Whilst the annual fun and excitement of Dreamforce was in full swing I was sat in the office trying to quickly assimilate as much information from the announcements. Of course I’d love to have enjoyed San Francisco in October but at least good old Blighty had dry, sunny days.
OK, I was bitter and jealous.
All software vendors love a regular shindig to show off the new stuff the techies have been burning midnight oil for. With a certain amount of self interest I’m pretty much focused on what that means for my customers and for us. With a slew of acquisitions Dreamforce 2016 promised a full agenda of new goodies and it certainly hasn’t disappointed. The star of the show was always going to be Einstein but there’s more besides which I’ll list below.
Through a combination of machine learning, machine intelligence and deep intelligence Salesforce Einstein will provide a technology layer to all clouds with specific functions that provides AI functionality. Functionally there are a lot of forward looking messages, no doubt caveated with plenty of safe harbour statements. For Sales Cloud Salesforce;
Sales Cloud Einstein will include Predictive Lead Scoring that enables sales reps to focus on closing the best leads, Opportunity Insights that alert reps when a deal is trending up or down, and Automated Activity Capture which seamlessly logs email and calendar activity with the right Salesforce record, and analyzes them to deliver predictions. For more information on Sales Cloud Einstein, visit http://sforce.co/2d0LYd7
Likewise for Service Cloud the functional examples are;
Service Cloud Einstein will include Recommended Case Classification which automatically pre-populates key case fields enabling predictive routing of cases to the right agent and enabling agents to resolve customer issues faster. With Recommended Responses service agents will be pushed the best responses, and Predictive Close Times will predict the time needed to resolve an issue, helping improve agent productivity. For more information on Service Cloud Einstein, visit http://sforce.co/2cWsQ4i
Marketing and other cloud examples are here http://www.salesforce.com/company/news-press/press-releases/2016/09/160919.jsp
I haven’t found details of price and availability (other then ask your Account Manager). With AI currently being a red hot technology topic Salesforce are making an interesting move that should offer plenty of benefit. Let’s also set expectations correctly. Don’t expect it to revolutionise the platform overnight, this feels like the start of a journey. Remember that Metamind was acquired a mere 6 months ago. AI is huge buzz right now with vendors laying out product visions. The key word is to remember with AI right now is “vision”.
But, in years to come, I have no doubt we’ll be wondering how we lived without it.
The August purchase of Quip is already showing signs of integration into the Salesforce platform. With Quip, Salesforce (to some extent…) takes on Microsoft and Slack with productivity and collaboration. Quip allows users to collaborate on documents with messaging built in. The integration allows users to sign into Quip with Salesforce credentials and features promised in 2017 will allow users to embed live CRM data into Quip documents. The Quip purchase has promise as Salesforce can hardly be credited with making the best document creation or editing facilities. Too often I find myself dipping between Evernote/OneNote/Word for meeting notes and copy/paste between.
LiveMessage (formerly HeyWire)
LiveMessage provides functionality for Call Centre agents to interact with customers on mobile devices via text and messaging services. Using existing call centre inbound numbers, your customers can send text messages and interact directly with agents. As most of us have become frustrated with complex dial tone menu’s and call waiting music, this provides a more efficient way for customers to interact as agents are no longer tied up with voice calls and able to manage multiple text chats at once.
Lightning Bolt introduces a new framework for the rapid development of communities and portals. This extends the current capabilities of communities and portals with more off-the-shelf components to introduce business logic, workflows, etc into your communities and portals. A number of verticalised complete partner solutions were also launched as part of the announcement.
Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware)
Demandware is (was…) a July 2016 acquisition by Salesforce. Commerce Cloud provides web store e-commerce functionality that’s now built into the Salesforce platform. The product enables users to quickly build branded web stores with rich and focused shopping experiences for customers build in.
Salesforce1 is the name for the Salesforce mobile application for iOS and Android. Until now, you had limited colour and no branding options. Now companies can extend their own brand design to Salesforce1.
Salesforce IoT Cloud
The Salesforce IoT (Internet of Things) Cloud allows Salesforce to connect to IoT devices to collect streams of data and act. This could be literally anything to sensing if a key customer component is about to fail and scheduling an engineer to managing flight delays. This Salesforce video has some good examples. Many of the “things” in our lives are fast becoming IoT enabled, therefore doing something useful with the enormous streams of data that get generated is seen as a huge customer service opportunity.