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Connecting the Dots with AI and Salesforce

Why Artificial Intelligence Matters

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is a buzzword these days. People like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk say that an advanced artificial intelligence will lead to the end of humanity, but the march continues for ever more advanced algorithms seemingly in spite of the warnings. Salesforce has even jumped into the fray with a feature called Einstein, but do businesses need artificial intelligence? When should businesses use AI?  And what would an AI project look like?

AI is being driven by Moore’s Law which states that raw processing power doubles every two years. Costs of data processing are falling considerably, making it more affordable for enterprise and even mid-level businesses to take advantage of even more data collection and consolidation. Data processing improvements have led to even more inputs.  Companies can collect data automatically from incoming phone calls, emails, payment systems, and even the stock market and social media.

Because of these drivers, advancements such as Siri and Google Now make everyday life easier, and people expect data relevant to them to be presented when they want it.  You might notice that if you perform an internet search for cereal or diapers that you’ll see ads for those items on your Facebook wall. A drawback is if you read a news article about the latest political scandal that you might get tailored ads for cheating or dating sites.

Since people know that purchasing or browsing habits are being tracked and they know what can be done with that data, they expect that if a subscription is coming due, that the company will proactively contact them to renew and inform them of the latest products and services. Engagements should be personally tailored to the customer, and the customer should feel that they have a relationship with the company. This applies whether the engagement is B2B or B2C.

Bringing AI to Your Business Using Salesforce

In the Salesforce ecosystem, Einstein can analyze sales data and provide notifications or recommendations for customers.  By evaluating trends, upgrade or upsell opportunities can be made available that are otherwise not obvious. In service organizations, needy customers can be more easily identified and knowledge articles specific to their types of issues can be sent to them before they even call with an issue. Or customers can be notified of add-on’s to packages that they’ve subscribed to or purchased that they will likely be interested in. Salesforce has made information easily viewable to organizations in the past, and this next evolution will utilize their customer information along with social media and environmental trends to provide a more unique and personalized experience for the customer. AI brings to the table:

  • Predictive Scoring – how likely is an opportunity to be won?
  • Forecasting – what will an asset or customer be worth in the future?
  • Recommendations – proactively offering products, services, or help before it’s needed

An AI project is usually not easy. Business challenges need to be framed properly.  Data inputs need to be identified adequately.  Then the right application development and delivery resources need to be provided to build the solution. Where Salesforce has an advantage is that much of the data is already available from the CRM data and apps that already exist. Social media, weather, and ticker symbols for example are captured today in Salesforce and combined with customer data captured through customer engagements.

According to Forrester Research, while more than 58% of business and technology professionals are evaluating AI, only 12% are currently using the technology today. While enterprise interest in AI is indeed surging, now is the time to start asking some of these AI-related questions. Having a discussion with a Salesforce consulting partner to address the above aspects, and how you can leverage Salesforce Einstein to transform your business, is a great next step.

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Shawn Jensen

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