SAN FRANCISCO---For Salesforce.com, 2013 was all about bringing connected business apps forward to mobile devices.
At Dreamforce this year, it is about bringing customized user interfaces and development along for the ride too for a more well-rounded package, according to Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris during a panel on Wednesday.
Opting for a simple dark suit instead of the Lightning superhero costume he donned at Tuesday's product keynote, Harris credited the wearables trend as a key channel for pushing Salesforce's innovation forward, but he lamented that "enterprises are still at the mobile step right now."
Alex Dayon, president of products at Salesforce, argued that as the Internet-of-Things movement takes hold, the companies that will "survive this new world" are the ones that transform themselves along those lines.
There are two critical aspects to fostering innovation, Dayon continued, which he defined as remembering it's a team sport and listening to customers.
"There's no point in releasing 20 new features if no one thinks it's going to be cool using them," Dayon stressed.
"Sometimes we get innovation from acquisitions. Sometimes it's internal," Harris concurred. Both Parker and Dayon credited many of its recent developments to last year's purchase of business intelligence analytics startup EdgeSpring.
For the CRM giant, its latest self-professed contributions to innovation are the Salesforce1 Lightning framework and Salesforce Analytics Cloud with Project Wave. Both of these platforms are being turned around and reaimed at its customers to encourage building connected apps and devices through the Salesforce cloud.
In a nutshell, Salesforce1 Lightning is supposed to respond and perform for different client devices and mobile operating systems so that companies can build business apps faster without having to worry about producing numerous versions on its own.
Harris clarified that Salesforce's mobile vision is focused on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, acknowledging that Blackberry is not a chief priority.
Harris observed that everything has gone from less of a website-perspective to a much richer UI, which is why Lightning -- previously an internal product -- is being released to its customers.
Both executives also cited Microsoft as an example of a larger industry player responding to this shift. On the portfolio integration news with the Windows maker this week, Harris praised CEO Satya Nadella for how he has "transformed the company," making it a little more open to competition while answering its customers.