Tag Archives: Einstein

Dreamforce brings Salesforce products upgrades

Users can anticipate more Einstein AI features to be integrated with Salesforce products and more news about the CRM vendor’s recent acquisitions and how they will play pivotal roles in the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce is expected to unveil the Einstein and acquisition developments at Dreamforce, the company’s annual customer conference in San Francisco that attracts nearly 150,000 attendees.

Analysts said they expect substantial upgrades to core Salesforce systems and more use cases for Einstein and how recent acquisitions of CloudCraze and MuleSoft fit into the Salesforce ecosystem.

“Salesforce is trying to tell the story that they are the customer success platform for all companies, B2B, B2C and companies that operate in both industries,” said John Bruno, an analyst at Forrester.

Bruno added that he expects more keynotes than usual from companies like Adidas that show how Salesforce products allow companies to work with a variety of customers, from both the business and consumer sectors.

“I think you’ll hear a tight story around exactly how Salesforce and CloudCraze and Commerce Cloud fit for B2B and B2C companies,” Bruno said. “Is it going to be prime time ready? No, but they will target that story because Salesforce hasn’t told that story great.”

Attendees at Dreamforce 2017 in San Francisco
Users can learn about new upgrades and features for all Salesforce products at Dreamforce conference.

New Quip Slides system

Meanwhile, Salesforce said Sept. 17, a week before Dreamforce, that it will be showing at the conference PowerPoint-esque upgrade to its content collaboration platform, Quip, called Quip Slides.

Quip Slides is an AI-assisted platform to help workgroups create interactive presentations mainly for internal meetings and training. It features real-time collaboration, charting, live data, feedback prompts and engagement insights.

Another feature in Quip is Salesforce partner-built Live Apps, which enable work teams to embed Box and Dropbox files into Quip.

Integrating the Integration Cloud

The CloudCraze acquisition was just one of several the San Francisco-based CRM giant made to improve its suite of products. Salesforce spent $6.5 billion to acquire MuleSoft and build out what it’s calling the Integration Cloud.

What Salesforce is recognizing is there’s a whole different set of roles for how you manage customers now.
John Brunoanalyst, Forrester

Paul Greenberg, founder and analyst at The 56 Group, said he sees the name “Integration Cloud” as a misnomer, but that he thinks the MuleSoft purchase is a pivotal acquisition to bolster Salesforce.

“Despite its silly name as Integration Cloud, MuleSoft was a smart acquisition as it gives Salesforce access to all these different layers of service and does a lot of things Salesforce couldn’t previously do,” Greenberg said. “For integrations to succeed, it’s not just about building on the Salesforce platform. Without MuleSoft it was harder to build out integrations.”

With many organizations working to upgrade legacy systems and update their processes and provide  customers with a modern experience, the ability to connect legacy systems to current platforms is often laborious. Salesforce hopes its Integration Cloud will help ease that transition.

“We’ve ended up in a hybrid world,” said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd. “We’ve created so many data silo issues and it’s incumbent on the platform players to provide the ability to get past that.”

Continuing with business transformation

In addition to the expected unveiling of Integration Cloud and B2B commerce use cases, Salesforce is anticipated to continue its strategy of bringing together different customer-facing departments to help curate better customer experiences.

“I don’t think it’s a fully mature or fully conscious Salesforce strategy, but Salesforce is drilling down toward more personalization,” Greenberg said. “Salesforce’s Connections conference was the first step to that public story where we saw Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud becoming cross clouds in more significant ways than ever before.”

Bruno, from Forrester, agreed that organizational transformation and how Salesforce products can help is a major theme for Salesforce.

“What Salesforce is recognizing is there’s a whole different set of roles for how you manage customers now,” Bruno said. “I can see themes where [Salesforce] recognizes businesses have changed, customer engagement has changed and they are trying to provide solutions to account for that.”

More than just Salesforce products

Beyond the larger topics around its new acquisitions and customer empowerment, all of the core Salesforce products are expected to receive upgrades and users will be able to attend sessions with roadmaps outlining the future for Salesforce products.

