The Dreamforce Newbie Survival Kit, 2018 Edition

Dreamforce. The name says it all.

Thousands and thousands of people dream about attending, and once they get there, they feel this inexplicable force that draws them back year after year. 2018 will be my eighth year attending Dreamforce, and if I have my way, I will continue return every year, just like the Monarch Butterfly’s annual migration to Mexico, Florida and southern California, except that I use an airplane and BART for my modes of transportation, since I don’t have wings!

Here are a few tips that I think all first-time Dreamforce attendees should know:

1. Wear comfortable shoes – You will walk more than you think. WAY more than you think. Many of the sessions are held in Moscone Center, which is actually three different buildings each with at least two floors of convention space. There are also sessions scattered about the city in various other locations including a theater and many hotels. If you are not used to walking a lot, get on a treadmill or get outside and start walking now! You might even want to bring more than one pair of comfortable shoes…just be sure they are not brand new. Breaking in new shoes at Dreamforce is a recipe for sore and tired feet! Corey Snow walked a lot at Dreamforce 2017!

2. Leave the laptop at home – If you must bring it to San Francisco, leave it secured in the safe at your hotel room. You will quickly find that it becomes very heavy to carry around with you all day, even if it’s one of the ultralight laptops. Opt for a tablet if you have one or even just your smartphone if you are comfortable taking notes on a small device. (Please note – I do NOT always practice what I preach, and I usually pay the price for that. If you must bring your laptop, opt for a backpack or messenger-style bag that can cross your body, not just hang off one shoulder. You don’t want to end the week with a definitive lean.)

3. Wear comfortable clothing – Be sure to dress in layers or bring a light jacket. San Francisco has beautiful weather nearly all year. It never really gets terribly hot or very cold, but with the proximity to the ocean, the chances for a breeze are pretty good, and once the sun goes down, the air could get a little chilly. It will be a little warmer than last year, since Dreamforce is earlier by 6 weeks or so. Personally, being from the Midwest, I love the cool evenings!  It’s what I call camping weather. (Hmm…that fits in nicely with Trailhead!)

4. Don’t forget to eat and stay hydrated – Don’t get so busy with the event that you forget to eat. And by all means, keep drinking water too. (But please do so using a refillable water bottle to keep all the plastic out of the landfills and oceans!) Eating and drinking water is the best way to keep up your energy. Now I know what you’re thinking…if I drink a lot, I’ll need to use the bathroom a lot. That’s true. That’s also part of human nature. There’s time between sessions to find a bathroom, although the lines may be longer between sessions, so if you have a time-slot where you are not in a session, make a pit stop, even if you don’t feel the urge. I bet your body will thank you for it anyway. One thing to note: For those preferring gender neutral bathrooms, you’ll find one on the 2nd level of Moscone West, near room 2004, as well as in the Hilton Union Square and the Marriott Marquis.

 

5. Network –  a.k.a., talk to people. Don’t be scared. Talk to everyone you can. Talk to the person on your right when waiting in line to go into a session. Talk to the person sitting to your left once you get inside a session. When you take a break to eat lunch (included in your conference registration) be brave and sit near people you don’t know…and start a conversation! (Just don’t get so busy you forget about food and water! Remember tip #4 you just read? With all the walking and mental exercise you’ll be getting during Dreamforce, you’ll need all the nourishment you can find!) Back to talking to people –  Just do it. Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens. You’ll never know who you’ll meet. Out of the 45,000 + people at Dreamforce 2011, I managed to sit down for lunch at a table with one of my brother-in-law’s co-workers. (Cue the Walt Disney music: It’s a small world after all!) If you are shy, take the high-tech approach to networking. Bring a surge strip with you and hang out at a charging station between sessions – one surge strip could mean five instant connections.

