Reflections on the Dreamforce Executive Summit

We were pleased to have almost 150 IT thought leaders attend the On-Demand Executive Summit sessions at this year’s Dreamforce, and to offer the participants in that group their own on-line community portal for discussion of those events.  I wanted to share here some of the reactions I had to speakers who took part in that summit program.

Robert Bennett, President and CEO of San Francisco’s Family Service Agency, spoke to the group about his agency’s use of salesforce.com technology to provide what Bennett has called "access at our fingertips to demographic, outcome and productivity
reports across all services and programs, giving us visibility into the
effectiveness of our client programs and the ability to set and track
metric-based benchmarks for client progress."

During Bennett’s remarks to the summit, he said, "Three years ago, 50%
of our labor went into data entry — and once in the ‘chart,’ it was
dead. There was nothing we could do with it. The Force.com platform, in the long run, could link all of the city’s agencies in a rich program of information sharing."

We subsequently heard from San Francisco’s mayor, the Honorable Gavin Newsom, who amplified on that vision. "Every client goes through your database: we know where they’ve
been in the system, we actually know how many homeless we have and we
have real information as to who’s achieving what outcomes. It’s
changing our approach in a fundamental way," the mayor said.

These comments brought to mind something I wrote five years ago in eWEEK:

Nothing kills a relationship more quickly than the feeling
that the enterprise isn’t really dealing with the customer, the
employee or the supply chain partner as a whole—that every interaction
takes place in a separate space, without awareness of the interlocking
opportunities and needs reflected in other interactions at other times
and among other activities.

Conversely, the enterprise that identifies and addresses such
needs will give its customers a compelling case to favor that
enterprise with profitable one-stop shopping, instead of needing to
fight for every separate piece of the business of even the frequent
buyer.

I hear a call to action: to ask ourselves, what are we actually
able to do that adds business value using all that data we spend so
much time and money to acquire and store?

Published
October 3, 2007
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