Salesforce Einstein

  • 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…

  • Top 4 Salesforce Predictions for 2018

    It is the holiday season, and it is a time for being with family and friends. It is also a time to celebrate the year that was, along with planning for the year that is to come. Can you believe it, it is now 2018…. And with a new year, comes new expectations. In the Salesforce world, this means new features and new use cases. In this post we are going to look ahead to a number of Salesforce predictions for 2018.

    Salesforce Prediction #1: Salesforce revenue tops $12.5bn

    Salesforce Prediction: Revenue Forecast for FY18/19
    Salesforce Revenue Forecast (from Dreamforce 2017)

    This one shouldn’t be a a massive surprise, as it has been forecast in every quarterly update. But unless things go horribly wrong over the first three months, Salesforce will confirm it has sailed past the target of $10B revenue for its FY17/18 and pass $12.5bn for FY18/19!!!

    Marc Benioff has been quoted in the media saying: “We did this faster than any other enterprise software company in history. Our continued momentum as the leader in CRM, the fastest-growing segment of our industry, combined with more than $15 billion in billed and unbilled deferred revenue, puts us well on the path to $20 billion and beyond.”

    Why is this interesting? Firstly we could see Salesforce start acquiring more companies over the coming 12mths. Last year was all about bedding in the huge number of acquisitions from 2016. We are likely to continue to see new products and features from the purchases, but are there new ones on Benioff’s radar?

    This will make the battle between the Enterprise SAAS titans all the more interesting over the coming year, as Salesforce’s competitors gear up to take on the CRM behemoth. 2018 will see this competition among CRM platforms heat up… Which can only be a good thing for us as they all push each other to further innovate.

    Salesforce Prediction #2: Artificial Intelligence

    Buzzword and passing fad? Or a trend to look out for? However you feel about it, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will still be all around us in 2018. Einstein has celebrated its first birthday in 2017. After a slow start, new AI-enabled features being rolled out more frequently now.

    Helping hand: AI & Human

    But it isn’t just about Einstein. Recently I attended the “Week of Innovation” here in the lovely Salesforce Tower (aka Heron Tower) in London. One of the sessions that caught my eye was a Salesforce Ventures presentation. In it they highlighted the venture capitalist strategy, but also their portfolio of recent investments. And a number of these are also looking to leverage AI to solve specific business problems.

    For example, Digital Genius for AI in a Customer Service environment, TalkIQ for AI powered insight on call coaching your reps and Squirro for event-driven insights. All of these companies have been invested in by Salesforce Ventures, which shows that Salesforce is taking AI very seriously and looking to grow the AI & CRM ecosystem.

    Salesforce Prediction #3: Dreamforce customisation features (my, my, my)

    Another solid prediction… New features! My, oh my! But just bear with me…

    If you have been to a Salesforce presentation… Everything starts off with the ‘Forward Looking Statement’ (used to be called the Safe Harbor Statement). And this section will be no different! 🙂

    2018 will continue to see the standard 3x releases bring in a number of new features. So we will continue to be kept busy keeping up to date with all the planned features.

    Lightning Experience - Custom theme setup

    To start with, the big ‘my’ announcements at Dreamforce should all become available throughout 2018:

    • myLightning and all the custom theme goodness, is due for release in Spring ’18 (it is in the preview notes)
    • myTrailhead is expected to be generally available after a beta period. This is likely to be GA in H2 2018 (which is most likely to be the Winter ’19 release).
    • mySalesforce, myIoT, myEinstein will also likely become available too either in Summer ’18 or Winter ’19.

    Salesforce Prediction #4: New features keep on coming, to Lightning though…

    Another prediction for 2018: Salesforce will continue the trend of “Lightning Experience only” with new features. But what features can we expect to see in 2018? I have dug through a number of online videos, presentations and roadmaps to find out what is coming our way and here are some of the best features I found:

    Reports and Dashboards

    Reports and Dashboards in Lightning will get a lot of attention over the coming releases:

    • Dashboard tables will get reworked. Instead of being tied to the source report, the upcoming feature will allow you to have access to all the fields on your report type. (Likely Spring ’18 & Summer ’18)

    • Dashboard & Chart colour configuration allowing you to essentially create a custom look for your dashboard. (This should be available in Spring ’18)
    • Winter ’18 brought us Dashboard & Report folders within Lightning. But next year we will likely see the ability to create subfolders. (Likely in Summer ’18)
    • The ability to create field to field filters. This will allow you to compare two fields directly within the report builder, without needing to build report formulas or custom fields. For example you could run a filter where Created Date equals any custom date field on your object. (Likely Summer ’18)
    • Joined Reports in Lightning (Likely Summer ’18 via beta/pilot)
    • Ability to sort columns based on aggregate (Likely Summer ’18)
    • General usability updates, including ability to resize columns on reports and rename field labels in the report (Likely Winter ’19).

