• The week in review (Quip Slides, Einstein Voice, Benioffs buy Time, Dreamforce next week)

    There is less than a week until Dreamforce…. and the announcements have started already!  This week we have seen two new product launches with Quip Slides and Einstein Voice.  And although not specifically Salesforce news, Marc Benioff & his wife have announced they are buying Time Magazine.  So let’s jump on in…

    Salesforce introduces Einstein Voice (watch out Alexa!)

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Roll on Dreamforce…. If this is the scale of announcements we can expect to hear! (pardon the pun)

    Salesforce has announced the new Einstein Voice app for use dictation and navigation.

    Have a look at the video to see it in action, shared by Salesforce on Twitter.

    The video shows a voice memo being captured, including a note and some action items.  Then Einstein gets to work, and analyses the words and tries to correlate it to data within your Salesforce (such as updating a opporutnity amount and close date).

    So simple, yet very very effective.  And after all, isn’t that what AI and ultimately Salesforce Einstein is all about…  I mean that and world domination #helloSkyNet

    The announcement before Dreamforce could have been as a response to Microsoft’s recent Dynamics 365 AI announcement.  But I do hope it is a taster of a number of exciting products announcements next week!

    Read more about this over at VentureBeat.

    Quip launches Quip Slides…

    Salesforce Quip Slides

    Salesforce’s Quip has just completed the Office ‘trifecta’, by announcing the launch of Quip Slides.

    In a move which allows users of Quip to now create collaborative slide decks using the new product.

    If you haven’t used Quip previously, the power of platform is how it drives collaboration on the documents teams use regularly.

    You can follow documents, get alerts when updated, prepare/update the document as a team and even chat about the document/project/etc in a team feed (similar to Chatter).  And the power of your CRM (Salesforce obviously) can easily be pulled in to these documents automatically.

    Previously you could create documents and sheets.  And now, firing a shot across the bow of Microsoft (and Google), slides and presentations are included!

    Here is a demo video of the new feature in action:

    Read more, over at GeekWire or visit the Quip Slides site.

    Benioff’s buy Time…

    Although not specifically Salesforce, the Benioff’s have announce they are buying Time Magazine.  Now there is a lot of news announcing this acquisition into the personal assets of the Benioff’s – one article in particular caught my eye.

    Over at the NYTimes, they had an interesting take on the Benioff announcement to buy Time.  Specifically relating to how the personal fortunes of CEOs, when mixed with media and politics – can cause tension in the current US political regime.

    Regardless of your political persuasions, it is an interesting read and covers how the purchase personally of a media organisation may complicate things for the company’s board/shareholders.

    Read move, over at NYTimes (or read about the acquisition via the BBC).

    Dreamforce, is almost here!

    And finally, in case you have been hiding under a rock, Dreamforce is almost here!  Kicking off next Monday 24th Sept. survive Dreamforce

    It is another sell-out this year, and you can read all about 9 tips to survive Dreamforce here.

    Additionally, all announcements from the week will be showcased on this site – so stay tuned…

  • Dreamforce ’17: roundup

    Were you fortunate enough to head to this year’s Dreamforce?  If not, have you caught up on all the new goodies that were announced?  If you are like me and couldn’t attend, we have to catch up on all the new announcements from this session via Youtube, Facebook,  Linkedin and other blogs.

    So to help out, below is an overview of some of the resources I have found useful to catch-up on all things Dreamforce 2017, and feel free to add your comments & own resources in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

    Fourth Industrial Revolution

    The key theme this year was around the 4th industrial revolution.

    And it contains a key message about the impacts on the impacts this next digital revolution will have on society, from AI and the workplace of the future, to how we treat each other…


    Dreamforce 2017: over 3200 sessions of learnings!

    If you have been fortunate enough to attend Dreamforce, the scale is massive.  It literally takes over San Francisco for a week and brings together people from so many different backgrounds to learn and network.

    But where to start though?  Catching up on everything is a mammoth task and with over 3200+ sessions, there is so much for people to catchup on.  New use cases and successes shared with the Salesforce community… It is what Dreamforce is all about!  That is why no two wrap-ups will be the same, as everyone has there own personal journey through the week.

