The countdown of sleeps has now started to what is promised to be an epic event. On the 24 September, I fly out to San Francisco to my first ever Dreamforce conference.

Dreamforce is the showcase annual event for Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM and customer success platform and I am proud to be Capita’s Head of Business Development for Salesforce. I am among a lucky few who have the opportunity and great pleasure to work with Salesforce on a daily basis and, I am thrilled to attend the Dreamforce conference with Managing Director Lesley Bosworth, Head of Services Dan Ramsden and Chief Product Officer, Kana Butkovic.

Dreamforce boasts an eclectic agenda that promises the opportunity to learn within our specific remits and explore wondrous new advancements in customer engagement technology. This is, after all, Salesforce’s future tech and products unveiling platform and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store.

For us geeks, there is the opportunity to get hands-on with the latest Sales Cloud innovation, including Einstein High Velocity Sales Cloud, Salesforce CPQ, Sales Cloud PRM and Pardot.

For me personally, one of the key benefits of this conference is the magnitude of networking opportunities available, with an array of breakout sessions every day to allow fellow Salesforce aficionados to meet, debate and discuss everything and anything concerning Salesforce and how we use it to enhance customer experience.

There are over 2,500 scheduled sessions and key notes to attend and, whether pondering theoretical conundrums or getting down to the nitty-gritty with practical hands-on advice, what I am looking forward to most is the opportunity to converse with and learn from partners, start-ups and customers. It’s this grassroots engagement that’s sure to provide a wealth of development opportunities and suitable inspiration for my business development role.

Our four days will be consumed by Salesforce, and thankfully, conveniently managed by their extremely handy ‘Session Builder’ app. Believe me when I say that Salesforce will pretty much own our brains for the entirety of the conference, sunrise to sunset.

There’s not an hour of the day that Salesforce haven’t managed to provide a learning and networking opportunity for delegates. Some of these include early morning yoga breakfast briefings, ping pong competitions (Lesley’s favourite, she is fiercely competitive!), lunch and learn sessions, partner ecosystem dinners and challenges in the evenings.

One item that I am particularly keen to attend is the Salesforce Women’s Network event which honours four female change agents committed to furthering diversity and inclusion within their organisations and industries. I am hoping to gather some insight for Capita’s own ‘Challenge HER’ group.

I’ve been told to leave plenty of time between sessions and map out where I am going to and allow myself adequate time to get there, as the conference takes place in multiple venues throughout downtown San Francisco. This advice is particularly helpful as my sense of direction is less homing pigeon and more concussed goat! I may ask Salesforce to create a ‘Track Gill’ app especially for the occasion.

Nevertheless, regardless of my directional abilities, I am looking forward to getting lost in the plethora of workshops, seminars and keynotes on offer and hope to return to the UK suitably inspired and look forward to sharing my experience with you in a follow-up blog when I return.

Read the second instalment of Gill Newsome's Dreamforce blog, 'Post-conference roundup: Dreamforce 2018'.