Dreamforce 2012: Do MSPs Get It?

Dreamforce 2012: Do MSPs Get It?

Dreamforce 2012, a conference in San Francisco this week, will attract anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people, depending on whom you believe. The cloud computing conference will focus heavily on social enterprise opportunities. It will be a massive crowd focused on the future of IT -- up in the cloud. But I suspect a lot of MSPs have overlooked the conference entirely. Big mistake.

On the one hand, I don't think Dreamforce offers a lot of solutions that you can "sell" to your customers. But on the other hand, I do think most of the sessions help attendees to get closer to their customers. The keynotes cover everything from sales strategies to help desk services, marketing an social enterprise strategies. And of course, the solutions are increasingly cloud-based.

Some MSP industry leaders are betting heavily on Dreamforce. ConnectWise and Quosal plan to have a "huge" contingent at the conference, according to ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini. Yes, ConnectWise -- the business management platform for MSPs and VARs -- integrates with Salesforce.com. As does Quosal, the sales quoting and proposal software platform.

Quosal CEO Kent McNall is looking beyond the IT service provider market and wants to make sure all vertical markets embrace sales automation and proposal tools. He also plans to spend some time at the conference discussing the "gamification" of IT software. The idea being that computer gaming principles are now spilling over into the cloud, SaaS and software markets, and mainstream business (as USA Today recently mentioned). I think more than dozen sessions at Dreamforce will cover that topic.

I must confess: I can't make it to Dreamforce 2012 because of a scheduling conflict. And generally speaking, I prefer smaller, more intimate conferences for learning. But sometimes big events -- Dreamforce, OpenWorld and VMworld come to mind -- help us all to step back and see bigger industry trends unfold before our eyes.

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