Before I left for DF'10 last year, I had one of the directors approach me with the high level requirements for an application. We were evaluating other off-the-shelf solutions and he wanted me to see if JIRA, our open source issue management system, could be customized to handle the requirements. I looked over the requirements and said "Why don't we do this in Salesforce?" The reply was what I expected, "Give me a proof of concept with estimates on licensing and development effort."
That week I flew out to San Francisco, after having missed the previous Dreamforce. While I was there I was blown away by the energy. Non-Salesforce people ("Muggles"...lol), looking from the outside in, would probably call it "cult-like". The excitement was palpable. I attended as many sessions as I could. I interacted with others like me. I walked the expo floor and looked at countless products and services. I was floored and needless to say, inspired. On the flight back I logged into one of my sandboxes and got to work on the app (yes...I had internet...gotta love Virgin). In about 2 hours or so I had the app built. Three custom objects, 6 workflows, 1 approval process 10 reports and one dashboard. I had the new branch to our role hierarchy all set, profiles, etc... The app was slick and simple. I couldn't wait to demo it on Monday.
On Monday, the demo went down without a hitch. They were thoroughly impressed. You can write up all the business cases you want to justify something like this. Talk about ROI, TCO, TTM, etc... but nothing beats an app you can get your hands on. The bottom line is this. We leveraged the platform and 3 hours of my time on a plane to deliver a solution at a cost savings of almost $40k a year. A cloud app that did not require our users in Europe to VPN in, with built-in sharing mechanisms, security, reporting and mobility. Name me another platform where I can go from high level requirements to "full tilt boogie" (to quote my good friend Carlos....former Marine Force Recon) in 3 hours? Not many.
The app has been in production since that day. No bugs, no hic-ups, nothing, nada....which speaks more to the stability of the platform than my design/implementation skills. Like I said...a simple app that paid for itself countless times. That's how I leverage DF'10! Let's see what happens this year. Don't pass up the chance to get involved. If you can't attend, view the recorded session. Join the countless community boards and groups on LinkedIn. This is your chance to harness our energy.