The 10K View: TrailblazerDX 2024 Takeaways

TrailblazerDX is the premier event for Salesforce ‘builders’ (architects, developers, admins, and more) looking to sharpen their skills and drive innovation for their own businesses. With 300+ technical sessions and hands-on workshops, TDX is a bustling and inspiring forum to learn new skills and ways to leverage the latest platform features. 

In this blog, our team offers their top insights from TDX 2024, covering everything from AI to the future of Data Cloud, Einstein, and the power of diversity in tech.

Latino and Hispanic Trailblazers are growing their representation

Katie Villanueva, Salesforce Administrator 

Networking at TDX is more than just a necessity for me. It’s a platform for personal growth and learning. This year, I had the opportunity to venture into the Latino and Hispanic community with the LatinX Community Meetup and my session #LatinasInTech: Speaking Up and Speaking Out. These experiences were not just enlightening but also a testament to the diverse and inclusive nature of the Salesforce ecosystem. 

As a member of the Latinx and Hispanic community, I’m proud to see our representation in the Salesforce ecosystem growing. We bring a wealth of knowledge and potential to the table. The 10K team’s focus on expanding our mission to more Latinx and Hispanic Trailblazers is a significant step. It not only helps us support Spanish-speaking clients but also empowers more Latinos and Hispanics to excel in the work they love.

Einstein is here to stay but has some growing up to do

Matthew Lamb, Chief Technology Officer

Data Cloud was on full display. Salesforce doubled down by promoting some compelling built-in features. If I had to name the most impactful feature, it would be the ability to take real-time action on the customer data across your company with Data Actions. There is certainly some complexity to deal with, but it is powerful. We can start to get our hands on it now with a Data Cloud Dev Org

The pricing for Data Cloud is unknown at this point. Still, based on some conversations I had and the Dev Org being listed as a “free, 5-day Developer Edition org with Data Cloud,” my money is on a consumption or usage-based pricing model.

Additionally, Einstein is making its way into the core Salesforce platform in a broader way. There was a ton of focus on Einstein Copilot and how to embed it for day-to-day CRM use cases. Here are the highlights I took away:

  • Einstein for Developers brings AI into VS Code with a straightforward VS Code extension, allowing users to generate code using natural language prompts, inline auto-complete, as well as unit test generation for Apex
  • Einstein for Flow extends the same natural language generation capabilities to the Flow platform
  • There are a number of other compelling features such as Einstein LLM gateway, Einstein Prompt Builder, Einstein Copilot Actions indicating that Einstein is here to stay, even if it does still feel a little far off at the moment. 

Roadmap sessions are always a fan favorite, and The Future of User Management is particularly exciting. Features like policy-based user access rights, a one-page summary of a given user’s access, ‘Where is this used?’ for public groups, insight into where a given user permission is coming from, and more are some of the most impactful features for Admins that have been discussed in years.

Overall, it was great to see an entire track of sessions dedicated to the Well-Architected framework. All of the sessions I attended were packed. Hopefully, that will come back to Dreamforce and future TDX events.

AI and Data Cloud paint a promising future for Salesforce 

Nick Hamm, Chief Executive Officer 

Salesforce’s long-term strategy for Data cloud is more real than I initially gave it credit for. Data Cloud’s most compelling differentiator is giving companies the ability to aggregate customer data from a number of other systems using prebuilt connectors. From there, they can securely train Salesforce’s AI on their data to drive automation and insights back into the CRM and Marketing platforms.

Data Cloud has the opportunity to make Salesforce even stickier. Data is like gravity. It has a center of mass, and the more data you have in one place, the harder it is to move away. But it also makes a lot of sense for Salesforce customers with lots of data about their customers to aggregate that data in Data Cloud and use AI to help them expand their customer relationships. I’m excited to help Salesforce customers realize the value of these new capabilities over the years to come.

The 10K View of Salesforce TDX 2024 

The 10K team is proud to contribute to TDX year after year. Our Chief Customer Officer, Mike Martin, hosted a session on “Adding AI to Your Admin Toolkit” and a networking hour that combined the fun of building LEGO and Salesforce. Katie Villanueva, our Salesforce Admin, participated in the #LatinasInTech panel: Speaking Up and Speaking Out and hosted a coloring break session with the Salesforce Mental Health + Illness User Group. If you made the time to stop by these events or say hello to our team this year, thank you. 

The 10K team at TDX 2024

What I Learned as an Ally Attending WITness Success

Our team had the opportunity to sponsor and attend not only one but two amazing conferences last week: Midwest Dreamin’ and WITness Success

After a two-year long hiatus from in-person events, we were grateful and raring to get back in action. We met some amazing people, reconnected with friends, and raffled off some delicious 10K Buffalo Trace. The energy, excitement, and hope left us buzzing. 

