What is Cactusforce?

Cactusforce. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Salesforce in the desert. Phoenix is the perfect location for a winter conference. Cactusforce is targeted at developers and architects, but it’s a great event for anyone that uses Salesforce. It’s put on by the Trailblazer Community in Arizona and is already in its fifth year.

I had the chance to attend Cactusforce this year. It was two days with over 36 presentations on how to keep your Salesforce instances running smoothly and efficiently. The topics ranged widely, including Data Security, Extensions, Apps, Customizations, Data Modeling, and Forecasting.

The speakers touched on many different areas to ensure that everyone would learn something regardless of their level of expertise. One thing I loved was how immersive the presentations were. Most presentations were demonstrations instead of boring slides. This made it much more enjoyable and easy to follow.

One of the most convenient things about Cactusforce was its event platform. The Whova app provided a “one-stop shop” for the entire event. Attendees could see the entire agenda, create their agenda, ask questions to the organizers, keep track of vendors they visited, find other attendees, post questions to presenters, and watch recordings of the presentations. All in all, the Whova app enhanced the experience of the whole event from start to finish.

Favorite Cactusforce Presentations

Warren Walters, “Why Salesforce Chrome Extension”

One of my favorite events was the Lightning Talks! Each presenter had six minutes to explain their topic, and then it was on to the next speaker. Warren Walters stood out in his topic on a custom Chrome Extension that allowed you to build custom tabs in the setup of your Salesforce instance. I would use it to set tabs for “Flows” and “Users” next to the Object User. It was a simple, elegant solution to a common problem.

Matt Meyers, “Ethically Hacking a Salesforce Digital Experience to Learn How to Protect Your Data and Customers”

One of the Salesforce quotes I’ve seen the most is from Marc Benioff — “trust has to be the highest value”. Nothing goes better with trust than security. Matt Meyers gave an excellent talk about protecting the data security of your Salesforce instance and the importance of configuring your environment correctly to protect yourself from malicious attacks. His book, “Securing Salesforce Digital Experiences,” is based on a real use case from a client. It will be released in a few months!

Evan Ponter, “Fantastic Frameworks for Fast, Feature-Filled Flows”

As someone who builds flows and loves efficiency, this was one of my favorite talks. It was mind-blowing in its simplicity and structure to maximize the efficiency of your flows and keep the canvas as clean as possible. We all know that having a million flows on an Object will do more harm than good, but I had never thought about utilizing formulas in my flows to ensure that one flow would be enough. Truly a riveting and eye-opening talk!

Daniel Peter, “Making Your Salesforce + Slack Apps Even Cooler with Salesforce Functions”

As we move towards more dynamic, conversational platforms for communication, it makes sense that the partnership of Slack and Salesforce would be a hot topic! I use Slack daily for internal discussions in OpMentors, including with my mentees and externally with clients. I know Slack is very powerful, but seeing how someone else uses it made me think about it in a new way!

Kate Lessard, “Write User Stories Your Dev Team Will Celebrate!”

This presentation was slightly less technical but by no means less important. I struggle with writing User Stories, despite the idea that they should be straightforward. Almost everyone in the Salesforce community has had to write (or read) a User Story. This was an excellent talk about combining the essence of the user story, a non-technical document, with the technicalities it will lead to.

Impressive Salesforce Conference

This was my first experience at a Salesforce conference. I found a wonderful community of professionals pushing the platform on what it can do. They are focused on innovations and security. Their presentations helped me to learn to think more like an architect. I was impressed by the caliber of speakers, their engaging demonstrations, and how efficiently the event was run. Thank you, Trailblazer Community, for putting on such a great event!

Meghann Milligan