Takeaways from DF 19

Salesforce is doing well as one of the safest platform bets for enterprise-scale companies. The CEO truly cares about making the world a better place. Dreamforce is not a safe place for the Dr. Evils of the world in their pursuit of growth at all costs.

Marc Benioff sets a great example for well-intentioned professionals seeking to become evangelists for ethical capitalism. I’ve been part of this ecosystem for several years. The Salesforce platform is a no-brainer when it comes to scaling cloud technology to meet business goals. It works. However, it’s not cheap. What my customers get in return for the steep costs is an assurance that Salesforce will always do the right things to deliver a solid product and be a good corporate citizen. The additional price tag goes toward things like sustainability, inclusive diversity, 1-1-1, nonprofit cloud, and ethical AI.

From my social impact lens, here are some takeaways:

1. Salesforce and its partners are investing heavily in Health Cloud. Partners like Deloitte Digital have built amazing solutions focused on improving the patient journey. The healthcare industry has too many red staplers and too few APIs. Salesforce is addressing the problem and empowering its partners and customers.

2. Salesforce Blockchain solutions are becoming mainstream. Really inspiring to see Dr. Laura Esserman, a UCSF breast oncologist, share her blockchain software journey to automate the reporting of clinical trial lab results, thereby reducing the amount of time to bring cancer drugs to the market.

3. Sustainability Cloud is almost here, with an upcoming release date in December. I was fortunate to see a LIVE demo. The new solution enables chief sustainability officers to track and capture their company’s carbon footprint. The process apparently can take up to 6 months. The new tool can shorten the cycle to 6 weeks.

4. Ethical AI will become a best practice for software development. AI architect Kathy Baxter gave an inspiring talk about building an ethical AI practice at any company focused on automation.

AI Ethics can be baked into every company’s SDLC.

Too much code is getting shipped without regard to user diversity and impact. There are huge negative ramifications of ‘soulless’ AI innovation. I’ve blogged about this topic before.

5. Salesforce made a large donation to the United Nations to advance Sustainable Development Goals. The rise of so-called populists whose real intention is a power grab at the expense of the public good is putting the world at risk. Most capitalists would object to the limits placed on free trade. Businesses like Salesforce have to step in when international safeguards are being eroded. Without international governance, we will lose the natural environment and its thousands of species.

There’s a ton of hoopla every year at Dreamforce. Most people come for the networking — looking for jobs or to improve their technical teams. A few attend to upsell their customers. Just a handful of folks come for the do-good, feel-good stuff.

At the end of the conference, most people leave remembering the feel-good stuff. Marc Benioff has done a brilliant job of planting the seeds of good business. The conference is worth attending at least once.

Dreamforce truly represents ’Customer Success for Good.’