Lessons learned from the Cloud

Last week I joined 10,000 of my Salesforce friends at Cloudforce in NYC. If you aren’t familiar, Salesforce is a cloud computing company and Cloudforce is one of their annual, regional conferences. It was a day packed with product announcements, client success stories and information sessions.

And even though as a product implementation specialist at TargetX, my favorite part of the day was geeking out in the “developer theater” – I also found the client success stories featured in the opening keynote were both remarkable and thought provoking. Companies like GE, Toyota and Coca-Cola are using the Salesforce.com platform in incredible new ways.

Listening to executives speak about their innovations, strategies and successes, I couldn’t help but draw some parallels to higher ed. And while I realize that most institutions will never have innovations on the scale of GE or Coca-Cola, there is no shortage of ideas and concepts that can be translated to institutions of any size and across various functional areas.

So here’s my stage-one digestion of what I heard:

Coca-Cola spoke about their new “Freestyle” vending machine and leveraging social collaboration tools to engage customers and cultivate brand awareness. How can you take what you know about your search names or inquiry base to transform your recruitment strategy from one where you speak at students standing idly by, to one that incites active participation?

At GE, the turbines that power the new Dreamliner aircraft routinely report operational data back to a shared data system. Product and customer engineers can work together more efficiently and more intelligently than ever before. If a turbine can record and share data, how can you bring partners like athletics and faculty into the mix to enhance your recruiting efforts?

For those of you involved in event planning, the stories themselves are not as important as how the stories are delivered. Salesforce does a tremendous job creating energy and excitement from the moment you walk through the venue door. It’s no surprise to find yourself “drinking the Salesforce Kool-Aid” before you’ve even heard someone speak. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring that level of enthusiasm to your own campus event? Next time youre at an event, take notes on what factors contributed to your overall experience!

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now what was it that I learned in that mobile app development session?!

Watch the full Cloudforce Keynote from Marc Benioff on the Salesforce blog.

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