Dreamforce 2012: Businesses must prepare for social revolution

Dreamforce 2012 logo

The business world is undergoing phenomenal change, which has been dubbed a social revolution by salesforce.com.

There is no better way to get closer to customers and to engage with and respond to their needs, the company told some 90,000 attendees at its 10th annual Dreamforce conference this week in San Francisco.

"We are standing on shoulders of giants. We are being led by many new prophets. It's changing the world, changing society," CEO Mark Benioff said during his opening keynote.

"This social revolution going on right now is unlike anything we've ever experienced before. That amazing social revolution is touching society - all of us, our personal lives, our companies. Every aspect of our world is changing. That is why it is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to our industry."

Benioff then turned his attention to the audience to ask how they were embracing social media in their workplace. Almost every hand went up.

"Seventy per cent of businesses are now using social in their business. Business is social. Mckinsey says it's a $1.3 trillion dollar addition to our economy," Benioff said, before backing up his company's socially-focused stance with additional statistics.

IDC predicts social networking spend will enjoy annual growth of 47 per cent, while there will be a 123 per cent boost in the level of social customer interactions - building on the 150 million conversations that already happen via social media between businesses and customers, he said, before claiming it was a "customer revolution."

Benioff also cited a recent IBM study that surveyed business leaders about their priorities. It found that social came only behind their sales forces in terms of importance.

"It further clarified our role, our mission, what we're doing in this industry," he added.

"Salesforce.com's mission, our core mission, is to help you our customers to connect with your customers in a whole new way. It is a customer revolution, a partner revolution, an employee revolution, a product revolution. It's an incredible time. It's a spectacular time."

During his time on the stage - and off it as he wandered around the aisles - Benioff was careful to talk about the social nature of business and steered clear of references to the 'social enterprise.'

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.