Dreamforce 2011, what's to like?

Huge posters announce social enterprise as the big theme of Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce conference, taking place this week in San Francisco's South of Market district.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

Posters went up around the Moscone conference center in sun-drenched San Francisco yesterday, celebrating social as the big theme of Dreamforce this year. The emphasis on social had been semaphored as early as June, when Marc Benioff began rehearsing Salesforce.com's social enterprise messaging at its CloudForce event in DC. It has intensified in some of the announcements and rumors that have been swirling the past week — a possible acquisition of Assistly, integration with Yammer and the company's own PR spin to local media. Expect announcements not only during Marc Benioff's opening keynote on Wednesday, but also in his second keynote the following day. [Disclosure: Salesforce.com is a consulting client and has paid my accommodation to be at Dreamforce this year.]

There's bound to be much to 'like' (if that's your thing — as I mentioned yesterday, I don't have a Facebook account but I will be posting occasional tweets). As well as observing, I'll be participating as a speaker this year, appearing at a session with SnapLogic called Integration is Dead: Connecting the Cloud to Your Business at Warp Speed [disclosure: a paid consulting engagement]. I'll be talking about a phenomenon I'm calling the 'connection imperative', which is a consequence of the wider, cloud-enabled trend that's sweeping away many of the barriers to interaction in business and creating a demand for a radical new approach to integration.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should also mention that I'll be wined and dined during the week by many of the vendors I work with and write about, including Workday, Get Satisfaction, NetSuite, Appirio, SnapLogic, SAP and others. These will of course be business encounters just as much as they are social, and I look forward to sharing with you here what's of interest from those discussions over the coming days and weeks.

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