Salesforce preaches customization, AI, enabling business execs with low-code approaches

Salesforce's plans at Dreamforce revolve around a few key themes. In broad strokes, Salesforce is aiming to make its Einstein AI platform more accessible and enable point-and-click customization.

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The race is on to make data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and workflows more friendly to business decision makers and Salesforce wants to be in the front row.

Salesforce's big themes at Dreamforce 2017 revolve around embedding itself in more workflows, personalizing recommendations, and expanding the data science audience to line of business executives. The working theory is that business executives will then be empowered to use no-code approaches to create apps and models with an assist from AI.

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To hammer home those personalization themes, Salesforce dropped "my" before many of its key efforts such as Trailhead, Einstein, Lightning, and Quip. "We're driving machine learning and AI for everyone," said Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president of CRM applications at Salesforce.

Dreamforce is hammering home a democratization of AI theme that is also being outlined by partner IBM. IBM at an event in New York City last week outlined updates to its Watson Data Platform that aims to use machine learning to automate data cleansing, catalogs, and metadata. Think of Watson Data Platform as a data science operating system meets middleware. Either way, IBM could become a point guard for enterprises managing many data sets, silos and clouds.

Given the mutual goals of abstracting away the complexity of data science and AI, it's not surprising that IBM CEO Ginny Rometty and Salesforce chief Marc Benioff will share the stage to talk about the future of work Thursday.

With that backdrop, it's worth considering the key themes in Salesforce's roadmap.

AI for the masses. MyEinstein is adding features that will enable business execs to use model recommendations and pick algorithms with a few clicks. Einstein will be extended to every data set within Salesforce. Bots, natural language processing, and vision can be extended via AI.

Product integration. Salesforce has piled up a series of acquisitions in recent years such Demandware, BeyondCore, Krux, and PredictionIO. Quip is one of those purchases. Quip has been integrated into various Salesforce clouds in a way that can manage teams and integrate workflow. Rosenbaum noted that Quip is now a platform. In fact, every cloud Salesforce has serves as a platform.

And that platform approach leads to...

salesforce-dreamforce-2017-platform.png

Customization and personalization. With mySalesforce and myLightning, Salesforce is enabling customers to customize apps that use the underlying platform with a different look and feel. Whether it's a mobile or web app, enterprises can customize.

salesforce-dreamforce-2017-mysalesforce.png

Low to no code approaches. The products outlined by Salesforce all carry low- to no-code themes. Salesforce is aiming to provide components that can be easily added and swapped to create applications. Developers will be trained on these approaches as well as AI and machine learning integration on myTrailhead, which will get more content and personalization as an educational resource.

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