Showgoers may also get an update on the Salesforce.com-Oracle partnership, which involves integrations between some of the companies' products.
Developers rule: Salesforce.com says more than 20,000 Dreamforce attendees this year will be developers. Last year's event included a developer keynote for the first time. This year, Salesforce.com is even running a "hackathon" contest, with a $1 million top prize up for grabs to the developer or team that makes the highest-scoring mobile application with Salesforce.com technology.
Mobile and social application development will be the focus of this year's developer keynote, with hundreds of other Dreamforce sessions also aimed at the programming crowd.
It's far from surprising that Salesforce.com would do so much to support developers, given their crucial role along with ISVs in creating a product and services ecosystem around Salesforce.com's core platform.
There are now more than 2,000 applications available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange marketplace, with about half available at no charge.
With this explosion of add-ons comes the question of complexity, one Salesforce.com is hoping to address with the recently launched Identity, a service it says provides "integrated identity services to connect every employee, customer and partner to any app, on any device."
Benioff and the big picture: Benioff is often praised for his speaking ability and he has certainly exercised it over the course of many sprawling, multi-hour Dreamforce keynotes. The test for any tech CEO is to deliver a talk that fully and clearly fleshes out their company's vision and future strategy.
Benioff's got plenty to talk about this year, in Pombriant's view.
"This company is doing a lot to invent the business processes of the future," he said. The CRM (customer relationship management) software Salesforce.com was founded upon was originally aimed at "manufacturing-centric" businesses, which made products, sold them, sent out invoices and collected payments, he said.
"The environment today is one of services, where companies are selling more and more online instead of sending salespeople out into the world," Pombriant added. "It's more focused on collecting data and analyzing it. [Salesforce.com] is trying to capture that zeitgeist."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com