    But key highlights for me include Salesforceben with two great posts stand out for me: Admin perspective or Nov roundup) and Jen Lee’s fantastic recap and her sessions about process automation and workflows.  Also David from SFDC99 has a great recap too.

    Salesforce has the videos published from most of their keynotes and a number of the larger sessions from the week, and you can access them on the Salesforce Youtube playlist.

    Key Youtube videos I have found useful include:

    And personally, I love the T-Mobile story at this year’s keynote, where they demonstrated a number of the new ‘mySalesforce’ features (such as my Trailhead, my Lightning and my Einstein).  You can catch that session including a live demo here:


    The future roadmap of Salesforce core platforms

    One session I always try to catch up on is the core platform update/roadmap sessions.  This next session has a number of the Product Owners talking about some of the features that are coming up over the next few releases.

    Want a crystal ball into Salesforce’s thinking and where they are focusing their efforts? Look no further.

    They also go into the Ideas Exchange, why some ideas can’t/haven’t been delivered so far (even though they might seem really simple from the outside looking in), and how Lightning is actually allowing Salesforce to drive the pace of delivery of new ideas that Classic simply couldn’t do…

    So without further ado, here is the True to the Core overview from Parker Harris and co…

    The future roadmap of Salesforce’s core products definitely looks promising and personally I can’t wait for the discussed improvements to reports & dashboards (Sub folders… Field to field filters?!  OMG)

    Comments always welcome

    Got any key videos / blogs / resources you have used to catch up on Dreamforce this year?  Share in the comments below.

  • The week in review (Einstein Platform, SF ‘CRM’ stock to double? & Oracle/Salesforce agree!)

    There is a big focus this week in Salesforce Briefs on AI with Einstein Platform being released for Developer’s, with several new tools being announced.  Also in this week’s brief, how AI can help Sales Enablement, ‘CRM‘ stock to double in 3yrs and finally did you ever think you would see Oracle and Salesforce agree on something?!  I know I didn’t…

    Salesforce introduces Einstein Platform (AI tools for developers)

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    The slow and steady release of Einstein across the Salesforce multiverse continues this week, with Einstein Platform being unveiled to the world.

    After Salesforce announced the Account Based Marketing AI suite last month and attention has now turned to helping out platform developers.  Who can now have access to some cool new additions such as Intent & Sentiment Analysis!

    This means developers can now start use AI to analyse comments/text to understand if it is positive/neutral/negative in sentiment or also use Einstein to analyse the intent of a request (to then help route to the correct queue as an example).

    Forbes has an article around the dawn of the ‘data developer’ here, and a quick look into where this trend might end up.

    How AI can help Sales Enablement

    Source: Heinz Marketing
    Sales Enablement.

    Firstly, the term Sales Enablement isn’t very common outside of North America.  So what are we talking about here?  Ultimately the function of sales enablement is to provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.

    So it is a domain that is ripe for AI to help drive insights about the buying process.  We saw previously how Marc Benioff is using AI to empower Salesforce’s forecast meetings.

    The insights and trend analysis that machine learning can deliver will help to unleash productivity within any sales organisation.  And this article looks at how it will support Sales Enablement in this push towards the future.

    Salesforce (CRM) stock to double?

    One of Salesforce’s major shareholders is making bold claims about the share price having room to grow.  To watch the video, click here.  This is in no way financial advice, but interesting if it proves true…

    We all know Salesforce has been flying along recently.  But from my point of view the competition in the CRM space is about to really heat up.  Microsoft is starting to slowly find its feet, Oracle is not to be underestimated and SAP is also in the pack…  Not to mention all the yappy upstarts like Pipedrive, Zoho, etc.

    The CRM playing field is about to get very crowded.