“A core part of Dreamforce is about unveiling new innovations and it’s what customers have come to expect,” said Brigitte Donner, VP and conference chair for Dreamforce, at Salesforce. “We have more product keynotes planned than ever before.”

Donner added that the theme for Dreamforce is “change,” extending beyond just Salesforce products to larger social issues, with the first climate summit planned at Dreamforce this year, as well as Salesforce bringing back an equality summit.

Dreamforce takes place Sept. 25 to 28. Check SearchSalesforce.com for daily conference coverage.

At Dreamforce, Salesforce applications take center stage

Apps, Einstein and Quip are expected to be the focus at Dreamforce, with Salesforce keeping any new clouds it may be building under wraps.

For its first 18 years, Salesforce focused inward, building its clouds and the infrastructure to support them. This year, with many business processes covered by one cloud product or another, Salesforce is turning its attention outward — to the applications side of the aisle — hoping that building out its community of developers will help propel new growth.

Salesforce applications will be a big focus at the start of Dreamforce, the company’s annual conference, which is expected to draw more than 170,000 attendees, according to a recently published report by USA Today. In its initial announcements ahead of Dreamforce, Salesforce focused on existing products and how to improve the user experience, including a bevy of app-building tools.

Einstein apps and bots

The company’s apps can now be embedded into Einstein with the release of myEinstein, which allows users to create custom AI models. Salesforce Einstein AI bots can also employ artificial intelligence to assist with customer service workflows. Einstein Prediction Builder enables admins to craft AI models that predict business outcomes.

Salesforce Einstein AI was the big reveal at last year’s Dreamforce — the accumulation spending more than $1 billion on AI-centric companies. And while no new clouds or platform-wide products were unveiled this year, some analysts see this year’s Dreamforce as a Part Two to last year’s Part One.

“It’s an evolution from what [Salesforce] talked about last year,” said John Bruno, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Right now, Einstein is still in the early adopter phase. That being said, the stuff Salesforce has done has matured [Einstein] over the past year.”

Apps extend to Apple, Google stores

One key example of that, according to Bruno, is the availability of Einstein Prediction Builder, which allows companies to embed AI functionality into its own business processes.

“Prediction Builder is Salesforce stepping out and saying, ‘Everything you’ve known Salesforce to be as a platform is in the past,'” Bruno said. “Prediction Builder is the next generation of that. Salesforce placed its bets on AI being the future, and, if that’s the case, you can’t rely on the first-party capabilities you put out there.”

Beyond improving and building out Einstein, Salesforce released several other upgrades, many of which focused on building Salesforce applications and company branding.

The Salesforce mobile application will go from Salesforce1 to mySalesforce — allowing for employees at all levels to build custom Salesforce applications. App builders can also publish Salesforce applications to the App Store or Google Play with a Listing Wizard capability. Lightning received the app upgrade with myLightning, including better branding capabilities and an improved App Builder.

Quip makes collaboration push

Quip also received an application-centric upgrade, with Live Apps embedding real-time collaboration and document viewing, a calendar app that can be used to track projects, and workflow templates for quick document and spreadsheet use for specific industries and projects.

The added collaboration features for Quip can lead to the question of whether this is Salesforce positioning itself to challenge the Slacks and Microsoft Teams of the world. Salesforce denies any posturing, saying that Slack remains a partner.

Salesforce wants to be the one place where employees conduct all of their work-related activities.
Bill Quinn, director of customer experience solutions, Tata Consultancy Services

“Slack and Quip are allies in changing the way people work, and Slack continues to be a great partner of ours,” said Rafael Alenda, vice president of marketing at Quip. “Slack has seen success in communication, while the Quip Collaboration Platform is focused on document, collaboration and, in the end, transforming the enterprise culture into something much more modern, less reliant on emails and less reliant on meetings.”

Alenda added that with an open API, Quip could be embedded into other document-based tools that customers use.

While Salesforce continues to play nice with Slack, others see it as the company subtly positioning itself into the growing collaboration market.

“I think they’re essentially working to make Salesforce the ‘hub’ for all the work you do as an employee,” said Bill Quinn, director of customer experience solutions at Tata Consultancy Services, based in Mumbai, India. “Salesforce wants to be the one place where employees conduct all of their work-related activities. It started with Chatter but has grown with Quip.”

