Artificial intelligence (AI) appears to be heading its way to business systems as technologies with human-like capabilities are increasingly adopted to enhance workplace productivity. This is recently demonstrated by Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) provider, which has successfully embedded an AI to the software that salespeople use.
Dubbed as Salesforce Einstein, the AI can reportedly analyze tons of data drawn from business activity, correspondence, e-commerce, email, social data streams and even data from Internet of Things (Iot). It is powered by a sophisticated algorithm that is able to learn and discover data insights to inform business decisions.
"Think of Einstein as the intelligence layer between the data and the actual apps," John Ball, senior vice president and general manager of content at Salesforce, told PC Magazine. "We surface lead and opportunity insights, and we've baked AI throughout the platform and the user experience so that, over time, the user won't even think of it as an AI-powered feature; it's just part of the platform."
The Einstein AI was said to be developed in-house, which resulted in a multi-tenant platform that can run an AI system. This was enhanced by a series of previous tech acquisitions that included Metamind and RelatedIQ. All these developments have been largely motivated by extracting value from the huge amount of data that Salesforce customers generate.
Presently, Einstein can be triggered in the Salesforce platform in different ways. For example, it powers the Predictive Lead Scoring feature, which analyzes industry and engagement information. The data is used to help sales representatives effectively identify the most promising lead among a list of prospects. Einstein can also produce critical insights and alert salespeople toward the way a deal is trending.
Clients could expect Einstein to pop up in Salesforce's array of products that cover Marketing, Community, Sales, Analytics, Commerce and App clouds.
"We're democratizing AI so customers get the benefits without having to hire data scientists," Ball said. "The platform also enables developers at different skill levels to train their own classifiers with zero deep learning expertise."
Einstein also includes security mechanisms that allow the system to ensure no data is shared between customers.
Salesforce has been aggressively pursuing a global expansion strategy. Early this year, for instance, it tapped Amazon Web Services to cater to an expanding customer base. This move was also seen as part of the company's efforts to decrease its dependency on Oracle Corp., whose database technology is crucial in operating Salesforce's software for salespeople and marketers. Oracle's services are expensive however, and an initiative within Salesforce called "Project Sayonara" is reportedly underway. Led by Pat Helland, an erstwhile Microsoft software architect, it purportedly plots a way to wean the organization from Oracle.