As with most of the news cycle and technology industry at this current time, AI was a major theme at the recent Dreamforce 2023 event, where Salesforce unveiled a host of new platforms, tools and service all imbued with the power of AI tools.
It's one thing to announce and promote a service, however, and another thing entirely to make sure customers actually embrace and get the most out of it.
To discuss this further, we spoke to Salesforce SVP AI Engineering, Jayesh Govindarajan, to find out exactly how the company plans to get the AI word out there.
“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Govindarajan told us at Dreamforce, in what was perhaps the understatement of the event so far.
AI was one of the main themes of Dreamforce, where Salesforce revealed Einstein 1, a new AI-powered platform aiming to connect an enterprise's myriad data sources to bring productivity and efficiency, being grounded in the company's broad metadata framework, collating data from the likes of Slack, Tableau and Mulesoft, as well as integrations with the likes of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
Govindarajan says he was, “pleasantly surprised” by the amount of interest and investment in generative AI shown by Salesforce customers so far, adding that, the number of customers that signed up for a pilot was "massive.”
He adds that many customers saw the potential of generative AI in particular, but weren't able to realise it straight away.
“The journey from early adopter to enduring adoption is one that takes a lot of work," Govindarajan says, ""the first stage was bringing data and AI together," before then building generative AI on top of this, before thinking of ideas of where to take the technology next.
Copilot tools are set to play a major role in the next steps of AI, helping guide users and customers to get the insights and results they need from their data. At Dreamforce, the company unveiled its own Einstein Copilot tool, integrated directly within Salesforce, meaning it can utilize company data, and comes with its own in-built Studio platform to allow companies to create and customize their own apps and services.
“What makes it stand out from other copilots and makes it valuable to customers is actually the same thing," Govindarajan notes, highlighting how Einstein Copilot will bring the context for your data, as well as providing the actions to get the most out of it.
He predicts that smaller enterprises and businesses may see particular value in copilots, as often they are experts in a certain domain or specific areas, but lacking in others - so can use generative AI and copilot tools to effectively carry out tasks such as marketing/sales - being able to, “augment their depth, with some degree of breadth.”
With all these advances, though, making sure customers can trust your AI models is vital, with this trust being another major theme at Dreamforce 2023. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff noted at the event that, “the AI revolution is a trust revolution,” and Govindarajan agrees.
“In this new world, trust takes a different meaning," he adds, emphasising that privacy is a key consideration - but so is believability, as customers should be able to trust that the findings being provided to them are also trustworthy.
Ultimately, as Govindarajan says, "a lot of what we're building and how we’re building is evolving...(but) we want to build things that people want to use."
“Success for me would be to see a fantastic adoption of the generative AI stack that we have built, solving real problems for real customers, and making the mundane easy, so people can focus on their expertise - that would be awesome.”
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.