6. Dreamforce “After Hours” – Be prepared for some long days. This isn’t just an 8am to 5pm conference. Sure that’s when most of the keynotes and breakout sessions occur, but there are also many opportunities for networking before and after those hours thanks to many partners sponsoring parties. Your one stop shop for all the parties at Dreamforce this year is the Anaplan Party List. And don’t forget about the Trailblazer Community, with its many Dreamforce related groups like “New to Dreamforce” and “Dreamforce Newbie Reunion Breakfast” (Shameless plug number 1: That’s a group that I am organize, and it’s purpose is to help Dreamforce first-timers make a connection or two, while helping to raise money for Project Night Night. Want to attend the breakfast on Tuesday, September 26th from 6:30am to 8:30am? Register here.) One more point about “after-hours” – don’t overdo it on the alcohol! You will need to be well rested for the next day’s adventures at Dreamforce, and while alcohol may help you fall asleep, to much of it can make waking up in the morning more of a challenge. (Some people call me the “one-hit wonder”…one adult beverage, and then I’m onto water the rest of the night.)

6. Training – If you can, take advantage of the pre-conference training and certification opportunities, Dreamforce is the perfect opportunity for that too, and at a discounted price too! Once you get your certification, tweet it out with #ThisOneIsForYouTamiEsling, use the same hashtag in the Trailblazer Community and on Facebook too! Doing so will make your celebration of certification a tribute to the late Tami Esling, a Salesforce MVP who passed away on March 5th, 2016, who made it her mission to help people get certified.

7. Go Global – Dreamforce doesn’t just happen in San Francisco. Dreamforce happens all over the globe! Attend a Salesforce World Tour or Trailhead Live event in your area. Look here for an event near you. Join a user group in your area and attend the meetings regularly. Look for awesome regional, Community led Salesforce events, and attend those too! The Trailblazer Community is an awesome way to expand your knowledge and increase not only your network of people, but also the resources you can count on to help you solve problems.

8. All Year Long – Dreamforce isn’t just a week during the year. Thanks to the Trailblazer Community it’s a perpetual event. Get active on the Community and share your struggles and your successes. Get connected with the people you will meet BEFORE you get to Dreamforce and make friends that last a lifetime!

So why do so many people attend Dreamforce year after year? In a word, because it is AWESOME!

Want to meet up with me at Dreamforce? Tweet me!

5 Things you might not know about Panaya – Managing Change Impact in Salesforce

Guest post from Ronit Eliav, Director of Product Marketing, Panaya

Who is Panaya and why we care about SFDC

Panaya is the leader in continuous delivery of innovation to the world of enterprise IT applications. As SFDC environments mature, they become more complex, making any system alteration or change a major risk. We enable risk-free change of Salesforce.com business applications.

What is RDx for SFDC

Panaya Release Dynamix (RDx) for Salesforce.com is a release management solution that pinpoints areas impacted by change so you can foresee and resolve potential change delivery risks. It helps you make informed decisions when going into production.

(EFD – Who remembers Panaya ChangeGuru, and who missed that when it was decommissioned off the AppExchange? Keep reading – you’ll enjoy the rest of this!)

How we provide visibility

With Panaya RDx for Salesforce, change is no longer a calculated guesswork.  How do we enable release certainty? The solution provides a full view of change dependencies and usage statistics so that you can pinpoint the  impact of all code developed. This way you can foresee and resolve any risks associated with the change prior to production.

(EFD – “Prior to production” – did you see that? You can see and resolve issues before things go live.)

Panaya Release Dynamix for Salesforce: Scoping

How we remove risk

Panaya RDx helps you understand the impact of all code developed before going to production. Once scoped items have been defined, you can decide which impacted customization and development components should be changed. For every scoped entity, a deep analysis is available, with detailed component dependencies including: code change highlights, usage rating, modification dates, and touchpoints to external applications. With an auto-generated list of impacted components, you can easily assign development and customization tasks to team members.

Panaya Release Dynamix for Salesforce: Dependency Map

How we ensure quality

Panaya RDx automatically generates test plans for safe release to production. Once the list of development and customization components has been created, a test plan can easily be defined. This is done based on an analysis of the chosen components and an auto-generated list of related testing entry points. For every entry point, a test owner may either link a test from an existing catalog, ask the system for test recommendations or create a new test.

(EFD – Panaya is trying to make your life easier. Shouldn’t you at least talk to them about a demo at Dreamforce?)

