FinancialForce implementations.
FinancialForce Community day
FinancialForce Community Day kicked off the Dreamforce week with a focused 1-day event with content specific to FinancialForce products. Big news launched during community day was the FinancialForce Communities and reporting analytics. Communities will serve as a resource for FinancialForce customers to transfer knowledge, best practices, ask questions, find local customers and partners, and network with other FinancialForce users. Communities will also be a key resource for TOP Step as we grow our footprint in the FinancialForce PSA space. The use of communities will allow us to identify locations for user groups, share implementation best practices, and help clients connect with each other.
Salesforce1 was a big topic in many of the sessions. Salesforce1 allows access to SFDC objects and records, approvals, and chatter that can aid adoption, compliance, and collaboration. Administrators can design mobile apps to focus users on actions and dashboards that are relevant to their job functions and narrow in on simplified record data while accessing from mobile devices. One key takeaway from the mobile apps focus was a need to train users on the apps and advertise app availability. One company rolled out Salesforce1 apps but found adoption low initially. A deeper dive revealed users were not aware of the app and, in some cases, thought the updates may not be immediate. The company has now focused on user training and promoting the app for increased adoption
The big Dreamforce announcement this year was the introduction of Salesforce Analytics Cloud. The idea is to get analytics from Salesforce.com data and other sources in the hands of business users without relying so heavily on developers and data scientists. Even FinancialForce CEO Jeremy Roche said this was a big deal for customers. Possibly even more so than mobile, reports were an overarching theme of the sessions. In one of the sessions, the focus was on reporting best practices. The presenter demonstrated how reports can be shared and can include a chatter feed to allow interested parties the opportunity to discuss the report output without emailing back and forth. This puts new meaning to real-time actionable reports! TOP Step is looking forward to using the power of this new tool with our customers.
There were some great technical sessions targeted at business users without a coding background wanting to take advantage of the development features in Salesforce.com. One of the highlights was a session called Apex for Humans, which translated the fundamentals of Apex syntax and terminology into familiar concepts. In another session, we heard from three admins on how they developed their first triggers – and why they thought we all should too. Certainly supported our thoughts on this valuable topic!
That’s our thoughts on Dreamforce. TOP Step Consulting is looking forward to building the FinancialForce PSA community as we establish FinancialForce PSA Live Person User groups and Webinars in the upcoming months.