"We're on an incredible journey" - why Salesforce's AI push is only just getting started

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When it comes to the benefits AI tools can bring to workers around the world, some companies are naturally being more bullish than others, particularly if it's their technology powering these advances.

At its recent World Tour London event, Salesforce was understandably keen to double down on its AI push, with customers across the globe already on board with its various Einstein tools and services.

TechRadar Pro spoke to Paul O’Sullivan, SVP, Solution Engineering & UKI, CTO, Salesforce, about the company's plans for boosting efficiency and productivity across all markets, and why the UK in particular could be a key beneficiary of this continued AI drive.

Wave of innovation

"We're on an incredible journey, it’s fair to say," O'Sullivan declares, pointing to Salesforce's announcement of $4 billion in the UK and Ireland in 2023, “We’re really well-positioned in the UK to maximise the opportunity of AI and help our customers achieve true value."

Nowhere is this clearer than through the launch of the company's first dedicated AI center, situated in London, as it aims to deal with rising customer demand for the technology. The 40,000 square foot facility will act as a central hub for Salesforce's efforts to boost collaboration and development in AI, and O'Sullivan says this is potentially only the beginning.

“We’re an innovation-led company - we’re always looking at what comes next," he says, pointing to the UK's "proven history in driving innovation and positive disruption in new markets" as a sign that the technology is set to find a good home in the capital.

Salesforce on PC

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Having such resources could be particularly useful as the appetite for AI tools and services continues to grow among businesses of all sizes, with even O'Sullivan admitting that, "the level of change and adoption in the AI space is huge."

“It starts with education - and this is at all levels," he adds, noting that there is "still a spectrum" of knowledge and awareness of the potential of AI among business leaders.

O'Sullivan notes that the current push towards AI is similar to that seen with past major technological breakthroughs such as cloud, websites and ecommerce, noting that companies had to respond quickly to make sure they weren't being left behind - although he notes the window to catch up to your competitors when it comes to AI could be smaller than any other we've seen before.

He says he believes we will see "a steady wave of innovation" around AI before usage in the business world becomes the norm, especially as rival models and platforms battle for supremacy.

“It feels like everyone right now is in a race for AI," he adds, "and I think we all collectively agree there will be productivity and efficiency gain that is going to help at both the bottom and top line within big enterprises.” 

But looking ahead, there is no concern that AI is going to take jobs away from human workers, as some doom-mongers have predicted. When asked what we will all be doing with the apparent free time using AI tools will generate for human workers, O'Sullivan notes there is a wide variety of possibilities.

“I think human nature is relatively curious," he says, "we will continue to explore how we can do things slightly differently and offer different levels of connection and service."

“We went through the industrial revolution where machines aided workers, it didn’t take the jobs away - it increased a new level of productivity and efficiency, and I think we’re going to see the same here."

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

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.