WITness Success Allies Dinner 

Friday evening was a top highlight of my week in Minneapolis. For the unfamiliar, WITness Success is a two-day event dedicated to empowering, supporting, and investing in the Salesforce Women in Tech user group members and leaders. 

That night, I had the honor of moderating a panel of powerful, inspiring, and all-around impressive women at the WITness Success Allies Dinner. It was an incredibly moving experience. This group of career-driven and altruistic women offered the vulnerability to tell real stories about their triumphs, setbacks, hopes, and frustrations. 

The reality is that women in tech face an uphill battle their male counterparts do not. In recent years our industry has finally recognized this as a fact and that’s certainly progress, but there is still more work to be done. Our women peers need more effective allies to bring about real change. 

Here are the most important things I learned from our conversations. 

Actions don’t have to be tremendous to be impactful

The idea of perfection or achieving big results tends to paralyze us into sitting on the sidelines. 

It goes something like, “Well, if I can’t do XYZ at this scale or reach “this number” of people, then is it even worth it?” 

We’ve all been there. However, the truth is that even small acts can make a big difference. Impacting one person makes a difference. Aim to focus less on achieving the ideal outcome and just reach out. Opening one door can lead to a world of opportunity. 

One of our panel members said it perfectly, “Just say, yo!” Check-in on your people and provide support where and when you can. 

What it takes for allies to do tremendous things

It takes the intention to go above and beyond to help someone. Allies can make a huge impact by daring to be bold in their actions and words. Use self-awareness to detect real-time opportunities to speak up or make connections. It’s all about follow-through.

Allyship isn’t just for men

It’s everyone’s responsibility to inspire and create change. You don’t have to be in a position of power to give others power. There is room for all of us to be better allies for each other. 

It takes courage to be an ally (or to be helped by one)

Sometimes we’re scared of saying, doing, asking, or offering the wrong thing to people who need help. That’s why it feels easier to not do anything at all. On the flip side, it’s difficult being the one who needs to ask for or receive help. It’s scary to be vulnerable. 

Courage is key to both allies and the people who need them. Being bold is the way to unlock achievements for not only others but also yourself. Embracing vulnerability creates an opportunity for real growth. 

A special thank you 

I want to thank Gabriela Pedroni for organizing the WITness Success Allies Dinner, Melinda Smith for believing in and supporting the concept, and all of the incredible women who shared their stories. We sincerely missed Jocelyn Fennewald – much of this materialized after our conversation at WITness Success 2019. Until next year, remember to “Just say, yo!”

Dreamforce to You 2020: 10K “From Project to Program” Webinar Recap

As with nearly every aspect of our lives in 2020, this year’s Dreamforce was far from what any of us would have predicted. Salesforce, however, pulled off a value-packed lineup and we’re honored to have shared this year’s virtual event with some of the ecosystem’s brightest talent.   

For this year’s “Dreamforce to You” experience, 10K CEO, Nick Hamm, and Chief Customer Officer, Mike Martin, were invited to host a webinar exploring how to get more ROI from Salesforce. Our webinar, “From Project to Program: Best Practices for Highly Successful Salesforce Implementations with 10K Advisors,” offered research-backed, how-to strategies for shifting your Salesforce program’s focus from chasing individual projects to establishing a more mature, agile system. Read on for the most valuable nuggets from our presentation. 

What it means to go from “project to program”

It started with a simple enough question, “Are Salesforce customers seeing the return they want from their Salesforce investment?” 

The 10K team has been in the ecosystem for nearly 15 years, so we knew we needed to research this challenge in-depth to better help our customers understand how to get more ROI from their investment. That’s why, in 2018, we hired Dimensional Research to survey 300+ Salesforce program owners across North America and Europe to understand what structures, processes, and practices lead to a higher return on investment. From improving employee productivity to increasing sales opportunities and replacing legacy technology, there are major benefits to giving your Salesforce program more TLC. 

The report’s key findings ultimately supported what our work has revealed time and again. No matter a Salesforce customer’s size or industry, there is a strong correlation between the following recommended best practices and high ROI. And, because it doesn’t cost more to take advantage of the products you’re already licensing, why not make the most of it? 

Project to program top 5 findings 

1. Establish program metrics

Measurement matters when it comes to ROI. Implementing KPIs such as user adoption, story points in a specific sprint cycle, and specific goals like increased sales numbers can help gauge your program’s effectiveness. Program metrics can be hard to implement and measure, but simple ones like tracking your user logins and user satisfaction scores are an easy way to get started.  