    Oracle, Amazon, Google, and Salesforce finally agree on something…

    Ellison vs Benioff
    Ellison vs Benioff (Source: zdnet)

    (I loved this headline from The Register!  It really hit the nail on the head…)

    The High Tech Innovators Alliance (HTIA) a lobby group which has been formed and is backed by eight tech giants (the above mentioned, alongside Adobe, Cisco, Intel and Dell).  Why is this interesting?  They have formed this lobby group to try and get politicians to fix problems that surround patent law currently.  Because at the moment it seems anyone can sue anyone.  With the aim to make it more difficult for patent trolls to sue them and others.

    Hopefully this doesn’t stifle innovation, but instead affords innovators correct protections for their ideas.


  • Salesforce Briefs: The week in review (Trailhead Tracker, Magic Quadrant & SF AI Breakthrough)

    With Salesforce Briefs: Week in Review, we jump into the launch of the new Trailhead Tracker app.  Also saw Salesforce celebrating their Leadership position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for an astonishing nine consecutive years!  And finally there was a research paper published from Salesforce Metamind team, relating to Artificial Intelligence and how it may be able to start improving our productivity by creating summaries of text heavy documents and emails.


    Salesforce launches Trailhead Tracker

    Trailhead Tracker now on App ExchangeThis week Salesforce released a new app called Trailhead Tracker on the App Exchange.  With this app, you can now link Trailhead directly to your org.  Why would you want to do this?

    You can now assign badges and track employees progress on what they complete in Trailhead.  This signals a move for Trailhead towards a Learning Management System (LMS).

    Remember Trailhead isn’t just a tool for Admins/Developers, there are some great trails for end users too.  Imagine creating an onboarding plan for new employees, where users can work through self paced learning and get recognised within Salesforce for the modules they have completed.

    Find the app here on the AppExchange.   Additionally Trailhead also received a small update, allowing users to add content to a ‘favourite’ list.


    Salesforce maintains position in ‘Leaders Quadrant’ of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for ninth consecutive year

    This month has seen Salesforce named in the ‘Leaders Quadrant’ of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.
    Click to view – source: Gartner 2017

    What is the ‘Magic Quadrant’?  Gartner rate vendors in various fields based on two metrics, Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execution.  This narrows a vendor down into one of four quadrants:  Leader, Challenger, Visionary, Niche.  You can read more about the Magic Quadrant here at Wikipedia.

    It isn’t a foolproof grading system.  In addition it does give potential buyers an added dimension to support the buying process.  By showing the potential future roadmap of the system and how likely the vendor is to actually deliver on that vision.

    You know all those ‘Safe Harbour/Forward Looking Statement’ slides from Salesforce?  They are there for a reason. 🙂  As we all know Salesforce is a great innovator and this is one way they prove it.

    And on to the great news, Salesforce has achieved a Leadership position for the 9th year in a row in the CRM Customer Engagement, outperforming the likes of Oracle (and Microsoft which isn’t even rate in this category)!

    Earlier in the month, they were also named as a ‘Leader’ in the catchily named category ‘high productivity aPaaS’ Magic Quadrant, you can read about that here.


    Future direction of Einstein?  Breakthrough in Salesforce AI research allows the generation of long, coherent and relevant text summaries.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very recent development in the CRM arena.  The future potential excites me (and hopefully things don’t go the Terminator way) and I am excited in seeing how it benefit end users of Salesforce.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?
    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    But we are a little way of seeing the full power of AI, as I mentioned in the Deep Dive article.  We are only just starting to see the potential of Salesforce Einstein and what it can do for users.

    This week Salesforce Metamind published a research paper on how AI could be used in the future to increase productivity.  They have trained AI to provide a summary of long text blocks.  Ultimately this will be leveraged to produce an accurate summary of large unstructured text (like email or documents).

    For more you can read the TechCrunch article about the announcement here.  Alternatively Forbes also had a write up about this announcement.

  • Summer ’17 Deep Dive: Salesforce Einstein

    Since being announced, Salesforce Einstein is something I really want to get more involved with.  The initial fanfare from Dreamforce last year hasn’t disappeared.  If you are like me, you probably waiting to see how it can benefit your users before taking the next step.  But with Summer ’17 release, Salesforce Einstein gets some very welcome additions.

