Salesforce kicks off the Year of Einstein

Salesforce highlighted that Einstein, featured at last fall’s Dreamforce, is part of the new spring release, and is in the hands of customers. They also announced a new partnership with IBM that unites IBM’s Watson with Einstein.

Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s CEO

On Tuesday, enterprise software vendor Salesforce used their Fiscal Year 2018 Customer Kickoff event to highlight the availability of their new Salesforce Einstein artificial intelligence capability, and the practical benefits it can offer to customers. Einstein is part of the Salesforce Spring Release, which is now live.

“Since we announced Einstein at Dreamforce, we have now delivered it to our customers all around the world,” said Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s CEO. “Our dream for this year is soon to have a billion users using Salesforce Einstein – whereas before business didn’t have real access to AI at all.”

Alex Dayon, Salesforce’s President and Chief Products Officer, explained how the Einstein capabilities support Salesforce’s broad strategy, which goes beyond becoming the world’s number one and most complete CRM.

“We are making each and every cloud on our platform the leaders in their categories, and we also want all those clouds to be integrated together,” he said. “That’s a significant part of our strategy, which is enabled by the foundation of our AI infrastructure.”

Dayon briefly surveyed how the Einstein capabilities in the Spring FY 18 release that are now in production impact several of the Salesforce clouds, and provide detailed AI without the need to hire data scientists.

Alex Dayon, Salesforce’s President and Chief Products Officer

“Our Sales Cloud now has a lot of predictive behavior, such is lead scoring, which is scored by data appropriate to your particular business,” he said. “The AI learns your business and makes your leads smart.” It also recommends the next best action for the sales person to take in the sales process.

Dayon described how the Service Cloud now provides actionable data to guide call centre supervisors, combining real-time operational insights with smart data discovery to provide them with omni-channel intelligence, as well as AI-powered analytics to increase agent productivity and customer satisfaction. It can also predict customer satisfaction and make specific recommendations to improve the customer experience.

Dayon also explained how the Marketing Cloud benefits by Einstein’s algorithms analyzing hundreds of millions of data points, allowing the marketer to put the right ad in front of the right person, determining the best medium by which that person should receive it, and at what time they should get it. It allows the targeting of new segments with more personalized and effective campaigns.

Einstein Vision, a set of powerful new APIs that allow developers of all skill levels to bring image recognition to CRM and build AI-powered apps fast, is a key part of the release. The result of computer vision breakthroughs from Salesforce Research, Einstein Vision lets companies unlock insights within photos—from detecting inventory levels and product quality to identifying consumer trends and customer preferences.

Two of Salesforce’s customers, Coca-Cola and AWS, were highlighted at the customer event in the way they are using the Einstein technologies.

“Coca-Cola has been able to do object identification and inventory management from a cell phone camera using Einstein,” Benioff said. “Einstein gives our customers like Coca-Cola the ability to use it to transform their business. We will see dramatic changes and shifts with this incredible new capability.”

“Einstein enables AWS marketers to capture a lead and take it into cash,” said Stephanie Buscemi, EVP, Product and Solutions Marketing at Salesforce. “Einstein is scoring leads, not just from the webinar here, but from every single channel. It goes through all the engagement history, and provides a predictive lead score. Einstein enables you to route those leads, and prioritizes them. It creates a lead management process with clicks, not code.”

Salesforce also announced an important AI-related partnership with IBM, which will see IBM Watson, and Salesforce Einstein seamlessly connect to enable what the companies say will be an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and other platforms.

“At IBM, we believe that 2017 is the year that AI enters the world at scale, and Watson will touch one billion people,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM’s CEO. “IBM and Salesforce have the same vision, where people are aided by cognitive capabilities that enhance their expertise. Watson is focused on unstructured data and industry domains, while Einstein is CRM. Together, they will provide the most complete and detailed knowledge of customers anywhere.”

“We’ve dreamed about this partnership for 18 years,” said Parker Harris, Salesforce’s co-founder and CTO, who with Benioff had earlier noted that tomorrow is the 18th anniversary of the day they decided to start the company.