To help companies with development of Salesforce applications, Trailhead has also been expanded into myTrailhead. The move allows customers to create custom learning pages with their own content and branding to assist with onboarding and company-specific skills.

More information regarding these features and other future features will be released throughout the week at Dreamforce. Be sure to check back to SearchSalesforce for updates.

Salesforce Einstein AI expands reach as Dreamforce approaches

Salesforce Einstein AI is getting a feature boost moving into its second year. Salesforce Sales Cloud users will be the first beneficiaries, as the company hopes email and lead-scoring tools will help sales managers sort information more quickly and give salespeople more efficiencies to execute on opportunities.

Separately, Salesforce Analytics will include features to examine and derive insights from data sources outside the Salesforce platform. The company built new hooks into Google BigQuery, as well as Amazon Redshift, but — perhaps more importantly — Salesforce opened up its data analytics to give developers the capability to hook CRM data to a customer’s employee compensation, orders, accounting, shipping or inventory data, to cite a few examples, and automate report generation and analysis of sales commissions, supply chains or a number of other business processes.

And development will continue, according to Salesforce. “This is an extensible framework,” said Ketan Karkhanis, general manager for Salesforce Analytics. “So, one can imagine we are going to keep driving more connectors into the pipeline.”

Salesforce Einstein AI bows new features

Salesforce added new Einstein AI features to its Sales Cloud, in pilots now and to be made generally available early next year. Einstein Forecasting, a tool for managers, dashboards insights for tracking overall sales and can pinpoint deals that might be in danger of not closing on time or need a push to get back on track in order to meet goals.

Einstein Opportunity Scoring applies artificial intelligence (AI) to CRM data to zero in on deals most likely to close. It then crosses that information with insights on executive engagement, deal size and other factors. The hope is these rankings will help sales agents prioritize which deals to focus on.

Perhaps the most useful of the new features, said Brent Leary, partner at consulting firm CRM Essentials, is Einstein Email Insights, which not only locates emails for sales agents to answer first through natural language processing, but also suggests verbiage with which to reply. Suggestions can include a number of tasks, such as scheduling a meeting or writing a quote.

It’s getting harder and harder for people to read their email. This increases the opportunity to actually convert sales.
Brent Learypartner, CRM Essentials

“It’s getting harder and harder for people to read their email,” Leary said, because volume for many workers is increasing, but the amount of time between meetings and other tasks isn’t. “This increases the opportunity to actually convert sales.”

Leary added that B2B companies with well-established workflows will be better equipped to use these new tools first. Furthermore, B2C companies with large data sets — perhaps generated by smartphone apps used by customers or internet-of-things tools generating data streams — will be in line to reap firstfruits of the new Salesforce AI capabilities.

“Data provides fuel for those insights,” Leary said.

More capabilities are likely to come in advance of the company’s November Dreamforce user conference, said Lynne Zaledonis, product marketing vice president for Salesforce Sales Cloud. The features announced today help automate manual processes and make for time for sales agents to focus on selling instead of data entry, she said. Some of the features were on Salesforce’s product roadmap; others came from meetings with customers testing new ideas.

“[Developing] artificial intelligence, we’ve learned a lot about things they were interested in, and we’ve reprioritized or tweaked them — and we continue to do that,” she said.

Salesforce Ventures puts $50 million focus on AI developers

To help foster development of apps and other tools utilizing new AI functions and data connectors, Salesforce Ventures will shovel $50 million into the Salesforce AI fund. Those monies will support developers working on AI projects.

First in line to receive support from the new fund, the company said, will be Highspot, which makes sales content tools for automating presentation and pitch production, among other things, and Squirro, whose “context intelligence” tools dredge unstructured and structured sales and service data.

Also in the initial round of fundees for the Salesforce AI fund is TalkIQ, launched late last year. The company makes speech-to-text transcription tools and, once calls are transcribed, applies AI to analyze the transcriptions and uncover patterns that can be used to improve a company’s operations.