Last month, Vera attended Salesforce’s 170,000-attendee-strong annual user meeting, Dreamforce. Held in San Francisco each year, Dreamforce attracts more than 8,000 non-profits, making it the world’s largest non-profit technology conference.
While there were countless highlights, our favorite part of this event was reconnecting with our clients and seeing so many familiar faces proudly presenting the Salesforce systems we have worked together to build, including:
The BOMA Project shared how they are using Salesforce, in conjunction with TaroWorks, to collect, track, and manage data from their Poverty Graduation Programs in rural Kenya. Partnerships Director, Jaya Tiwari, explained how the system helps streamline data management across BOMA’s full program cycle from selecting the poorest households in a given community to work with, to enrolling and tracking individuals, business groups, and mentors in order to identify areas of high performance and provide more targeted support where the data shows that there is a need.
The Aga Khan Foundation’s (AKF) Andrew Cunningham gave a powerful presentation, sharing how AKF uses the data captured in their Salesforce system to improve and enhance education programs globally. Vera worked with AKF to build a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system that tracks schools, student enrollments, and teachers across 16 countries in Central Asia and East Africa.
The Skoll Foundation’s Ehren Reed described how their Salesforce-based ‘Profiles Platform’ tracks the impact of their global grantee and awardee portfolio. Built on Salesforce Communities, the system helps Skoll track the performance of the entrepreneurs and innovators that Skoll invests in each year to help solve the world’s most pressing problems. The system allows Skoll awardees to log-in, define their impact indicators, input their results year-by-year, and provide narrative reports and supporting documentation. “The system provides a dynamic, shared understanding of where we all are,” said Reed. “I can’t overstate how much it has changed the way we work.”
Gavi Alliance (The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) Gavi’s Chief Knowledge Officer, David Nix, demonstrated how their Salesforce-based Country Portal helps Gavi support 73 countries to advance vaccine coverage and equity. The Portal — collaboratively designed and built by Gavi, Blue Infinity, and Vera — includes an interactive Performance Framework used to report on annual targets and results across dozens of indicators (e.g. vaccine coverage, coverage equity by sex, coverage equity between wealth quintiles, etc.) as well as processes for countries to apply for funding and calculate the number of vaccines, syringes, and other supplies needed. Built on top of Salesforce Communities, the system is used in English, Spanish, French, and Russian.
What did Vera learn at Dreamforce this year? 3 Key Takeaways
Vera’s Technology Team had a huge week, tuning into product and platform updates, dominating the Developer Zone, and meeting with the ISVs who build and distribute applications used in many of Vera’s systems. Owen Davies, Vera’s Director of Technology, Implementation Support Director, Aleksa Krolls, and Technical Lead, Nadeem Shaikh, share three key takeaways from this year’s event:
- The future of Salesforce’s product road map continues to be centered around the Lightning Experience — the new, intuitive user experience, which includes a new set of enhanced platform features. Salesforce has released 500+ Lightning feature updates since its announcement at Dreamforce ‘15, improving the Lightning Experience with every new product release. That said, Lightning still has some limitations and may not be suited for all organizations. Even so, if your organization is using Salesforce it is important to stay on top of Lightning releases so that you know when to migrate your system to Lightning in order to leverage the full feature set Salesforce is investing in. Is your organization ready for Lightning? Check out the Lightning Readiness Assessment, take a tour of the Lightning Experience Trailhead, or contact us for a brief consultation and to learn more about available Lightning features.
- Salesforce support for offline access is improving, but falls short of satisfying the needs of most of our partner organizations working in settings with limited connectivity. With the upcoming retirement of the offline-enabled Salesforce Classic mobile app, we will be keeping our eye on the beta version of Salesforce1 mobile offline features.
- Our nonprofit partners should look out for continued updates on Salesforce.org’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), formerly known as the Nonprofit Starter Pack. The NPSP package offers organizations a Salesforce feature set tailored to nonprofit business processes, mainly focused on donor and constituent management, at no additional cost. Complete the Fundraising or Volunteer Management Trailheads to learn how to effectively leverage the functionality of this free Salesforce.org offering, including its latest feature release. Join the Power of Us Hub to hear from other nonprofit users, or contact us for advice on installing or upgrading NPSP in your system.
Til next year!