2. Consider a Center of Excellence

Having a Center of Excellence, the centralized combination of people and processes to manage operations, isn’t a new concept but is rarely used by Salesforce customers. Having a Salesforce COE that’s responsible for managing your best practices and roadmaps has a strong correlation to both high ROI and better grades. 91% of those that report the highest ROI say they have a COE, as do 82% of those that give themselves an A grade. That’s not surprising given the governance, alignment, and assurance that COEs can offer.

3. Use a Salesforce architect early and often

Salesforce Customers often assume an architect isn’t necessary but their expertise is essential to help you scale for the future. For example, an architect can help you decide when to use code or not and avoid building for the sake of building–a practice that leads to unnecessary technical debt. From our report, the vast majority of those who report A grades (73%) and the highest return on investment (82%) always work with a technical or solutions architect. 

4. Frequent releases correlate to higher ROI

When asked, “Approximately how often does your organization do production releases of Salesforce functionality?” we found that organizations have different philosophies on release cycle timing. 43% of respondents said they released to production weekly or more often, with 13% releasing continuously. Not surprisingly, the largest implementations and organizations with more dedicated headcount release most frequently. The more customizations you build to serve your users and business processes, the more usage and return you’ll receive. 

5. Partner with consultants to build and improve

As a Salesforce partner, this may appear self-serving, but this particular trend came straight from Salesforce customers themselves. You may have day-to-day operations in-house, but it’s nearly impossible to have the exact talent you need for every implementation and feature you’re looking to build. Third-party experts often work with a wide variety of customers, scenarios, and challenges, so they can provide valuable insight to guide your organization.   

The single most important thing you can do for higher Salesforce ROI 

Out of the top five best practices outlined from our Project to Program research, we felt the single most important trend to explore further was the use of Salesforce Centers of Excellence. We’ve written scores on the topic, including our free 2020 Salesforce Operational Excellence Handbook–A how-to guide to getting the most ROI from Salesforce. At 10K, we believe that if customers can empower their own success, then we’re able to provide higher-quality, long-term support. Our COE handbook, at the very least, can give you the building blocks to get started.


Audience Q&A

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Our engagement model is focused on filling in your program gaps with on-demand Salesforce talent. Please contact us to learn more. 

10K Independents Week: How to Build a Salesforce Business You Love With Wendy Murry

It’s Independents Week at 10K Advisors! We’re celebrating the 10K Expert Community and our mission to give people the freedom to do the work they love. Stay tuned to our blog for Q&As with some of our brightest independent experts as we explore what it takes to build a business, how to overcome doubt, and advice for other Salesforce experts with an entrepreneurial spirit. You can follow the conversation every day this week at #10KIndependentsWeek.

Wendy Murry | Murry Consulting

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your business?

A: Murry Consulting is a project management consulting company focused on helping businesses of all sizes in leading strategic projects and transformations within their organization. 

Since I started working in the ecosystem, I’ve realized many organizations spread their project managers too thin across projects or don’t have project managers in-house, so I focus on serving as an extension of the company’s leadership team to help manage their initiatives. My focus is on partnering with clients to understand their goals and guide them during the project journey while managing developers and other consultants. 

Murry Consulting was established in 2017 when I partnered with a company moving from an Association Management tool to Salesforce Sales Cloud, Community Cloud, Pardot, and numerous AppExchange products. The transition was a major undertaking – this company literally put their entire business on Salesforce products! Managing the transition required detailed and methodical project management, especially because the company also contracted with two technical implementation partners. There were many stakeholders I needed to keep informed, solicit decisions from, and keep on schedule. 

Q: How long were you working in the ecosystem before you determined the mission and goal of your business?

A: I’ve been in the ecosystem as a Project Manager and/or user since 2009. It was early on in my Project Manager journey that I had the opportunity to lead several projects with custom development that extended the Salesforce platform to meet the specific needs of my then employer. I was later a user of Service Cloud through my role supporting a large organization’s customer support team.

Q: What was your first “ah-ha!” moment before taking the first step to start your business?

A: I was talking to a colleague about starting a Project Management consulting business. She turned and asked me, “Wendy, how long have you been thinking about opening your own business. What is stopping you?” 

I realized I was the only person stopping myself from branching out on my own. I was afraid of failing. This same colleague made the initial referral to my first customer, too! When she made the introduction, I jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back on the decision. It was the right decision at the right time and she helped me to get into the right mindset.

