AI and collaboration innovations beef up next-gen Salesforce Customer Success Platform

The new enhancements come from the internal work of Salesforce Einstein, on the AI side, and the recent acquisition of collaboration vendor Quip.


Alex Dayon, Salesforce’s President and Chief Product Officer

SAN FRANCISCO – Salesforce opened up its Dreamforce 2016 signature event here with the announcement of the next generation of its flagship Customer Success Program. The platform now has eight clouds covering sales, service, marketing, commerce, communities, analytics, IoT and app development. The key new things come from the recent acquisition of Quip and the work of Salesforce’s internal project, Salesforce Einstein.

“Our job is to empower customers to service every step of their lifecycle,” said Alex Dayon, Salesforce’s President and Chief Product Officer. “All eight of our applications – each and every product we have – are on the one platform. That’s the value proposition, as is abstracting the customer from the complexity. This is how you transform your business in a world of change, where everything is connected, where there are apps for everything on your phone, and where customers are now part of your information system. At Dreamforce, we will be talking very little about technology, but a lot about customers. Our goal is not to talk about technology, but to abstract that complexity, Our goal is to transform business.”

The most interesting way the platform has been enhanced internally to do this comes from Salesforce Einstein, which increases AI capabilities to make every customer interaction smarter.

“Einstein can transform the way we all work,” said John Ball, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Einstein. “It is the beginning of an AI revolution. We are already seeing it transform the consumer world. Einstein is all about transforming the business world. It brings artificial intelligence to Salesforce and is built right into the platform, to make transactions faster, smarter and more predictable. We started this journey a couple years ago by building Einstein. Now we are announcing 17 Einstein-powered capabilities coming out in our winter release, which will transform every business app.”

Ball said that until now, bringing true AI to the business process has been just too hard.

“Einstein tells you what leads will convert,” he said. “It takes all these signals from billions of transactions and applies machine learning to predict outcomes and automate processes. This helps salespeople prospect more efficiently. Its hundreds of millions of recommendations every day will predict if an opportunity will close, and identify things to help close the deal. For marketers, it shows whether customers are likely to open and read a lead, and other ways to increase engagement.”

Ball said that if a company is working on 25,000 leads, and 10 per cent of these convert into sales – a good ratio – this still means that they are wasting time on 22.500 who aren’t ready to buy or for whom the company isn’t a good fit. Einstein identifies and explains these.

“Think of it as predictive apps out of the box built into the platform,” Ball stated.

Ball also indicated Einstein had been designed to overcome culture barriers from sales pros who think their insight and experience makes them the best judge of how to identify hot leads.

“We make it easy for them to use, and seamless in the way that it explains its predictions, so that insights and predictions come at the best time,” he said.

Einstein’s ability to leverage the data in Salesforce allows it to act as everyone’s very own data scientist.

“There are enough data scientists in the world, but there still aren’t enough to have one for every app for every customer,” Ball said. “Einstein provides this by using the AI to automatically do data science. The idea as well is to democratize app-building, allowing non-technical people to be able to build AI-powered apps with the tools that millions of developers already use every day, by adding Einstein-powered fields to any object, page layout or workflow and make every business process smarter.

“Our vision is a platform that users and admins and developers of all skillsets can use to build apps,” Ball said. Those who are more technical will not be disempowered, because they will be able to access state of the art data learning without needing to be an expert in it, leveraging Predictive Vision and Sentiment Services to train deep learning models to recognize and classify images and sentiment in text.

Another technology boost comes from Quip, the maker of a next-gen productivity solution designed for teams that Salesforce acquired a month ago. Built with a mobile-first perspective, Quip combines documents, spreadsheets, task lists and team chat in one seamless experience known as a “living document.”

“Quip is the most disruptive product I’ve seen for years, and we are embedding this into the Salesforce platform,” Dayon said,

“We believe that you should be able to communicate and write in the same product experience, removing email,” said Bret Taylor, Quip’s CEO. “This is a new form of collaboration, with document, collaboration and chat together.”

At Dreamforce, Salesforce is announcing Quip’s one platform vision, and what Taylor called three significant new features.

“First, Quip is being built into the sales cloud, with a Lightning module,” he said. This will let teams link, access and create Quip documents, spreadsheets and tasks directly from within Salesforce.

“Secondly, we are letting you pull Salesforce data right into documents and spreadsheets for an amazing integrated experience,” Taylor pointed out. This lets users display Salesforce data and account records as Rich Mentions in Quip documents, which will automatically update as they change in Salesforce.

“Thirdly, we are providing a single sign-on with Salesforce, so you don’t have to create a new account,” Ball said.

Quip had been a partner of Salesforce before the acquisition, and had been working on all these enhancements before they were acquired – which is why they are all ready for Dreamforce.

“Because we were partnered with them before selling to them, we had developed all these before the acquisition and would have announced them at Dreamforce either way,” Ball said.

Quip documents can be attached to Chatter messages now, but Ball said they need to do more work to integrate with it better.

“We also need to do more to integrate with all the clouds Salesforce has, and that is a major priority over the next year,” he stated.

Quip Sign In with Salesforce is available today at no extra cost to users. The Quip Lightning Component and Integration will be available in the first half of 2017.

Salesforce is using Dreamforce to show off its new Commerce Cloud, which came through the recent acquisition of Demandware. They also nnounced innovations to the Salesforce1 Mobile App. My Salesforce1 makes it easy for Salesforce customers to brand their Salesforce1 apps, and list them independently in mobile app stores. Salesforce1 Forecasting give sales leaders a top-down view of their businesses, making it easy for them to manage their forecasts on-the-go.

Salesforce Lightning is being enhanced by Lightning Bolt, a new framework within the Salesforce Platform, which greatly accelerates the ability to turbocharge the creation of a new portal or customer-facing website that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce CRM.

“Bolt can create a portal in minutes, which could have taken months to build before Lightning,” said Mike Rosenbaum, EVP of CRM Apps at Salesforce. “We are working with large integrators like Deloitte and PwC to package it in the app store.”

Enhancements to the Thunder IoT cloud were also announced. New IoT Profiles will bring together critical data sources in real-time, including streaming event data from connected devices and contextual data from Salesforce, such as service history or open opportunities.

“This will provide the ability to see in real time how customers and devices are moving through their orchestrations,” said Woodson Martin, ‎Salesforce’s EVP and General Manager, Thunder & IOT Cloud.