Release Dynamix for Salesforce addresses those pain points associated with releasing changes so that IT teams can deploy faster with quality. Calculated guesswork is removed and replaced with data-based decision making to ensure confident deployment.

See for yourself, download 5 tips to Safe and Fast Salesforce.com System Changes.

5 things you might not know about Salesforce Partner Digitsec, Inc.

Special guest post from Allison Wolf, Social Media Manager.

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Never heard of Digitsec, Inc.? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them.

1: We’re a young startup that packs a powerful punch.

DigitSec, Inc. was founded in early 2017 by our CEO, Waqas Nazir. Waqas had spent the previous 8 years working as a cyber security consultant for Fortune 100 companies and had amassed a large amount of knowledge and insight around SaaS application security design. After noticing a gap in the marketplace, he created S4 – SaaS Security Scanner for Salesforce. It was an instant success with clients and has continued to make waves in the Salesforce industry ever since. Shortly after the company was founded, DigitSec became a registered ISV partner with Salesforce – allowing us to join the AppExchange and help a greater number of people.

(EFD – Do you know the S4 process?)

2: S4, our SaaS security scanner, does a lot more to protect your data than other security solutions on the market.

With our patented white-box fuzzing, S4 can rapidly identify injection flaws other security scanners on the market aren’t able to detect. This enables us to offer vulnerability tracking for risks like authorization bypass, stored cross-site scripting, and Lightning components XSS – all of which are not currently offered by other similar security solutions. Learn more about the other risks and vulnerabilities we cover here.

(EFD – Check out the list of risks and vulernabilities covered…it’s quite a list!)

3. Salesforce security is more than what we sell – it’s what we practice every day.

At DigitSec, a commonality between employees is our passion for security. Everyday we think about how we can improve our solution and better protect Salesforce users. One of the ways we do this, is by looking ahead and keeping track of data privacy trends and compliance laws. Leading up to the GDPR for example, we devised our security scanner to account for each of the law’s relevant security regulations. By acting right away, we helped many companies meet compliance levels before it was too late – saving them from heavy fines and potential breaches.

(EFD – I’m sure many companies are glad to have you looking out for their interests when it comes to privacy and compliance laws!)

4. We put a high value on the relationships we’ve developed in the Salesforce community.

There’s hardly a Salesforce conference out there we haven’t been to and had a wonderful time at. We love our ever-growing Salesforce Ohana and can’t say ‘thank you,’ enough to the people we’ve met since the company first started. You’ve been our friends, our customers, and even our mentors.

digitsec london

Here’s Digitsec’s CRO Ryan Smith with Salesforce Trailblazer Community notables Lauren Touyet and Zachary Jeans. Photo taken at London’s Calling, February, 2017.

(EFD – The Salesforce Trailblazer Community is what brings us all together.)

5. We offer a free version of our SaaS security scanner you can test today.

At the end of the day, we want every Salesforce user to be able to have secure data. If they’re not aware of the risks their platforms face though, it’s hard to help them. That’s why we created a free version of S4. With one click, Salesforce users can scan their instance and receive a detailed report of the risks and vulnerabilities confronting it. You can test out the free version of S4 here.

(EFD – Be sure to check out the free version and get your detailed report.)

EFD – Thanks, Allison, for bringing the value of Digitsec to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

Hurry! Offer Expires at 11:59 PM Central Time, July 31, 2018!

Want to Attend Dreamforce 2018, and Help Homeless Children at the Same Time?

If you had the chance to do something (that you do every year) and help a great cause at the same time, would you do it?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question, but do me a favor, answer it anyway.

My answer would be a resounding ‘Yes!’ I try to give back to the Salesforce community every chance I get. So I reached out into my network of connections in search of a pass to Dreamforce that I could auction off with the proceeds going to Project Night Night. I was very fortunate in that the first person I emailed replied back with a resounding “Happy to provide that for you.”

Today I’m thrilled to launch the 2018 edition of the “Attend Dreamforce, Help a Homeless Child” auction. The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Place you bid here.
  2. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM Central Time on July 31, 2018.
  3. The highest bid wins.
  4. Free pass covers conference registration fees only. All travel and other accomodations are the responsibility of the winner.

