Artificial Intelligence (AI) might feel like something out of the future or a sci-fi thriller, but the fact is - it’s here and it’s good for business.
As I head into a busy, interesting and exciting week - I’m attending Dreamforce 2017 in San Francisco, hosted by Salesforce - I have been thinking about how far we have come in the area of AI. And it’s quite far. We are seeing quite a bit of interest from our customers in this area - especially from those in retail and E-commerce.
One area that we are helping customers to better understand is Einstein. Salesforce now offers this best-in-class platform that brings advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities into the core of the Customer Success Platform. It is exciting and a little overwhelming for some. That’s why we’re here - to help our customers to more fully understand the capabilities of Salesforce products such as Einstein. We spend a great deal of time ensuring that we are experts in these areas - and our customers count on that.
Many Bubblebox customers are marketers, and the ability to use artificial intelligence as part of their Salesforce toolkit is compelling. We have seen a huge uptick in calls asking about Einstein and what it can do for their organizations. Einstein can be found across many Salesforce products. It makes sense that our customers want us to help them to understand which elements of Einstein will work for them.
From a Marketer’s Perspective
Whether or not you are in the City by the Bay for the biggest software conference on earth, the ability to use AI across your Salesforce Platforms is likely of interest. As I head into what will undoubtedly be an incredibly busy week, I thought I would take a moment to explain a little bit about what Einstein can deliver. Einstein reaches well into Sales, Service and Community Cloud offerings as well, but for today, I will speak to it from a marketer’s perspective.
So… what is Einstein?
Over the past few years, Salesforce has substantially expanded its holdings - from ExactTarget to Demandware to KRUX (in the Marketing arena) - and this shows impressive growth. They now have “best of breed” technology all in one place, with the ability for it to be integrated throughout the entire Salesforce.com platform.
Each of these acquisitions came with some element of machine learning features. For our customers with an online presence, the benefit is the ability to deliver product recommendations onsite and in emails. Both ExactTarget and Demandware offer this capability. In order to more effectively categorize these benefits, the name Einstein was attached to any feature across the Salesforce family of clouds that has aspects of machine learning intelligence.
There are many features of the various clouds delivering some aspect of machine learning, and that’s where we come in with our customers to help them to better understand the specifics of what this means to them.
I think one of the best ways to show what Einstein can do for you is through an example. In August, 2017, Salesforce launched Social Studio Einstein. (https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2017/08/einstein-vision-for-social-studio.html) . This offers customers the ability to automatically respond to tweets that contain images of their products.
If there is a picture of their product posted to Twitter, Social Studio Einstein has the ability to recognize it and either notify the company or automatically respond. That is a good feature. There are some caveats to this, of course. The machine needs to be trained, and the volume of products that Einstein can recognize is still expanding, but the principle is that machines can recognize images and respond automatically without the brand being named in the tweet’s text. This provides exceptional opportunities for engagement on social media.
Now, think about an online retailer with tens of thousands of images of your products on your website, perhaps using Commerce Cloud. As Commerce Cloud also has Einstein in the form of Einstein Recommendations, it would be easy to assume that any product recommendations made onsite or in emails can be powered by the same technology seen in the Social Studio Einstein feature. For example, if a customer is browsing formal red dresses, then based on the style and look of the images that person is viewing, you might expect that Einstein could offer similar dresses, in the same colour, to that customer. And that maybe the same recommendations could be placed into clientelling apps so that in-store stylists gain intelligent insight to assist them to provide better recommendations. This would improve the customer experience across all channels.
Vision vs. Reality
However, this vision is not yet a reality. I think it’s important that we realize that AI is pretty new in these applications. Not everything that we dream of is accessible right now. Social Studio Einstein and Einstein Recommendations are powered by two different applications - and that’s our current reality. Understanding the limitations at this point does help to manage expectations, but it shouldn’t dampen the enthusiasm for what can be done now.
I am a believer in the benefit of a Platform-as-a-Service and this evolving to become a reality. And I’m confident that AI will become all-encompassing (in a good way) in the future. For the moment, there are opportunities to undertake great initiatives using AI-based technology that can be executed right now. And the future of AI functionality, such as Einstein, and what it will bring to us are really exciting. It’s a good time to be using Salesforce. The future really is bright. Einstein is proof of that.
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