Inspired by a casual conversation with Suyati Director Vincent, held at a random aisle at the Suyati office, the Cloud Workshop came to life. His encouragement transformed what was originally planned as a set of classroom sessions, into a Cloud Workshop that would benefit every Suyatian, irrespective of their domain.
The Salesforce Evangelism Team along with Suyati CTO Karthikeyan then formulated the workshop structure – one week of developer training + technology update sessions, for an hour daily.
The event was kick started with a huge audience brimming with energy. Budding cloud developer Nidhin put the audience in a good mood with a lively intro to the Salesforce and Force.com platform. After diving into a technology overview, he explained the concept of Apps, Custom Objects and Custom Fields in Salesforce. The interesting part was that he explained the concepts by describing the goal of the application, and relating custom objects in Salesforce to entities in OOPS, and tables in database. This helped the audience understand the terminologies, a brilliant move considering that the listeners included developers, leads, architects, and marketing & sales teams.
Thought provoking questions from the audience about Salesforce capabilities, CRM comparison statistics, integration aspects and legacy app migration, brought the discussion alive.
Next was the evangelism session on “Salesforce Communities and Collaboration,” by Deepak, our own Force.com Certified Developer Evangelist. He demonstrated the social side of Salesforce by showing the impact of the Salesforce Success Community, Stack Exchange and Developer Force. He advised the audience that they should start looking at these social communities to get a better understanding of how Salesforce technology is fast changing, as well as on dealing with customer expectations. The audience gasped as they learnt that Deepak is the top 8th rated Salesforce Success Community Leader.
The Day 2 plans for the Cloud Workshop were designed around agile, based on audience feedback from Day 1. Since the participants were from varied backgrounds like .NET, Android Development, ASP.NET MVC Web, CMS Development, the first topic tackled was, “Why should anyone choose Salesforce as a technology option?” This got all the resident Salesforce evangelists fired up, each wanting to deliver the verdict!
Appropriately, 3 of them – Senior Developer Evangelist Abhishek, Force.com & Certified Developer Evangelists, Deepak & Arun – took over the floor. First, the basic difference between Salesforce.com, Salesforce and Force.com was deliberated upon, to create clarity in the minds of the listeners. This was especially for the newbies, and their smiles were loud and clear. Then, the service architecture of Force.com was explained in detail. At this point, our architects’ smiles were the widest. Going forward, the capabilities of the Force.com platform was dwelt upon. The features explained were, hold your breath; Mobility, Identity, Chatter, Point & Click Development, Multi Language Development, Visual Workflows, Drag and Drop Analytics, User Access, Easy API Integration, Cloud Database, Website Development, Translation Workbench and Multi-Tenant Architecture Cloud Infrastructure. Now, it was the turn of our Open Source, Android and HR Teams to grin big.
Keeping up the tempo, CRM systems available in the market were compared. They included Zoho CRM, Sugar CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Salesforce. This piqued the business and marketing teams enough, for them to express their pleasure as well. As is obvious, the business advantages of choosing Salesforce over other CRMs were highlighted way above the disadvantages!
Then, it was time to showcase some success stories authored by Salesforce. To this effect, the story of GE Aviation, whose GenEx aircraft engines used Salesforce Chatter to increase flight safety and better maintenance operations, was inspiring.
This video was also a visual treat for all the workshop participants.
As curtains fell on Day 2, the plethora of questions indicated that quite a few were very motivated to take the plunge, and master Salesforce technology.
(NOTE: As per requests from Suyatians who couldn’t attend, and netizens in general, our blogs on the days to follow will be more ‘techie.’ Do watch this space for that!)