    Dynamic Lightning Components

    We saw the first iteration of this in Winter ’18 release, but there will be more ways to control dynamic components in upcoming releases. Potentially including the ability to filter the component by who the user is or by device being used.

    The presentation I saw on this actually went as far to say that Salesforce are working towards being able to release dependent page layouts… Which would be fascinating in the possibilities it would unlock for Admins and Developers on the platform!

    Lightning & Lists

    Inline edits when in list view have been in Lightning now for a number of releases. But the ability to mass action/update records has been limited.

    Moving forward, we will see a number of improvements to how you can work with lists when in Lightning. Things like the ability to mass change owner of records. Or updating multiple records from a list view with a Lightning Action…

    When will we see these? Well it is on the future roadmap for post-Spring ’18 releases.

    Wrap up

    So that is it for now. That was a glimpse at the crystal ball for 2018.

    As we all know, Salesforce is an ever-evolving beast of a platform. It will no doubt continue to drive industry-specific focus via packaged CRM features for industries (like Health Cloud or Financial Services Cloud). Are we likely to see a Retail Cloud some time soon?

    The year ahead also introduces a number of challenges for Admins, Developers and Specialists in the form of new privacy regulations. The largest change coming our way is GDPR, for companies dealing with individuals within the European Union.

    But as with every year, there is always a lot to look forward to. So happy new year and let the good times roll!

    Share your predictions

    Do you have any Salesforce predictions of your own? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

    Appendix

    If you want to know more, one of the most helpful videos outlining some of the new features on the roadmap, is this one: True to the Core, which was originally included in my last post Dreamforce 2017 roundup.

    Also the Lightning Roadmap is available here, but a little out of date now spring ’18 is in preview, it is available here.

    Hope that helps with exploring in more detail.

  • 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 (on track for $10B rev., Einstein AI & SF Tower in Indy)

    This week’s in Salesforce Briefs, the big news was Salesforce’s quarterly results, which highlight Salesforce is very much on track to hit their $10B (USD) revenue target for this financial year!  Also in this week’s wrap, have you wondered how Marc Benioff uses Salesforce Einstein AI within his own company?  We get a glimpse of some possible future AI tech that powers Salesforce’s own sales forecasting.  And finally, there has been a lot of noise recently about Salesforce Towers here there and everywhere.   With the new Salesforce Tower opening for business in Indianapolis, with an interesting article from Marc Benioff about why Salesforce is expanding there.

    $10,000,000,000
    $10b is alot of money… Let’s hope it is USD though and not ZWD 🙂

    Salesforce’s continues towards $10B revenue

    $10B is a lot of cash…  Salesforce announced its first quarter results this week, which confirm Salesforce continues its faced paced march towards the $10B revenue target for this financial year.

    With Marc Benioff stating that Salesforce’s revenue growth, gives it “the fastest growth of any top [five] enterprise software company.”

    Very impressive numbers indeed!  To take a look at the results in more details, head on over at TechCrunch.

     

    How Marc Benioff uses Einstein

    Over at BusinessInsider, there is a fascinating article on how Benioff uses Salesforce Einstein internally to shape.  There is a product called ‘Einstein Guidance’,  And it has been developed by Salesforce for internal use (at least initially), helping the sales team manage their forecast meetings.  File this under, ‘I can’t wait to see this one’.

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

    Einstein is a CRM highlight

    AI and specifically Salesforce’s plans to integrate Einstein as part of the overall platform, also made news as part of an over wrap up on why Salesforce’s share price hit an all time high.  Firstly, I didn’t realise that the stock ticker for Salesforce was ‘CRM’ on NYSE (clever marketing!).  But there is a breakdown on the future of AI and how it will be used to leverage future growth for Salesforce.  There is also an analysis of why there is so much focus on all things AI & Einstein and how the offering compares to other players in the marketplace.

    Prepare your CRM for the future of AI

    And keeping with the AI theme, I found a very interesting article about what you can do to start preparing your CRM for the future of AI today.  It doesn’t specifically relate to Salesforce, but it helps you to start thinking about how you can prepare for this new world when it finally arrives.

    CRM Buyer’s article can be found here.

     

    Salesforce Tower, Indianapolis
    Salesforce Tower in Indy

    Salesforce in Indianapolis

    In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.  But did you know Salesforce has made a lot of investment in Indianapolis, with another ‘Salesforce Tower’ being unveiled there?  Why are they expanding outside of San Francisco?  And why Indianapolis?

    There was an article from Marc Benioff himself on why Salesforce is investing in Indianapolis and explains the vision.

     

  • 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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