It's been a great year for Salesforce users. We've had 3 new releases with great new functionality to make our everyday work lives that much easier. Not to mention, some great new products announced at Dreamforce 2014. But we don't typically get excited or nostalgic about past tech, Classic Nintendo excluded. Typically we are always looking towards the future and the next latest and greatest shiny new feature(s).
With that said, I'd like to offer up my predictions for what we're likely to see in the New Year.
Prediction: Huge push toward mobile development
Certainty: Bet my bottom-dollar
At the beginning of this year, Salesforce released a complete overhaul of Salesforce Mobile called Salesforce1. Then before the year was out they announced Salesforce1 Lightning. This upgrade to the Salesforce1 platform allows for rapid development of mobile applications. This was a huge announcement. With the current mobile craze I'm willing to bet there will be a 10-fold increase in custom mobile app development and mobile apps available on the Salesforce App Exchange. As of this writing, there are just shy of 300 Salesforce1 apps listed on the Exchange. I think it's highly likely to see that grow to 3,000 by this time next year.
Prediction: Slow Start for Wearables
Certainty: Warm and Tingly
In 2014, Salesforce announced support for this new frontier, and they are smart to get in the game early. But I think Wearables will be a slow starter because the future of this new tech is still undetermined. People just aren't sure what to do with it yet, or if they even need it. You've got the wearable fitness app craze, the slow-starter, Google Glass, and the relatively new Smart Watches. Which from everything I've read and heard from people who are early adopters of the latter say "It's not ready yet". What it will take to be ready I'm not sure, but I have no doubt that when the market has matured, Salesforce will be a part of it. One thing that could expedite the growth of this new tech is the new Apple watch. But since it isn't slated for release till Spring 2015, I don't think it will make a big enough dent in the market for the latter part of 2015. That said, 2016 could be "The" Year for Wearables if Apple's Watch does for wearables what the iPhone did for the Smart Phone industry.
Prediction: Consolidated Marketing Cloud
Certainty: More of a hope than a prediction
So this is more on my wishlist than a prediction but I think it could happen. Salesforce has been doubling-down on marketing solutions over the past few years. It's a logical play given how marketing automation is crucial to closed-loop analytics in the world of Marketing and Sales collaboration. Exact target, an email marketing solution, was acquired by Salesforce in June of 2013. Just prior, Exact target had acquired Pardot, a marketing automation solution, in October 2012. Since this string of acquisitions, Salesforce has been slowly aggregating its offerings into a solidified Marketing Cloud. On Salesforce.com's website there is little mention of Exact Target anymore, which tells me Salesforce has officially brought them into the fold. It is my hope that Pardot will soon also make the transition and become just another feature set under the Marketing Cloud. Thus, offering a conveniently bundled, full-fledged marketing suite all obtainable with a Marketing Cloud license.
Prediction: Analytics Cloud for Everyone
This one I'm 99.99% sure won't happen in 2015. But it would be great if it did. Analytics cloud was released this year at Dreamforce 2014, and coined as "analytics for the rest of us". But there are a few caveats with the pricing structure that puts it far out of reach for those with a more modest budget. I think this will be a reality but its further out beyond 2015. If they can accomplish this I can see a major disruption in the Business Intelligence industry.
We'll have to check back at the end of 2015 to see how close I was to the mark.
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