When registration for Dreamforce 2018 opens, the rate for a full Dreamforce pass will be $1,899.

One lucky winner will get a free pass to attend Dreamforce and many homeless children will get a NightNight pack from Project Night Night.

Please answer these two questions:

  1. Do you, or someone you know, still need a pass to Dreamforce, or want to save money on the pass you already have?
  2. Do you want to help children have sweeter dreams at the same time?

If you answered yes to both questions, please place your bids here. To see the current high bid, follow me on Twitter and search for #DF18PNN_HIGHBID.

The bidding will close at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

If you happened to answer the first question with a no, please visit Project Night Night and consider making a donation.

Either way, please follow Project Night Night on Twitter and support their cause with prayers!

Thanks!

Come Celebrate a year of Salesforce Saturday in Chicago

Special Guest Post by Mary Tagler.

Mary Tagler

For Chicago, it all started with a Tweet.

The lovely Jen Nelson asked who ran our local Salesforce Saturday group and the answer was no one. At the time, I didn’t know a lot about Salesforce Saturday, but the idea intrigued me and I batted the idea of starting one around. Then I went to TrailheaDX in 2016 and met Stephanie Herrera. Her enthusiasm is infectious; the doubts and hesitations I had about kicking off a Salesforce Saturday group in my hometown transformed into ideas and excitement. I came back ready to make it happen.

So what is Salesforce Saturday? Started in 2015 in Austin, it has become a global movement to motivate and inspire our current and future Ohana while strengthening our community spirit. Spending your Saturday Salesforce-ing might sound strange as many of us spend our weekdays immersed in the system and weekends are our time, but I honestly look forward to every single one. It excites me to laugh, collaborate, network, and learn with some great people. I am so pleased to see new faces, satisfied when they find the help they seek, and elated when they come back for another one.

Our Midwest Dreamin’ 2018 Salesforce Saturday will be our one-year anniversary. In that year, I’ve meet some wonderful people and deepened relationships with others. We also grew from one Saturday a month to two and excitedly participated in the first Global Trailhead challenge.

Summer is one of the best times to explore Chicago. If you’re considering extending your Midwest Dreamin’ experience into the weekend, we would love to have you spend some of it with us at Salesforce Saturday.

Register for Chicago Salesforce Saturday, July 14, 2018 here.

Join the Chicago Salesforce Saturday group on the Trailblazer Community.

5 things you might not know about Skyvia – Salesforce data integration & backup platform

Special guest post from Alex Hirniy, Head of Skyvia Platform.

alex hirniy

Never heard of Skyvia? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them.

One: Skyvia is a product of Devart, a well-known vendor of a data connectivity solutions.

Devart is software development company with 20+ years of experience in creating the database tools for developers and administrators. The company has more than a dozen product lines and is trusted by over 40k of grateful customers, including companies from Fortune 100 and Fortune 500.

4 years ago Devart entered the cloud data integration market with Skyvia – at that time a simple Salesforce data loader tool. From that time the product has evolved greatly. Now Skyvia is a full-featured cloud data platform suitable for solving a wide range of business data-related tasks. Skyvia supports over 30 major cloud applications & databases and has over 20,000 of devoted users from companies of different sizes and industries.

(EFD – Are you one of the over 20,000 already using Skyvia?)

Two: All-in-one platform for a wide range of data-related tasks

Skyvia is an all-in-one cloud data platform with support for all major cloud and on-premise data sources. It solves a wide range of data related tasks, including no coding data integration for automating data workflows, managing data via SQL from web, exposing data as an OData endpoint, and protecting it via a secure cloud-to-cloud backup. Skyvia is an intuitive and easy-to-use web product that provides a convenient GUI to configure and automate your data-related tasks.

(EFD – Check out the supported data sources…it’s quite a list!)

Three: Easy Salesforce integration and backup

Skyvia’s goal is to automate routine tasks and data flows and save your time. It is a completely no coding solution both for IT professionals and people without any technical skills. You can use Skyvia to integrate Salesforce data with multiple cloud and on-premise data sources, ETL your business data to a database for archiving or analysis, expose database and cloud data via OData to access it directly from the Salesforce interface via Salesforce Connect, etc. All the integrations are configured in an intuitive UI and can be flexibly scheduled for automatic execution.

