Salesforce Hypes Einstein AI at Dreamforce

DREAMFORCE ’16 — Salesforce continues to sing the praises of its new artificial-intelligence capabilities.

The customer relationship management (CRM) software provider has spent multiple keynotes in its Dreamforce event demonstrating how Einstein AI – announced last month – integrates with Salesforce’s various clouds. The company also touted its recent acquisitions, its newly enhanced Lightning design framework and other new solutions.

Co-founder Parker Harris reiterated that Einstein is not a separate platform, but rather a set of capabilities that go into other Salesforce solutions.

“We did not build a separate platform. Why would we do that? We built it into the Salesform platform, so it’s right there with your data, and it’s also right there with that Lightning experience, serviced into all the applications you know and love,” Harris said.{ad}

Salesforce founder Marc Benioff led the main keynote, which frequently invoked AI and Einstein. He said his company has invested more than $1 billion in buying companies that would help it with AI, the most recent being BeyondCore and Krux.

Stephanie Buscemi, executive vice president of product and solutions marketing, said buying Krux’s data-management platform extends the capabilities of Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud.

“All the targeting and segmentation will get that much richer for consumer profiling and scale. That’s the power of all this,” she said.

Benioff said the goal of Einstein was to bring data scientist-type abilities to businesses that can’t afford such an employee. Multiple Salesforce executives gave demos of the AI using insights from emails, social media and other interactions to help businesses with tasks such as lead management, marketing and CRM.

Benioff argued that the ultimate benefit of trends like AI, mobility and IoT is the connectivity they give to businesses.

“Behind all of these things is our customer,” he said. “And these are opportunities to get much [more closely] connected to our customer than ever before.”

Benioff repeated Salesforce’s Day 1 warning that partners and customers need to become ready for Lightning by February 2017.

“This is a huge shift that we’ve all been working on for almost five years,” he said.

He plugged additional acquisitions Salesforce has recently made, including the collaboration provider Quip, which Salesforce officially purchased in September.

“Everybody loves spreadsheets. Everybody loves word processors,” he said. “What we don’t like is having to email those spreadsheets and word processors throughout our company and to our customers and to our partners. What we want to do is collaborate with spreadsheets and word processors and have conversations.”

Salesforce said it has enhanced its My Salesforce1 app so that companies can rebrand it with their own name and colors. The company also announced Salesforce LiveMessage, an interface that will provide 1-to-1 messaging interactions between customers and support.

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