Social Enterprise Tops Salesforce Partners' Dreamforce 2011 Wish Lists

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Salesforce already said that a key focus of Dreamforce 2011, which kicks off next week in San Francisco, will be on the idea of the social enterprise, and Salesforce partners hope to come away with the tools necessary to get into the field and bring their customers on board. The push toward a social enterprise comes as many Salesforce partners make major investments in their cloud and mobility practices and look to reap the benefits of the evolving technology landscape.

"We expect to see a primary emphasis on the social enterprise," Dave Dahlberg, chief marketing officer for Chicago-based solution provider Model Metrics. "We've seen the interest from our own customer base accelerate quickly over the last six to nine months. Last year there were only a handful of customers that were interested in making their enterprise apps social. Now the social enterprise is a part of more than 60 percent of our customer meetings."

Dahlberg continued: "We're also looking forward to hearing how the social enterprise will take advantage of cloud mobilization. We've invested heavily in mobile R&D over the last few years, and this is a core part of our business. We are at a point now where we have multiple mobile options we can present to our clients and's own mobile strategy is a big part of that."

Corinne Sklar, vice president of marketing for New York cloud provider and Salesforce partner Bluewolf, said that it’s the customers and their successes that will have the largest impact at the Dreamforce 2011 cloud conference.

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On the news front, Sklar said she expects major announcements around Salesforce's social enterprise push, whether that be new products, or key acquisitions.

"I think we're going to see significant developments around that," she said.

Sklar said Bluewolf hopes to hear about advancements around Salesforce's acquisition of Radian6 in March. Radian6 makes technology for monitoring social media networks.

"What we're really excited to see is how Salesforce is integrating Radian6 into its core platform," Sklar said. With a focus on the social enterprise, that is a likely possibility at Dreamforce 2011.

Sklar said Bluewolf will continue to look to hone its agile business story and focus on the growth of collaboration and social media in the B-to-B world. Bluewolf is also hopeful to hear news around the evolution of Heroku, a Ruby-based development platform Salesforce acquired last year.

"News we're waiting to hear is around the long-term vision for Heroku," she said.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Salesforce and cloud provider Appirio will also ramp up its social enterprise efforts around Dreamforce 2011. Appirio solution marketing head Ryan Nichols said the company will be out in full force sharpening its social enterprise saw and will pay special attention to community and engaging clients through an emerging ecosystem.

"There's a real sense of making it real," Nichols said. "We're going to be hearing a lot about the mobile and social enterprise. This is ready for prime time. It's ready to change the business and impact the large enterprise."

While Marc Benioff and Co. are notorious for making major product and acquisition announcements at Dreamforce, Nichols said it's less about the big news this year and more about the proof that the social enterprise is happening now and is not just a future-looking idea. Nichols said Appirio will let its customers do the talking and share their social enterprise stories.

"It's not so much about the feature and functions, though we love to see what's on the roadmap," Nichols said. "What's going to have the biggest impact is hearing the enterprise success stories."