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What Two Years of AI Investment Did for Salesforce

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Back in 2016, we published an article after the launch of Salesforce Einstein making two claims:

  1. AI in sales is here to stay in a big way.
  2. Many more companies will follow in Salesforce’s footsteps.

Fun Fact: We were right! (Nice work, @MikeKaput)

Now, just two years later, Salesforce is expanding its AI capabilities with the addition of myEinstein and the AI space is more crowded than ever.

myEinstein Is on the Way

Salesforce is democratizing AI by putting the power in your hands with myEinstein.

myEinstein services enable admins and developers of all skill levels to build custom AI apps across Salesforce with clicks, not code. Services on the powerful machine learning platform include Einstein Prediction Builder and Einstein Bots.

Einstein Prediction Builder allows admins to set up a model based on what they define as the prediction. For example, Einstein Prediction Builder can identify if a customer is likely to churn and alert a sales rep to deliver a personalized, human experience just in time. Einstein Bots can tackle FAQs and routine customer service inquiries like tracking a package, freeing customer service agents to handle more complex cases. Both of these tools take past data and become better predictors as they go, providing more helpful insights to you and your customers.

What’s most profound about this technology is that, with it, everyone can do AI. You simply follow a guided setup to customize, build, train, and deploy AI models, no matter your skill level. You already understand your business objectives, and now you have the ability to customize your workflow without the need of an AI expert.

The service is currently in pilot but is expected to be available in Summer 2018.

Where Salesforce Stacks

Salesforce had the first mover advantage, but that isn’t stopping other competitors from entering the AI space and catching up with similar capabilities. Oracle offers solutions in their Customer Experience Cloud and Adaptive Intelligent Apps that will put myEinstein to the test. Adobe is also competing with similar machine learning capabilities aimed at creating a personalized customer experience.

However, Salesforce has some key advantages that make it stand out in a field of companies shouting “AI!” The ability to customize AI is impactful as smaller companies with smaller budgets can’t afford to hire a data scientist, or even find one in the limited talent pool.

Salesforce has been working on AI for quite awhile, and part of their future vision includes opening the guts of their platform to developers, which Wired says will come at a point when Salesforce will be competing directly with all the AI heavyweights, like Google and Microsoft, to dominate the business market.

“AI is only as good as the data it gets,” according to Richard Socher, Chief Scientist at Salesforce. Luckily, it’s reported that the company has exceptional data hygiene. They keep the mass amounts of data that fuel their tools organized, which may be key in winning the AI arms race as integration gets murky and data gets cloudy for others.

Future Vision

So what’s our next prediction? Well, if this is what a two-year transformation looks like for Salesforce, big things are ahead.

Salesforce acquisitions may reach a similar volume to the very aggressive 2016 year, and the company still focuses more on AI than marketing when choosing companies to acquire. Salesforce is still all-in on AI.

The company’s initial “no software” vision back in 1999 was as revolutionary then as AI is now. Future marketers won’t realize the power in their hands as they build prediction-based fields, just as we don’t think twice asking Siri to “find Italian restaurant near me” or scroll through suggested movies on Netflix.

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