CRM and Artificial Intelligence together

SQDM share an article from Techtarget showing the integration of AI technology into CRM systems and the possibility of understanding and taking advantage of dark data in corporate scenarios.

Smarter predictions for sales and marketing reps, better compilation of company data and what it means are among the ideas industry analysts speculate for Salesforce Einstein.

With just over a month until Dreamforce, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff teased the big news slated for the user conference: The company’s new offering will be called Salesforce Einstein.  While details about the product — or if it even is a product or just a suite-wide upgrade — are scarce, it doesn’t take someone of Einstein’s ilk to connect the offering’s name with the recent spate of AI and machine learning acquisitions Salesforce has made.

“I imagine [Salesforce] using AI to accelerate the performance of the entire sales funnel, from prospecting to opportunity close,” said Karl Becker, president of The Carruthers Group, an Arvada, Colo.-based marketing and sales programs consultancy. “From what I have read, I think there is a good chance that the AI technologies Salesforce has acquired that focus on machine learning, data mining, statistical analysis and predictive intelligence can all be assembled to create a version of this concept.”

“AI capabilities help organizations consume dark data — unstructured data — whether it’s medical imagery or natural language or social feeds, it can help organizations consume that data,” said Adam Bataran, senior director of analytics at Bluewolf, a New York-based consulting company and Salesforce partner. “Many organizations are unable to unlock the data silos and value of that dark data; despite the fact it’s being collected, it’s not being used.”

Bataran speculated that Einstein will help solve this problem of “dark data” for businesses and provide insight not only to that data, but what to do next.  “I refer to it as the cognitive inflection,” Bataran said. “In the past, companies would leverage [business intelligence] capabilities by running a ton of reports and a human would have to think about what is the next best action. Now [we’re at] this inflection point where a machine with AI and cognitive capabilities will be able to say ‘This is the next best action.'”

Artificial intelligence has been pervading the consumer space for nearly a half-decade — anytime you interact with Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Echo, AI is at play. IBM has been using AI in its computer system Watson for more than a decade. But AI and cognitive computing’s capabilities in the enterprise space are still being explored, and Salesforce is hoping that Einstein joins those brand-name AI systems.

“Most businesses generate mountains of data, and over the last eight years there’s been a big movement on the enterprise side on what that data means and what can be drawn from it,” said Rodney Nelson, Analysta at Morningstar Inc.  “The consumer side is much different. Our interactions with devices are the overwhelming exposure to AI that we have. Enterprises are still trying to figure out their own internal processes and best practices. It’s something that’s not going away anytime soon; it’s just going to be more prevalent.”

Read the entire article here.

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