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Dreamforce To You 2020: Keynote Address with Marc Benioff and Guests

As the unforgettable year that is 2020 comes to a close, the Salesforce ecosystem gathers to find inspiration in digital transformation. Marc Benioff, along with many guests, delivered the Dreamforce To You 2020 virtual keynote address Dec. 2 at 9:40 a.m. PT.

With a focus on the strength of the Salesforce ecosystem and Trailblazer community, the keynote address delivers a message of hope and inspiration for the future by highlighting the innovation that happens during challenging times. Special guests included late night talk show host James Corden, musical performances from Metallica and Lenny Kravitz, and customer success stories from the State of Rhode Island, Bentley, and AT&T.

Dreamforce To You 2020 Keynote Opening Sequence

Reimagining Salesforce Events in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic forced everyone, including multibillion-dollar companies like Salesforce, to reimagine most aspects of day-to-day business. Among the many changes included a shift to virtual Salesforce events in 2020, which opened doors for those who would not have been able to attend.

In an interview with TechRepublic, Salesforce SVP of Strategic Events Karin Flores said, “To me, possibly the greatest silver lining of this is really the inclusiveness that has come with the virtual platform and the virtual events. The barriers of travel, cost, and time have been alleviated, and with that we’ve seen a surge in our event attendance.”

Marc Benioff Dreamforce To You 2020 Keynote Address

Dreamforce To You 2020 began with a soft kickoff in November 2020 with Salesforce Account Executives delivering personalized content and listening to feedback from Salesforce customers. It’s a sharp contrast from the typical Dreamforce experience, which sees over 170,000 attendees descend on San Francisco, Ca., over a four-day period each year.

The seemingly official launch of Dreamforce To You 2020 was delivered in the form of a virtual keynote presentation December 2, 2020, with Marc Benioff as host and several guests including Salesforce customers sharing stories of success on the Salesforce platform.

Marc Benioff Dreamforce To You 2020 Keynote Address

Dreamforce To You 2020 Philanthropy

Benioff kicked off the keynote with a message of thanks to everyone — from frontline healthcare workers to Salesforce Trailblazers — who have stayed resilient through trying times in the past year. “This is not the Dreamforce I wanted or any of you wanted,” said Salesforce Chair and CEO Marc Benioff from a festive outdoor patio beneath the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

Benioff emphasized using business as a platform for change by highlighting several philanthropic contributions Salesforce has made to address issues both local to San Francisco and globally. “Dreamforce is all about you and all of us getting together and having a great time, inspiring each other, motivating each other, and doing great acts for others.”

Meeting new needs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Salesforce bought and distributed 60 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to over 300 hospitals this year, which he attributed to the strong relationships built within the Salesforce Trailblazer ecosystem.

Salesforce Economic Impact and Growth

Despite downward economic trends affecting other industries, Salesforce has continued to grow in 2020. Salesforce is projected to generate $21.1 billion in revenue in 2021 and $25.55 billion in revenue in 2022. In addition, an IDC whitepaper sponsored by Salesforce projects Salesforce customers worldwide will enable the creation of 4.2 million new jobs and generate $1.2 trillion in new business revenue for local economies by 2025.

Benioff shifted to a hopeful tone as he introduced the idea that the challenges of the past year have forced companies to rethink everything and adapt to a new normal. “We’re all here digitally. We’re coming together in new ways,” said Benioff as a perfect segue into a major announcement.

Salesforce Economic Impact and Growth

Salesforce Acquires Slack Technologies

One day before the Dreamforce To You 2020 keynote address, Salesforce announced the acquisition of Slack Technologies, Inc. “We’re making our platform even stronger,” said Benioff with a gesture to the Slack Headquarters sitting adjacent to the location of the keynote address in Salesforce Park.

The $27.7 billion Slack acquisition will enable Salesforce to provide a comprehensive collaborative interface to all systems within the platform.

Founder of Slack Stewart Butterfield explained the advantages of bringing an advanced communication application like Slack into Salesforce. “You’re really creating end-to-end digital transformation,” said Butterfield. Explaining a “spectrum” of pieces that comprise business operational technology, which include systems and automated processes, applications like Sales Cloud, and chat tools like Slack. Butterfield said joining Slack with Salesforce will revolutionize communication for Salesforce customers.

Salesforce President and Chief Operating Officer Bret Taylor worked closely with Butterfield to sort the details of the Slack acquisition. Speaking about the day-to-day changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Taylor said remote work, virtual meetings, curbside pickup, and online shopping are all here to stay. “I think we’re living the future right now,” said Taylor. “This year is an opportunity to accelerate the move into digital.”

Salesforce Acquires Slack Technologies

Salesforce Hyperforce

Introduced as the greatest technological shift in the history of Salesforce, Hyperforce is a new capability that allows Salesforce to deliver the platform using public cloud infrastructure on a global scale. Taylor’s team has been working on the project for over two years, which he says was necessary because of the extensive Salesforce architecture work involved.

Hyperforce brings the Salesforce platform into the modern age by allowing customers to move their data to public cloud systems that store data locally, something that wasn’t possible before the recent architectural overhaul to the Salesforce platform. Among the greatest advantages of Hyperforce is that it’s 100% backward compatible, which means Salesforce developers can rest assured knowing Salesforce apps will not be affected when moved to Hyperforce.

Salesforce Hyperforce

Watch the Full Dreamforce To You 2020 Keynote Address

The full Dreamforce To You 2020 Keynote Address (minus the musical performances) is available here.

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