Media Moves and News

Coverage: Salesforce rolls out artificial intelligence tool

September 19, 2016

Posted by Chris Roush

SalesforceCustomer relationship management giant Salesforce unveiled an artificial intelligence tool called Einstein on Sunday designed to help sales reps close sales faster and more effectively.

Marco della Cava of USA Today had the news:

Among the tasks Einstein was designed to help with are sales (predicts leads and prioritizes emails), service (pre-populates case fields and suggests responses), marketing (predicts customer engagement and delivers emails during optimal engagement windows) and commerce (recommends products to shoppers and ranks most relevant site searches).

“Simply put, the computer learns from all your data and uses it to build a model, find patterns and predict the future,” says John Ball, general manager for Einstein. “It detects patterns that aren’t as easy for humans to detect.”

Founded by Benioff in 1999, Salesforce was an early pioneer in cloud-based software at a time with companies such as Oracle were skeptical of the cloud’s potential.

Now almost every major tech company has pivoted to cloud-based initiatives, a $300 billion business that includes Amazon’s dominant Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s Cloud Platform. Salesforce, Box and others offer services in more targeted areas.

Rachael King of The Wall Street Journal focused on how the technology works:

The software techniques aren’t necessarily new. However, the technology has gained newfound power with the advent of large-scale cloud computing and the accumulation of large bodies of data, such as photos uploaded by users to social networks, which give computers enough material to make useful distinctions between one photo and another.

Much of the recent activity has involved a technique known as deep learning, which enables computers to discern patterns in large sets of data without being told specifically what to look for. Einstein uses a combination of deep learning, predictive analytics, natural-language processing and data discovery, the process of using multiple data sources to uncover hidden trends.

If Salesforce can integrate AI into its applications, the San Francisco, Calif., cloud-software provider may get a jump on competitors, saidTom Austin, vice president at research firm Gartner Inc. “There are no simple, easy applications today to buy that really work,” he said. “This is hard stuff still.”

Eugene Kim of Business Insider reported that Salesforce stole attention from Oracle:

Einstein fundamentally changes the Salesforce user experience. It will be available across all seven of Salesforce’s products, mostly at an additional charge, and app developers will also be able to build apps using some of Einstein’s AI capabilities.

Perhaps that explains why Salesforce decided to unveil Einstein on Sunday, just two hours before Oracle’s cofounder Larry Ellison is scheduled to do a keynote at OpenWorld, zapping some of the excitement around Oracle’s big annual event. Salesforce has typically rolled out its new products closer to its own annual conference, Dreamforce, which is taking place in early October this year.

Although Salesforce is the clear leader in the cloud business software space, Oracle has been doubling down on growing its cloud business lately. In its earnings last week, Oracle’s cloud revenue exceeded expectations, as the company raised its guidance as well. It’ll be interesting to see what new AI features Oracle rolls out at OpenWorld as the company’s also been touting its own AI capabilities lately.

Benioff says he’s not taking Oracle’s cloud efforts too seriously, telling Business Insider that Oracle’s still “scrambling” to grow its cloud business.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.