Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes that artificial intelligence should just be infused through software and cloud services in a way that customers barely notice. Enter Salesforce's big "Einstein" initiative.
Benioff teased out Einstein, Salesforce's artificial intelligence effort, and basically pre-empted his big theme for the company's Dreamforce powwow in October.
What's Einstein? Einstein is essentially a mix of organic and acquired technologies from Salesforce. The goal is to democratize AI for large companies as well as smaller ones. Benioff said on Salesforce's second quarter earnings conference call:
Companies will demand that your software is going to be intelligent, smart, that you're going to have machine learning and deep learning and machine intelligence built-in. Machine intelligence is going to be declared as well as programmatic...I really believe we're going to have the best artificial intelligence platform in the industry.
You'll see that it is on par and capable of any other AI platform you've seen like Watson and others.
Benioff is never shy about lofty goals. For now, it's clear that Einstein and IBM's Watson already have one thing in common: they were built by acquisitions with a dash of organic development.
Salesforce, which projected fiscal 2017 sales of $8.27 billion to $8.32 billion, bought companies such as RelateIQ, Implisit, PredictionIO, Tempo, and others. "We've been able to stitch all this together and focus on AI. AI is the next wave of our industry has resulted in a machine learning team of more than 175 data scientists who have built this amazing Einstein platform," Benioff said.
You can see what's next, right? Sales Cloud Einstein, Service Cloud Einstein, Marketing Cloud Einstein, and Analytics Cloud Einstein. All of Salesforce's products will have Einstein built in.
The plan appears to be that Einstein will be an option for Salesforce's various clouds. Customers are likely to bite to some degree.
One thing is certain: Salesforce's Dreamforce customer events will largely equate to one big Einstein coming out and demo party. Chances are good there will be a fair amount of Einstein selling going on too.