By Steven Lowery

Salesforce is becoming increasingly unique, as it not only is an outstanding CRM (Customer Relationship Management) company – but  it’s also fostered an incredibly supportive community of individuals that aid one another through their Salesforce journeys. Over the past two or three years, User Groups have expanded to support unique User Group led Salesforce Conferences. I had the pleasure of attending Tahoe Dreamin’ – a Sacramento User Group sponsored event that took place at Lake Tahoe. This event was a jammed packed day of networking, educational sessions and a solid vendor expo. The outstanding Tahoe views and delicious food were just the icing on the cake!

Networking Extravaganza

At other Salesforce events, like Dreamforce, I find myself overwhelmed with the networking scene. I often don’t know who I should talk to, when to exchange business cards, which parties to attend, or if I should approach a vendor. There’s just so much to manage. At Tahoe Dreamin’, all of these anxieties melted away. With a few hundred individuals (compared to Dreamforce’s thousands), it was easy to strike up a conversation with fellow users and get to know them. I found it amazing that many of the folks attending are local users as well. It definitely has me looking forward to my next User Group meeting to see folks I met.

Fellow Cloud for Goodies and Conference Attendees

 

The vendor expo at Tahoe Dreamin’ was perfectly sized, not overwhelming for the amount of attendees. This allowed me to have in-depth conversations with vendors and develop personal relationships with their representatives. This is extremely helpful, as I typically end up having multiple questions for them, and they were each able to dive deeply into their products with me. I definitely left feeling more knowledgeable about different vendors and ready to recommend them to clients, or perhaps I’ll recommend that we use them ourselves!

Up to Date Insights

Another outstanding part of Tahoe Dreamin’ was the ability to get up-to-date information from Salesforce. Shawna Wolverton (VP of Product on the platform) and Adam Seligman (SVP of Developer Relations) from Salesforce showed up wearing some stellar looking ski slope gear from the 1980’s, to deliver some sneak peeks of the Salesforce Product and Trailhead.

Shawna wowed us with some upcoming lightning features for Spring ‘16 (and beyond). One of my favorites is the legitimization of URL hacks! While existing hacks would need to be rebuilt and they currently are not a best practice in Salesforce administration, URL hacks will become an actual thing – soon to be dubbed URL API. Additionally, while every admin is busy mastering components, Salesforce will be releasing more standard components and an even better tool for building out custom ones. Related lists will begin acting more like list views, so you’ll be able to edit data directly. While everyone is getting uber excited for Lightning, Salesforce is perfecting the Lightning Migration Assistant to help make better sense of what’s new in Lightning, updated health checks, and associating Trailheads for Lightning training.

Another big highlight was Process Builder. Shawna shared that in December of 2015 over 15 BILLION processes were run on Salesforce – that’s insane! Everyone is loving Process Builder and using it to better their organization by streamlining away. In  Spring ’16, the ability to drag and drop different rules, as well as process cloning, will become available. These are some big wins! Looking even further down the road, expect Process Builder to listen for events and perfect hand-offs and branching.

We also got a glimpse into Trailhead. With over 350,000 badges earned to date, Trailhead is quickly revolutionizing how users and admins learn Salesforce. Trailhead is expected to up their learner engagement by using metadata to push challenges and experiences to users. This will help ensure that individuals really maximize their time on Trailhead and get the most out of their learning experiences. Salesforce will be releasing some new trails on Diversity & Inclusion and the Salesforce Advantage to expand their offerings, looking to be champions of equality in the industry. Be on the lookout for SUPER BADGES – these will be bigger and meatier challenges for those that are ready to take on larger tasks.

Professional Development

One aspect of Tahoe Dreamin’ that I was pleasantly surprised about was how I left feeling like I worked on myself. Often at Salesforce conferences, being a Salesforce expert may leave you feeling like you’ve given a lot to others, but in the process, you personally did not receive much information to grow your own knowledge. This was definitely not the case at Tahoe Dreamin’. In multiple sessions I was engaged to better my own Salesforce skills and learned quite a bit from MVPs and other Salesforce experts. I was inspired to dig into coding more through a session on Admins that do code and began my learning path right at Tahoe Dreamin’. I left feeling fired up to obtain all the Trailhead badges and explore new certifications. It was incredibly engaging throughout the jam packed day and left me reenergized – ready to better myself and excited to engage further with the community.

If you’re wondering what User Group Experiences are currently scheduled check out these other opportunities or consider starting your own!

London’s Calling – February 5th, 2016

Snowforce in Salt Lake City – February 25-26, 2016

Midwest Dreamin‘ in Chicago – July 21-22, 2016

Southeast Dreamin’ in Atlanta – March 9-10, 2016

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Steven Lowery

Steven Lowery

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