Q: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

A: My first year in business I would have tried to diversify my client base instead of focusing 100% on one client. I had one primary client that consumed the majority of my time. In hindsight, diversification would have helped me to grow my customer base and provide opportunities once my first project was completed.

Q: Can you offer any words of wisdom for Salesforce experts looking to start their own business?

A: For anyone nervous about being on their own, ask yourself “What if?” multiple times. What is the worst that can happen if I fail, then what? What if I can’t meet my financial obligations, then what? 

If you can work through all of your “What if?” fears and in the end, live with them, you don’t have anything to fear in starting your own business. Even better, what if you are wildly successful?

Also, hire a team of professionals to support you – lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, etc. to set up a real business entity. I have found this team critical to helping me set up my business and rely on them to protect my investment in my business and myself.

10K Independents Week: How to Build a Salesforce Business You Love With Alex Scalzo

It’s Independents Week at 10K Advisors! We’re celebrating the 10K Expert Community and our mission to give people the freedom to do the work they love. Stay tuned to our blog for Q&As with some of our brightest independent experts as we explore what it takes to build a business, how to overcome doubt, and advice for other Salesforce experts with an entrepreneurial spirit. You can follow the conversation every day this week at #10KIndependentsWeek.

Alex Scalzo | Empodio | @empodio1

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your business?

A: Empodio is a boutique consultancy that focuses on Field Service Lightning. We founded Empodio having realized the misunderstandings surrounding Field Service on the Salesforce Platform. For starters, it’s far more specialized than many other product offerings and generally more difficult for new users to learn. It’s also relatively new to the market, so it’s been a learning process and adjustment for Salesforce and their partners to convey what it does and how to successfully implement. The opportunity for Empodio was figuring out how can we capitalize on this niche challenge and enable every organization’s field service journey.

Among the five Empodio core values, we are impact-oriented. Just as much as we want everyone who purchased the product to have the most possible benefit to their organization, it also means guiding customers on when not to purchase FSL. The biggest thing we see in the space is companies purchasing enterprise-grade software thinking it will solve their issues, but not entirely understanding what the product actually does and doesn’t do. Empodio sees FSL as a step by step process, almost like a video game. We guide customers on the journey and show how they can level up. It’s a major organizational transformation and we feel it is vital for our clients to know that from day one.

When David and I stepped out of our past careers, our goal was to create a consultancy we wouldn’t want to leave.

The traditional consulting model isn’t sustainable, and we recognize our consultants are human beings that deserve balance. This is our opportunity for disruption in the space – we want our team to feel they’ve been committed to professionally and personally. We’re passionate about challenging our consultants so they can further hone their craft in addition to learning to be their best selves. We hire, fire, sell, and decline deals based on our commitment to our values and mission; it’s something we owe it to our consultants and clients alike. 

Q: How long were you working in the ecosystem before you determined the mission and goal of your business?

A: I’ve been in the ecosystem since late 2016. I first worked at Bluewolf, which was a phenomenal experience. I was really lucky to work with incredible teams and people, traveling and meeting them at the office and in their homes. It was also my first snapshot of what “good” project work looks like. Bluewolf and Salesforce gave me true direction and was what I would consider the inflection point before founding Empodio. 

My positive experience at Bluewolf was empowering, but it ultimately wasn’t enough for me to stay. I realized the value of relationship building and empowering people, especially during the difficult transition of Bluewolf being acquired by IBM. During that transition, I learned I never wanted to work for a massive corporation and that there’s always room for options. You don’t have to sell out for the sake of being comfortable. Being uncomfortable is good, it means you’re growing. 

This all happened before Salesforce purchased Field Service Lightning, so my prior experiences shaped how we built Empodio – as both a service provider and an employer – with intention.

Q: What was your first “ah-ha!” moment before taking the first step to start your business?

A: Mainly, I realized a company’s sole purpose is to put its employees and clients alike in a position to be successful. I personally didn’t feel that was happening for me. Retrospectively, sure, I learned a lot about how that process was trying to unfold where I was(Rome wasn’t built in a day!), but it just didn’t feel quick enough for me. Going through that rat race without feeling I had a say in the direction of the company that I put time and effort into wasn’t going to work for me.

So in late May in 2019, I got a call from a former colleague and friend, David Longhini, about “doing something different” (founding Empodio) and the rest is history. I’ve learned more in a year doing this than in the entirety of my career because, quite frankly, there was no other option.

Empodio has shaped me permanently and changed the way I see both the industry and myself.

Q: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

A: I was told by the Small Business Association that we essentially built Empodio backward, which is hilarious. While we were in a fortunate position to not stress over cost barriers, we had major directional issues. For example, I spent hours and hours building out HR policies and legal paperwork, when really that wasn’t necessary until way farther down the road. 

