10 Things To Expect At Salesforce.com's Dreamforce Cloud Conference

Dreamforce 2011

Dreamforce 2011 will kick off next week at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Billed as the world's largest cloud computing event, Dreamforce is poised to draw more than 40,000 people, many of whom are partners. With a several-day agenda that hits all things cloud, and more than 475 sessions featuring 700 experts, Dreamforce is sure to pack a punch.

Here, we take a look at 10 things to expect at Dreamforce 2011.

Social Enterprise Takes Hold

Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff is expected to kick off Dreamforce 2011 with a keynote highlighting the company's vision for "the social enterprise," a new direction that changes the way companies collaborate, communicate and share information with customers and employees in the cloud.

A social enterprise, Salesforce.com said, is a combination of social, mobile and open cloud computing. According to Salesforce, social enterprises build social profiles of customers, create internal social networks and listen to and engage with customers over the Internet.

"Each year at Dreamforce we set the agenda for the cloud computing industry, and this year will be no exception," Benioff said in a statement. "At Dreamforce 2011, we will showcase customers that have embraced innovation and transformed themselves into social enterprises."

Salesforce Partners Are Front And Center

Salesforce is pulling out all of the stops to bring partners aboard at Dreamforce. From a partner-focused keynote presentation to a host of other partner activities, the company is looking to give partners the tools to boost revenue and get into the cloud computing game with a viable business model that is built around recurring revenue. Many of Salesforce's biggest partners will be on-hand to show off their successes and plan how to attack the social enterprise. "With the largest team of Salesforce.com-trained and certified professionals of any global integrator, Accenture has worked hand-in-hand with Salesforce.com for more than six years delivering agile, enterprise-scale cloud computing solutions to help our joint clients make the shift to become a social enterprise," Kevin Campbell, group chief executive of Technology at Accenture, said in a statement. "Our participation at Dreamforce is just one component of our commitment to further strengthen our alliance with Salesforce.com and sharpen our focus on delivering innovative uses of cloud computing that drive business value for the enterprise."

Big Customer Wins

In Salesforce's recent second quarter earnings call, Salesforce said it brought aboard more than 6,000 net new customers, pushing its total to more than 100,000. And at Dreamforce, Benioff and his crew will detail a host of major, multi-million-dollar deals Salesforce signed in the second quarter, while also showcasing a blockbuster customer win that came just after the quarter's close.

"We also saw continued strength in big deals during the second quarter and in all we signed more than 60, we signed more than 60 seven-figure transactions, a 40 percent increase compared with last year, and we signed three, three eight-figure megadeals. In addition, I'm thrilled to tell you, we closed an additional eight-figure megadeal just after the quarter ended with a large telecommunications company that we will be announcing at Dreamforce," Benioff said on the earnings call.

Force.com Gets Fashionable

Salesforce's Force.com development platform has gained tremendous traction and now boasts more than 400,000 developers and 240,000 custom apps. Benioff said on the second quarter earnings call that Force.com was Salesforce's fastest growing business for the quarter. And at Dreamforce, several companies, one high profile luxury brand, will share their Force.com story.

"This quarter, one of the world's great luxury brands, Burberry, selected Force.com to create a social enterprise for its employees, partners, suppliers and customers. You'll meet Burberry at Dreamforce and you'll find out how they plan to create an employee social network tailored to Burberry's exact theme brand standards that will allow its associates, creative teams, partners and vendors to collaborate like never before. And Burberry will also be delivering next generation social apps that let customers experience the Burberry brand and culture anywhere on any device. It's an amazing vision. It's only possible to social enterprise platform."

The Government Goes Cloud

Dreamforce is bringing together a trio of government IT heads to conduct a roundtable highlighting International governments' move to cloud computing architectures and infrastructures.

In the session "A Vision for the Future: The Digital Agenda," Kazuhiro Haraguchi, chairman of Japan's Committee on Internal Affairs and Communications; Vivek Kundra, former U.S. Federal CIO; and Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda will discuss the impact of cloud computing on business, the economy, government and politics. The session will focus on about how governments are trying to harness the transformative power of cloud computing and what it means for business. At Dreamforce, Salesforce is likely to detail more government cloud initiatives in which it is a major player. During the second quarter earnings call, Benioff said that Salesforce has received a U.S. General Services Administration Moderate Level of Authority to Operate. And the GSA became one of Salesforce's second quarter eight-figure deals with a license agreement for 12,000 users.

Heroku Takes Hold

At Dreamforce 2010, Salesforce announced the acquisition of Ruby-based cloud development platform Heroku. Since then, the platform has grown dramatically. According to Benioff, Heroku's developer community now supports more than 170,000 social and mobile apps written in Ruby on Rails. That growth, and new advancements in Heroku, will be outlined at Dreamforce.

"That's more than three times last year's number, and you can expect some exciting announcements around Heroku at Dreamforce," Benioff said.

Cloud Cars?

Salesforce has teamed up with Japanese automaker Toyota to launch its vision for Toyota Friend, an offering that puts the cloud into a vehicle. Benioff explained it this way: "If I have friends on Facebook, why is my car not one of those friends? With Toyota Friend, Toyota is building a social network where its employees, customers, dealers and its products, the cars themselves, are all collaborating to a private and secure enterprise social network."

Benioff continued: "The car is talking to me, telling me when it needs to be charged, where the service station is or important updates from dealers or the factory. It's a vision of a social enterprise that has awakened us to the opportunity of showing our customers a new way of delighting their customers."

It's unclear whether these cloud cars will show up at Dreamforce, but it's a distinct possibility.

New Pricing, Bundles

When asked about the monetization of Salesforce Chatter, Benioff tipped his hand to some new product bundles and pricing packages that will likely be previewed at Dreamforce. While he didn't get into great detail, Benioff said Salesforce has been working on new license opportunities around its social enterprise push.

"…[I]n terms of building a social enterprise, well, it's much more than just Chatter. It's about the Sales Cloud, The Service Cloud and Force.com, Heroku, Radian6 and all the other technology that we have. And when you put all of that together, that is exactly … the opportunity for the social enterprise license agreement, and those, with those large customers that are all over the country that we've been building up over time, more and more, we hear, 'We want a one price for the next the years, and the true-up opportunity, so that we can really double down on your technology.' And we're really working on understanding how to do that, and I think by Dreamforce, we'll have the first introduction of that capability."

Google's Schmidt To Shine

Former Google CEO, and now Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt is expected to take the Dreamforce stage during one general session. The Dreamforce team has been tight-lipped about exactly what Schmidt will discuss, but odds are it will focus heavily on the cloud and how Google rose to cloud supremacy under his leadership.

Metallica At Dreamforce

The metal gods will shine on Dreamforce as it plays host to Metallica. Playing their first ever corporate gig, the metal militia will be in full force.

No life 'til leather!