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Dreamforce 2022: We Dream of Genie


Image: Author
The theme of Tuesday’s Dreamforce keynote, delivered by Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Brett Taylor, was "The Great Reunion – A new day for customer magic." Let me unpack what they meant.
After two mostly virtual Dreamforce events in 2020 and 2021, Salesforce exuberantly welcomed 40,000 live attendees to San Francisco this week (along with 150,000 virtual attendees.) Benioff and Taylor said the title for the keynote had gone through several iterations. They settled on "The Great Reunion" at the suggestion of a group of Salesforce MVPs in New York.
Taylor went on to say that “Salesforce is not Salesforce without Dreamforce.” More than just a reunion, the co-CEOs referred several times to this week’s event as a family reunion, the Salesforce family of customers, partners, and developers. As with other live user events I have participated in this year (e.g., Five9, Verint), the desire to re-establish community is palpable.
"The Great Reunion" was the title of today’s keynote, but the subtitle - a new day for customer magic – is the big news of Dreamforce 2022, referring to the announcement of Salesforce Genie. While there is plenty of hyperbole about what Genie can and will do, the graphic below helps boil Genie down to its essence.

The promise of Genie is a combination of three elements (in dark purple)
  • A real-time customer data platform (CDP)
  • Integration of real-time data to power real-time Einstein AI
  • Orchestration capabilities delivered in the real-time Flow automation suite; announced in April 2022.
The various icons at the top of the diagram indicate that Genie supports (or will support) all the Salesforce application clouds, e.g., Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, etc. With the platform approach of delivering all these capabilities on top of Hyperforce (i.e., Salesforce in the public cloud), the company says it is delivering the first-ever, real-time CRM.
One contact center as a service (CCaaS) executive I met with at Dreamforce, Charanya “CK” Kannan, chief product, engineering, and customer officer, Talkdesk, agreed. “It’s great that we now have CRM in real-time.”
Why is real-time CRM great? David Schmaier, president and chief product officer, Salesforce, discussed during a session for industry analysts that Genie is the response to customer demands for Salesforce to step-up their data strategy, integrate the various clouds, and go deeper on automation. Genie is designed to do all those things.
While Genie works (or will work) with all of Salesforce’s clouds as a contact center industry analyst, my interest in Genie - and many No Jitter readers - focuses on customer experience broadly and Salesforce Service Cloud specifically.

The graphic above makes it clear that the Salesforce Service Cloud contact center team, led by Ryan Nichols, SVP and GM, Contact Center at Salesforce, believes that virtually every aspect of their product line is impacted by Genie.
  • Voice conversations will become accessible data.
  • AI, bots, and automation will begin to operate using real-time data from all Salesforce clouds, not – at best – last night’s Service Cloud upload.
  • Messaging can now deliver personalized, proactive customer care.
In the visionary session, Schmaier put Genie in context. Is it a customer data platform (CDP)? No. Schmaier said there is a narrow definition of CDP, built by and for the marketing department to do real-time market segmentation. That's interesting but not compelling.
Salesforce doesn’t think a CDP is what people really want. They don't want another point solution to integrate with everything else. Salesforce thinks what customers want is a true real-time CRM, with data as part of the fabric of the platform. That’s why Salesforce says Genie makes everything better.
As has become clear in the past few years, the companies with the best data and the best AI are going to win. Salesforce believes that with Einstein – initially released in 2016 – it has the AI element covered, and with Genie – a real-time data lake for both Salesforce and other connected data – they are delivering a winning combination for their customers and partners.