Salesforce TrailheaDX 2018, Day 1: Integration Cloud Release Anticipates Mega MuleSoft Buy

Charlotte Dunlap – Principal Analyst, Application Platforms

Summary Bullets:

• Integration Cloud will be based on the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform.

• Benioff says trust is highest value when dealing with next-gen technology, social media, and mobile; he wants to move into blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Salesforce kicked off its third-annual TrailheaDX developer conference this week in San Francisco with 10,000 attendees, largely made up of the “Trailblazers” trained on the company’s platforms and solutions. These individuals, who range from non-coders to savvy developers in levels of expertise, make up its Trailhead community, now 5 million strong. They are trained across a spectrum of tools and software, from no-code App Builder to sophisticated Heroku platform services. Attendees seemed to enjoy the intimacy of this week’s conference – especially compared to the unwieldy 171,000 attending last fall’s Dreamforce conference – eagerly saddling up to technology demos and chatting with Salesforce’s experts.

All of this takes place at the centrally located TrailheaDX Campground, a campy (literally) themed sophisticated training and demo display area complete with a waterfall and many captivating displays, including a supply chain robotics demo, and a LEGO replication of San Francisco (featuring the new Salesforce Tower, of course). A group of Oakland middle schoolers was set to show up later in the day to create an app that tests for water pollution.

But there was substance to accompany the style, as Salesforce made several noteworthy announcements Wednesday. Hot on the heels of last week’s move to acquire PaaS integration leader MuleSoft for $6.5 billion (Please see Salesforce’s MuleSoft Buy Raises Concerns Over Platform Neutrality , March 22, 2018), Salesforce announced Integration Cloud. While admittedly more of an integration vision than a product announcement, the upcoming solution will be powered by MuleSoft’s mature integration platform, Anypoint. Salesforce’s current integration strategy is based on various technologies and partnerships, including Salesforce Connect, and a partnership established last year with IBM’s Cloud Integration platform to directly connect to on-premises and cloud data sources within Salesforce. Integration Cloud will include Integration Builder, a unified admin console, and Integration Experiences, made up of various Lightning tools to gather customer data and personalize the user experience.

Also announced Wednesday was Lightning Flow, allowing developers to build automated processes around data entry and forms processes; and Einstein Analytics, leveraging Quip to support new conversational queries.

Salesforce’s efforts to fill its integration gaps via the MuleSoft acquisition is critical in its drive to stay competitive with its core PaaS rivals. Salesforce lacks the integration capabilities of competing mobile and application platforms offerings, despite efforts to leverage the OData protocol to ensure connectivity between apps and various industry backend systems.

At the end of day one, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and co-founder Parker Harris shared personal early business insights during an interview by my former colleague Julie Bort, a Business Insider correspondent. Benioff let slip his hopes of having a blockchain and cryptocurrency update in time for Salesforce Dreamforce later this year. He also restated recent controversial ideas on needing to regulate social media in light of privacy breaches, “Facebook is the new cigarette; it’s addictive, and it’s not good for you.”

I hope to hear more on Salesforce’s newest DX (developer experience) platform and Heroku updates Thursday. I’ll keep you posted.

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