David and I also lacked sales experience, so I wish I would have started the way we’re running Empodio now. The first thing we should have done was to focus on branding and processes. I also think every successful entrepreneur would agree that every mistake and experience forces you to take direction and figure out the necessary solutions. Paralysis by perfection is a very real issue to be aware of, so it’s important to keep chipping away. 

Q: Can you offer any words of wisdom for Salesforce experts looking to start their own business?

A: Consulting is a young wise man’s game, and I’m a firm believer that wisdom can’t be taught (but you should always try). Someone once told me “you’re going to get a lot of advice and you’re going to read a lot of books, but your job as an owner is to be a sifter. Be that kid in the sandbox and sift for the things that will be the most valuable.” 

That single piece of advice helped me refocus from being distracted by all the shiny things. 

Jumping off is also the hardest part, but first, you need to establish your support network. I don’t think this is talked about enough. Entrepreneurs love telling people to just get out and get started but that doesn’t necessarily pay off in the long run. Talk to your loved ones and friends in the ecosystem or adjacent industry spaces. Understanding who you can go to for certain information will stave off burn-out, which is nearly inevitable for any entrepreneur. There’s going to be highs and lows, and the best way to find balance is to have a trusted network to turn to in those moments. It will create stability and sustainability that will propel you through it all. 

Also, there’s no template for being a successful entrepreneur. Don’t waste too much time listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about, because everyone has an opinion about how to be an entrepreneur. Figure out what you like and consume content from trusted sources, because, in the end, you’re the one deciding what’s best for you. 

Imposter syndrome is real. Just know that this journey is a process and you don’t need to be stellar at everything in order to just get started. Who you are is what got you here, and where you want to go is the process by which your growth will happen. 

10K Independents Week: How to Build a Salesforce Business You Love With Ryan Mitchell

It’s Independents Week at 10K Advisors! We’re celebrating the 10K Expert Community and our mission to give people the freedom to do the work they love. Stay tuned to our blog for Q&As with some of our brightest independent experts as we explore what it takes to build a business, how to overcome doubt, and advice for other Salesforce experts with an entrepreneurial spirit. You can follow the conversation every day this week at #10KIndependentsWeek. 

Ryan Mitchell | M3 Cloud Consulting | @Ryanalewishes

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your business?

A: My company is M3 Cloud Consulting, and I’m an independent contractor in the Salesforce ecosystem. I founded M3 because we are a family of Salesforce professionals that enjoy helping companies get the most out of their Salesforce investment. 

The name M3 is inspired by my family (M3, three Mitchells) who also work in the Salesforce ecosystem, and we have a shared vision of all working together one day. My younger brother, the one who introduced me to Salesforce, and his wife are currently working in the Salesforce ecosystem and have been for the last ten years. 

Q: How long were you working in the ecosystem before you determined the mission and goal of your business?

A: I’ve been working with Salesforce for nearly ten years now, and as I learned more about what this platform provides and the different paths people can take, I immediately knew that consulting was the best fit for my personality. I came into the ecosystem with over ten years of experience in Education, and that, together with Salesforce, has helped me realize my passion for assisting people to achieve their program goals.  

I’m also a middle child and growing up, I was often looked upon to being a mediator and coming up with a solution for everyone to get along. So as I learned more about consulting, it felt like it was an excellent fit for my personality as we are often faced with business challenges and seek to find ways to solve them using Salesforce. 

Q: What was your first “ah-ha!” moment before taking the first step to start your business?

A: Seeing the need out there for people that care deeply about connecting with other people. I realize this is technology, but I look at this as a people-first industry. We thrive on connection, and that is important to our success. I enjoy connecting with other members in our community, especially in this day and age, where working from home can somewhat be isolating if you let it. We have a vast network of people out there able and willing to assist should you tap into your network. 

Q: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

A: I feel like everything happens for a reason, and you have to trust the process and take it a step at a time. I’ve met so many amazing, supportive people that have come into my life to assist on the journey that saw things in me that I didn’t always see in myself. I was ready a lot sooner, I just didn’t know it, so if I could do anything differently, I would have believed that I can do this a lot sooner.  

Q: Can you offer any words of wisdom for Salesforce experts looking to start their own business?

A: You got this, believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

When we fail, we learn. We are equipped to handle anything that comes our way as long as we learn from our mistakes. 

Also, our ecosystem is very supportive and is here to help guide you along the way. I’d also say figure out what gets you up in the morning and what you’re most passionate about because your customers will feel that authenticity.