Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
Read Full Bio >>

Sheila McGee-Smith | September 19, 2016 |


Salesforce Einstein: AI for Everyone

Salesforce Einstein: AI for Everyone CRM company Salesforce, powered by the artificial intelligence of Einstein, is making additional in-roads into the contact center. How far will it go?

CRM company Salesforce, powered by the artificial intelligence of Einstein, is making additional in-roads into the contact center. How far will it go?

Salesforce today unveiled Salesforce Einstein, which is being described as not only providing artificial intelligence for every company, but as creating the world's smartest customer relationship management (CRM) software. Whenever I cover a vendor announcement on No Jitter, one of my goals is to deliver value beyond the press release. And after listening to an hour long pre-briefing for press and analysts on the announcement last week, I was eager to get to work on coverage...

Then I saw the press release. In 1,600+ words, the Salesforce team has done an impressive job of laying out the Einstein vision and story. For those unprepared to read that long of a press release, I will highlight important attributes of the announcement, and add in perspective I think is most relevant to No Jitter readers.


Origins of Salesforce Einstein

According to John Ball, SVP and GM for Salesforce Einstein, "A couple of years ago we embarked on a journey to allow all companies to benefit from AI, to democratize AI just like we democratized CRM. ... So we took our CRM experts, our UX experts, our data scientists, and our multi-tenant, meta-data-driven platform and started building Einstein."

"Along the way, we identified some really great companies with best in class AI capabilities such as MetaMind, that [were] breaking new ground in the area of deep learning," Ball continued. And being Salesforce, they acquired not only MetaMind, but a host of other companies, all of which are now incorporated into Einstein. These include: Implisit Insights, experts in applying AI to the sales process; PredictionIO, breaking new ground in the machine learning space; and Tempo, with predictive scheduling expertise. Individuals from all of these companies "came together as a team -- 175+ data science experts -- to build this new technology called Einstein" Ball said.

Not a Product, but a Platform Capability

As seen in the above graphic, Einstein is not a single product. Rather, it is an architectural layer that sits between data services and the development layer, Lightning.

"One of the fantastic things about doing data science and AI at Salesforce is that we here at Salesforce have tons of data," Ball said. "We have CRM data, such as accounts and leads and cases and opportunities. We have communications-centric data, such as emails and calendar events. We have interaction data from Web clicks on ecommerce sites, and then we have social data from Social Studio and Community Cloud."

"What Einstein really does," Ball continued, "is take all of that rich data and apply deep learning and machine learning and AI to discover insights, to predict outcomes, to recommend the next best thing to do, and then ultimately to automate processes." Einstein will do this across all of the Salesforce clouds (e.g., Sales, Service, Marketing, etc.). It is best described as a core product of the platform, an enabling technology.

Timing and Pricing

While Salesforce is painting a very broad picture of how Einstein will be embedded in every element of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform (e.g., Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud), they are less clear about when each of these capabilities will be available. Salesforce has announced that some Einstein features are available now -- e.g., in the Community, Analytics and Commerce Clouds -- but no timeline or pricing information is yet available for some of the more compelling features, described below:

  • Sales Cloud Einstein
    • Predictive Lead Scoring -- enables sales reps to focus on the best leads
    • Opportunity Insights -- alerts reps when a deal is trending up or down
    • Automated Activity Capture -- logs email and calendar activity with the right Salesforce record, and analyzes them to deliver predictions
  • Marketing Cloud Einstein
    • Predictive Scoring -- scores every customer's likelihood to engage with an email
    • Predictive Audiences -- will build custom audience segments based on predicted behaviors
    • Automated Send-time Optimization -- will predict the optimal time to deliver messages based on past customer behavior
  • Service Cloud Einstein
    • Recommended case classification -- automatically defines cases based on user histories and trends. For instance, if a product has a known defect, those cases can be automatically routed with the instructions to agents on how to address the issue.
    • Recommended responses -- use case context and history to provide recommended answers, ensuring customers can quickly get the right answers to their questions. Routine inquiries can be automated, freeing agents to focus on fewer, more involved cases that benefit from the personal touch.
    • Skills-based Routing -- Einstein helps route the right skilled worker to the right interaction at the right time, making certain that customers get the help they need on the first interaction.

Features powered by Einstein will be coming with each Salesforce release, starting with the winter release due in October, Ball said. There are three Salesforce releases a year. Some capabilities will be included with existing licenses, and others will incur an additional charge.

Two years ago I wrote about the blurring line between CRM and the contact center, and the Salesforce Einstein announcement serves to reinforce the continued movement of CRM companies into areas previously considered to be contact center software's domain (e.g., skills-based routing). In a Salesforce blog post yesterday, Mike Millburn, GM & SVP for Service Cloud wrote, "Intelligence will turn today's perception of customer service around completely, and we're just getting started with Einstein." It will be interesting to watch how far into the contact center feature set Salesforce - empowered with Einstein - will wander.

Follow Sheila McGee-Smith on Twitter and Google+!
Sheila McGee-Smith on Google+


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.