In addition to data integration, Skyvia platform offers a daily automatic backup for Salesforce. Skyvia stores your backups in a secure Azure GRS storage, and at any time you can restore your data directly from web browser in just a few clicks.

(EFD – Backups stored in Azure – wait a sec, that’s Microsoft!)

Four: We value our clients by delivering the best support

Skyvia team adheres to customer-oriented approach. We use best customer success practices in order to help our customers with on-boarding and assist should they have questions later on. Our customers address us the way they like: at our Support portal, via an online chat in the application, or just schedule a demo/on-boarding call with a technical specialist and management.

As a result, we help our customers to set up their accounts and solve even the most difficult scenarios quickly and seamlessly.

(EFD – The support portal looks similar to the Salesforce Trailblazer Community Answers forum.)

Five: Skyvia future plans

Skyvia’s mission is to provide a universal product for solving all the data related tasks in one platform suitable for companies of any size. We constantly improve Skyvia’s usability, performance, add support for more connectors, and we plan to significantly increase the number of supported cloud applications in near future. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority.

Currently, our team is developing a new product – a visual designer for automating workflows in a company and providing a true trigger-based integration. Find us in Facebook or Twitter and keep updated about our future releases and improvements, or try Skyvia right now.

(EFD – Check you their story, and be sure to check out the app.)

EFD – Thanks, Alex, for bringing the value of Skyvia to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

5 things you might not know about Salesforce ISV Partner StatX

Special guest post from Prasad Raje, Founder & CEO, StatX.

Prasad Raje

Never heard of StatX? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them. (EFD – I had never heard of them until getting connected to them leading up to Midwest Dreamin’ 2017.)

One: StatX is to desktop browser apps what Salesforce was to on-premise apps.

Salesforce was built on the promise of “No Software” and was one of the pioneers of business apps in the cloud. StatX is taking this to the next level of “No Desktop”. We are a pure mobile app because this is the ubiquitous computer that is in the hands of 2.2 billion people and mobile use and traffic now exceeds desktop. (EFD – I wonder how many people are reading this post on a mobile device right now.)

Two: StatX is a complete re-thinking of business mobile apps.

Our design philosophy for StatX is that we do not want to re-create a miniature web app on mobile. Users do not want to click and explore or spend as much time in mobile apps as they do on the desktop in a web app. StatX is a complete re-think from the ground up of the mobile use case in a simple, beautiful, easy to use app. (EFD – So StatX is kind of like mobile phones were back in the 1980s…a totally new approach to an old problem.)

Three: StatX relieves pipeline anxiety.

StatX with Salesforce brings sales progress to the user instead of requiring constant attention, keeps teams in sync in real-time for faster communication on deals, presents deals and dashboards visually together for efficient consumption, enables easy succinct updates on deals on mobile to improve sales data quality and improves user adoption of Salesforce. See it in action in this demo video or try it for yourself by downloading the mobile app or try the Test Drive in AppExchange. (EFD – You’ve said a mouthful there – a very important mouthful: in sync, real-time, faster.)

Four: StatX is like Google Now™ for Business.

StatX also connects to other data sources in the cloud like QuickBooks, MailChimp, GitHub, Google Sheets or even desktop Excel to bring visual, succinct information to mobile for fast consumption, change updates and easy collaboration. We have built a general platform that we can build connectors to any REST API in the cloud – eventually we will open this for 3rd parties. (EFD – Check out the integrations page on their website for more details.)

Five: StatX founding story.

StatX was founded by Prasad Raje and Pablo Bellver. Prasad had previously sold his enterprise cloud software company (Instantis) to Oracle. Pablo had co-created Google Now as one the first engineers on the team. They joined forces to create StatX to bring relevant information to business users on mobile (full story). (EFD – Check you their story, and be sure to check out the app.)

EFD – Thanks, Prasad, for bringing the value of StatX to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.