Rob Cowell · 4th October 2022
People, presentations and possibilities: Dreamforce 2022
Dreamforce 2022 marked my return to the biggest Salesforce event, after my first visit in 2011. If you saw my earlier article, you’ll know that this time I went far better prepared to maximize my experience. Here are some of my highlights over ten years later.
As you’ll have seen from other post-Dreamforce breakdowns, something most attendees really valued this year was the ability to reconnect in person, at scale. While the quoted attendance figure of around 45,000 is still smaller than years gone by, this year definitely felt like a return to form.
For me, the biggest outcome of this was the ability to connect with so many people in person that I’d only ever spoken to online – in some cases, for many years. There’s no substitute for face-to-face conversations to build those Salesforce relationships! Here at Gearset we fostered those connections by engaging in community-led events, including volunteering efforts at some of San Francisco’s public parks, as well as both hosting and attending afterparties and other networking events in order to connect with the community.
Content-wise, Dreamforce is all about the presentations and sessions, and this year was no exception. The main keynote was not without its usual big product announcements!This year seemed to be primarily about the new Salesforce Genie capability, which allows for real-time updates and insights from disparate sources to further deliver on Salesforce’s promise of a true Customer 360 view.
Another big focus area was the Well-Architected Framework, which codifies suggested architectural best practice into a set of prescriptive (but not proscriptive) guidelines, to ensure a robust and healthy implementation of any project on the Salesforce Platform.
As a DevOps Advocate, however, the most important area was — of course – DevOps. Salesforce’s own DevOps Center attracted the most attention and it’s good to see the product slowly mature as a far better alternative to change sets. The majority of features that folks seem to be asking for remain as roadmap items at this early stage, but the product is definitely maturing — reflecting the growing importance of DevOps to the Salesforce community.
I particularly enjoyed the presentation from John Eichstadt of Marcus and Millichap, who was involved in the pilot phases of DevOps Center. He shared a candid and honest overview, including insights into how the product testing involved multiple scenarios and an audience of varying technical levels within his own company, along with glimpses of the future DevOps Center roadmap.
Outside of the DevOps Center, there were some great presentations on Salesforce DevOps in the wider sense.Mitch Spano and Maksim Khokhlov from Google presented on their approach to rapid delivery of change in that organization – there were some great techniques highlighted in that session, such as using environment variables and feature flags to better control the delivery of key features to the right place at the right time.
Salesforce themselves presented on how they do DevOps for the platform rather than on the platform, demonstrating the impressive processes and infrastructure behind the scenes that ensures a stable, secure platform. The tech stack that Salesforce uses for managing the platform itself isn’t directly applicable to DevOps within Salesforce. However, from a user perspective, we can learn from some of the strategies they adopt. Constant monitoring, recording detailed metrics, and the application of machine learning to process incredibly large volumes of log output (a figure quoted at around 3 billion discrete metrics per minute) are all techniques that could potentially be applied to your own DevOps approach in the future.
Like previous years, Dreamforce was a great opportunity to skill up your Salesforce career. The chance to take your Salesforce Certification exams at Dreamforce, free of charge, was an opportunity taken by many. I personally picked up two new certifications at the event, but I’ve seen others in my network that managed many more, including one superstar that clocked up a mighty eight certifications in just three days!
Aside from certifications, the Trailhead area was very popular, with lots of people getting guidance and advice on kickstarting their Salesforce career or accelerating one already in progress. Far and away the greatest learning opportunities, however, were the myriad of sessions, campfires, and hands-on demos throughout the entire campus. These offered topics as diverse as career advice, wellbeing guidance, deep dives on technical topics for developers and architects, top tips for awesome admins from some of the community’s most active contributors, and much more.
All of these diverse learning opportunities make Dreamforce the perfect place to inspire everyone to take their Salesforce knowledge to the next level. It’s always incredibly heartening to see the community strive to broaden their knowledge, whether at events like Dreamforce or online, in places like Trailhead or right here on DevOps Launchpad. Always be learning — and I hope to see you out on the trails, virtually or in person, at the next event.