Dreamforce 2023: The Biggest Data & AI Event of The Year

AllCloud Blog:
Cloud Insights and Innovation

People come to Dreamforce for a lot of reasons — to check out the latest and greatest tech, to glean best practices, to vibe with similar-minded folks, or all of the above. 

But this year, there’s one more big reason to make the trip to San Francisco: AI.

A few years ago, people would’ve been puzzled by this theme, questioning whether AI was that applicable to real-world problems.

Not anymore.

Since chatGPT’s release last fall, AI has taken the world by storm. And Salesforce has fully embraced it, weaving AI expertly into multiple products, improving baseline Einstein and even launching a new Data Cloud to help companies manage the vast datasets driving ML algorithms.

The question is, have you embraced it?

If you have, Dreamforce will give you the tools and strategies to level up your AI tactics. And if you haven’t, Dreamforce will reveal AI’s power.

As a 9-time Dreamforce attendee, I’m most excited for my 10th return. In this post, I’ll explain what I think you can expect this year and how to make the most of your time at the conference.

What to Expect: Data, Data, Data

In my opinion, 2023 will be the first truly data-centric Dreamforce. Yes, Salesforce has brought analytics to the forefront in recent years, but AI is finally going to be the star of the show.

And I’ve already started to see Salesforce scale up the hype.

Salesforce Connections was heavily focused on AI, data and CRM. But the biggest area of focus was Salesforce’s Data Cloud — a “data layer” that sits across all Salesforce products. With these plugs and previews, we could only imagine that Salesforce was going to double down on these themes at Dreamforce.

The agenda is the proof in the pudding. AI, Data and CRM are all over the Dreamforce registration page, and the schedule is already broken down into corresponding categories:

  • AI-powered innovation
  • Faster data-driven decisions
  • Smarter CRM
  • Meet the future of business

Gleaning smart ways to integrate AI into enterprise workflows is the name of the game in the AI age, and Dreamforce is poised to get you ahead of the competition, showcasing new use cases and solution recommendations.

But how do you make sure you take full advantage of what Dreamforce has to offer? Keep reading.

4 Tips for a Successful Dreamforce

After a near-decade of Dreamforces, I’ve got my strategy down pat. Here are four tips to help you maximize your time at the conference:

1. Know What You’re Coming For

Knowing what you’re coming in for can help you narrow down the possibilities and ensure you extract value from the limited days you have in SF.

Generally, attendees come to Dreamforce to get the scoop on the Salesforce product roadmap and brainstorm ways to integrate new functionality into their offerings and delivery process once it becomes available. Attending feature demos is critical — since new Salesforce products and updates are not yet released, the sessions aren’t recorded for later viewing. And they’re a consultant’s only chance to hear (and participate in) Q&A regarding timelines, use cases and limitations.

While roadmap sessions can be exciting for attendees, the most valuable content typically comes from their peers. Seeing what problems colleagues in similar industries are having and how they’re using Salesforce to overcome them can spur ideas for new initiatives or strategies to try.

Attendees can also benefit from the Hands-on Trainings, or HOTS, from Salesforce’s product team. While they are an extra cost, customers get so much more out of an applied experience building and learning in a safe environment.

2. Make a plan

Next, try to align your objectives with your agenda. Look at the session schedule ahead of time and make a rough plan of the events you want to make each day. But don’t fill it to the brim — you might come across another session you want to fit in or want to capitalize on an opportunistic networking opportunity. Strive to sketch out 80% of your day so that you have some wiggle room.

And if you’re looking for a specific solution, do your research ahead of time. Use AppExchange to see if the vendor you want to speak to will have a booth. Maybe you can connect and schedule an appointment in advance.

Lastly, keep in mind that Dreamforce is a fairly distributed conference. Build in some travel time so you’re not rushing to get from place to place and don’t forget to give yourself some breaks during the day.

3. Network

Networking is an essential component of Dreamforce for consultants and customers alike. If you already know someone you want to talk to will be there, proactively book a meeting and slot it into your schedule. Outside of these meetings, make a point to introduce yourself to those sitting around you during sessions, when chatting at a booth, or at happy hours. Be authentic and helpful.

Consider connecting with people on LinkedIn right away and create a reminder to follow up with them two weeks post-Dreamforce or sooner. The longer you wait, the less likely you will do it and the less likely they will remember you. Craft relevant and respectful follow-ups that nod to how and where you met them and demonstrate the value you can bring to them — but don’t expect anything in return.

And remember, you don’t need to connect with everyone. Like they say, quality over quantity. Be mindful of others’ time and your own.

4. Home In on What’s Hot

As discussed, AI will be taking center stage at this Dreamforce, and it’s critical to get in on the action. But watching demos or participating in workshops just scratches the surface of what AI can do. And making the leap from theory to practice can be tough.

Try to fit in time for a more customized assessment of your organization’s tech stack and goals to see what AI-related next steps are reasonable and feasible with your budget and resources. AllCloud will be making a splash at Dreamforce, and our team is eager to talk to you about how generative AI and ML can drive growth, efficiency and innovation in the enterprise. Our specialists can highlight several AI use cases that will help you make an immediate impact upon your return.

See You There

AI has the potential to completely revamp your GTM and operations, giving you a significant competitive advantage. But without solid use cases and tools, you’re flying blind. Going to Dreamforce will give you a sneak peek into what’s possible, and meeting with highly experienced practitioners give you a clear understanding of how to make it a reality.

As the Global ML/AI AWS Partner of the Year, AllCloud knows a thing or two about how to incorporate generative AI into enterprise organizations in a way that facilitates productivity, enables data-driven decision-making and accelerates digital transformation.

Get ahead of the game by booking time with me or any of our AllCloud experts at Dreamforce today or by requesting a Generative AI & ML Assessment.

Chris Zullo

Marketing Cloud Practice Director

Read more posts by Chris Zullo