    Salesforce Einstein, a brief history…

    Salesforce Einstein Insights
    Salesforce Einstein Insights

    Firstly if you haven’t heard of Salesforce Einstein, welcome back to Planet Salesforce 🙂   Being launched at Dreamforce last year and is the name of the new AI platform which Salesforce is baking right into its core.  For a quick intro video, here is a Salesforce promo video (~1min) for Sales Cloud Einstein.

    The last two releases have seen it slowly starting to appear across the various clouds (ie Sales/Service/Marketing/Platform/IoT/etc).  Initially it was launched in Winter ’17 with some features regarding Lead Scoring, Activity Insights in Sales Cloud and Predictive Scoring in the Marketing Cloud (click here to watch the video).

    Spring ’17 release further expanded this with predictions and additional insights for Accounts and Opportunities within Sales Cloud.  App Platform and Communities also received some additional features…

    The first two releases really seemed a little bit light.   I am not saying the Product team have an easy job but I want to see more! 😉  And that we were yet to see the full power of Salesforce Einstein.  Is it ready for take-off?

    Roll-on Summer ’17

    As per my recent post, Summer ’17 pre-release notes are now published.  So what does the next release bring us in terms of Salesforce Einstein?

    1. Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness Report

    Well first off the bat, you will now be able to run a report on your Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness.  This is a smart move by Salesforce.  It follows a pattern of ‘readiness reports’ being made available for Lightning Experience and Optimizer (see my last post here).

    I am looking forward to being able to run this in my org and see what the results are!  No doubt there will be a dependency on Lightning Experience being enabled in your org.  So there might be similar dependencies on enabling both.

    Salesforce Summer '17 Release logo
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?

    2. Automated Contacts & Email Matching

    Einstein can now automatically suggest potential contacts to be created into Salesforce based on emails and events.  It can also suggest setting the contact role against opportunities based on those activities.

    This will be a simple but amazing feature for users.  My sales teams hate having to log their emails using Salesforce for Outlook.

    Anything that helps minimise sales admin time, can be added into the business case for getting Salesforce Einstein. 🙂

    3. High Velocity Sales

    This one is quite intriguing.  It does seem to be Salesforce bundling together a number of features available to orgs with Lightning Experience and Einstein enabled.

    By combining the features of Sales Console, Lead Scoring, Lightning Dialer (formerly Lightning Voice) and Activity Capture.  Salesforce is helping sales people streamline their work.

    Lightning Dialer…  Looks like quite a useful add-on and now allows you to setup a call lists.  If only it was available outside of US/Canada!!

    4. Improvements to Lead Scoring & build processes around it

    You can now access the ‘ScoreInsight’ object, which is where Salesforce Einstein stores its insight based scoring.  You can now use this via custom formula fields, Process Builder, triggers or Apex.  This might not sound immediately useful…

    But imagine being able to update the lead status, assign it to a campaign and potentially prioritise the lead.  All through automation based on the insights provided by Einstein.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Einstein ready for take-off?

    For me this is the first release that Einstein actually begins to add value to end-users.

    I am waiting with bated breath for the readiness report which becomes available with Summer ’17 release.  I am very eager to test it out on a legacy org and see the recommendations.  To be fair, I am not expecting a silver bullet with Einstein.  You know the old saying about data – crap in, crap out! 🙂  Though Einstein won’t solve data issues within your data, at least not at this stage…

    But this will no doubt serve as a fork in the road where the business case for buying Einstein might actually become viable.  And it will rapidly continue to expand across the Salesforce platform in the coming releases.

    Final word

    While researching this post, I found an interesting video series on Youtube.  Salesforce has created a new playlist, ‘FY18 The Year of Einstein‘.  The videos show how Einstein can be used to empower a business.  How?  In typical Salesforce fashion by highlighting use cases from the usual suspects (Coca-cola, Amazon AWS, etc).  I am intrigued about what Einstein Vision has the potential for, but in my current role I can’t see much use of it at this point in time though…


    What about you?  Use the comments below to share your thoughts.  What are you excited about with Salesforce Einstein.  Is there a specific use case you are looking at Einstein to help you with?

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