For the past seven years, Dreamforce has hosted a forum titled “True to the Core.” In this customer-focused session, speakers from the Salesforce product team provide transparency into the development process for core platform features. Historically, they have used this time to review community-generated ideas that were approved and added to the platform. However, this year they presented the Salesforce roadmap and gave some insight into how they choose and prioritize community ideas for development. The session featured three chapters: Improved Listening, Roadmap Transparency, and Honest Dialogue. All three of these sections presented information that will directly impact Salesforce customers.
During the first chapter, Salesforce announced a new platform for the community to surface popular feature requests. After last year’s Dreamforce, they rebuilt IdeaExchange to help users send ideas directly to Salesforce developers. The idea was simple – to create a four-step process to handle user requests with complete transparency:
- Create the feature list – Three times a year, product managers will create a list of requested features based on feasibility and popularity from IdeaExchange.
- Prioritize the requested features – Users will be allocated 100 coins as a “budget” to vote on their most needed feature(s).
- Update the roadmap – Product managers will add the highest-voted features to the roadmap
- Begin development – Salesforce developers start working on the community’s ideas
This framework was meant to supplement Salesforce’s organic idea generation, and its pilot was a large success. In fact, they used this process to add features to the last three releases. Two well-known features added in this manner were Lightning related list filters (September 2018) and Lightning Recycle bin (January 2019). And for every release moving forward, users will continue seeing features included in the roadmap from this prioritization process.
But this year, Salesforce has developed a formalized way to manage this process. The IdeaExchange Prioritization Platform is available today for testing until December 4, 2019, before launching in January. This online system allows users to log in and view feature categories, descriptions, levels of effort, and estimated availabilities. They can then vote for features with coins and view the subsequent winners. For all winning features, users will see the development progress, the number of coins it received, and the associated release.
In addition to this IdeaExchange news, Salesforce also announced that it will be making improvements to its bug tracking system.
During the session’s second chapter, the speakers revealed Salesforce’s goal to eliminate product silos to bring clouds and services together. One way they are planning to do this is with Solution Kits, sets of best practices for common inter-cloud use cases. Generated by the Salesforce community, these guides contain best practices, considerations, and materials that users need to start creating connections. The ultimate goal is to create user-friendly integration methods that don’t require any custom coding.
With that end in mind, Salesforce is also working to bring Heroku and Lightning together into a unified platform. They are looking to lift the burden placed on customers seeking to make these connections by bringing the integration entirely in-house. By maintaining and managing these integrations, Salesforce hopes to make it easier for companies to get the most out of product integrations. The goal is to stop thinking about the clouds as separate products with their own roadmaps, but to envision the platform as a whole with a comprehensive roadmap.
In addition, Salesforce is investing resources into figuring out how to amplify existing customer architecture with Customer 360. They know that companies use many different systems in addition to Salesforce, and integrating that data into a holistic customer profile is a major challenge. With the acquisitions of MuleSoft, Tableau, and MapAnything, Salesforce is getting closer to blending its services into one platform and one solution. When asked for an explanation of the session name, “True to the Core,” President and Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor said, “You’re not buying a piece of software, you’re buying something that gets better every single day, three times a year.”
For the presentation’s final twenty-five minutes, the panel opened up for a Q&A session. Many of the questions concerned requests for additional features, and the product teams stepped in. For most questions, the team directed the community towards the new IdeaExchange Prioritization Platform introduced earlier in the session. They stated that all questions and concerns were valid and that they simply did not have the resources to address every feature addition. However, IdeaExchange influences resource allocation, and by voting for popular feature additions, users can push for the changes they want.
Do You Have Any Questions?
If you have any questions about this session or Dreamforce 2019 as a whole, get in touch with Ntegro today. We are a proud Salesforce partner, and we can help you by offering a free consultation if you contact us online. There are important announcements from Dreamforce 2019, and it can be hard to keep track of them all by yourself. At Ntegro, we have a team of experts dedicated to staying up to date with the latest Salesforce news. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need assistance.