As I’m headed into another Dreamforce event, I plan to keep you updated on the happenings this week. As usual, Dreamforce promises to be a whirlwind of activity and a high-energy event. I attend a lot of conferences, and, while it can be a grind sometimes, Dreamforce is usually a high point in the conference season.
Since things are just opening up today, I will give you a bit of a pre-conference look, as Salesforce has already hit us with three major announcements that will most likely be a big part of the keynotes and discussions. This three announcements are:
- Einstein AI platform and applications
- The launch of the Commerce Cloud
- The acquisition of Krux
I recently published a post on intelligent applications that provides some background for the Einstein announcement, as Einstein fits the definition of an intelligent applications platform and applications. Officially announced a couple of weeks ago, the Einstein project is several acquisitions (MetaMind, PredictionIQ, RelateIQ, Tempo and a few others) and a lot of data science work in the making. With it, Salesforce launched an AI platform and the first set of AI-enabled applications, and established a new research lab.
The approach is similar to Salesforce’s other broadly applicable technologies, but embedded into the App Cloud platform, making it available for use by developers building any other application on the App Cloud. Using machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), predictive analytics and other AI-related capabilities, apps built with Einstein embedded inside can use the technology to support decisions like next best offer or when to take a specific sales action, like providing relevant content. Perhaps even more importantly, they can automate functions that today are labor intensive like scheduling meetings or updating forecasts. In a time of talent scarcity in data scientists, embedding tools that facilitate deep analysis and insight can help companies bridge the gap. Look for more use cases and intelligent application announcements this week.
The announcement of the commerce cloud is essentially the rebranding and integration of Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Demandware placed in the broader context of the full Customer Success Platform. For many years retail organizations have struggled with providing a consistent and coherent experience across online and offline interactions with customers. The Commerce Cloud will combine digital commerce experiences across mobile, social, web and physical stores to provide a more intelligent and personalized buying experience. Using Einstein, the Commerce Cloud enables onsite recommendations, email personalization and other features leveraging predictive intelligence.
The acquisition of marketing data management platform (DMP) startup Krux was announced yesterday for a rumored $700 million in cash and stock. The latest purchase in a year that has seen an even higher number of Salesforce acquisitions than “normal,” Krux brings its Intelligent Marketing Hub which provides deeper insights on customers by mining and analyzing data across the web. Krux uses embedded AI to provide more effective targeting for marketing and ad campaigns. The Intelligent Marketing Hub becomes a part of the Marketing Cloud.
This short list of pre-announcements will be topics of interest and certainly get much more showcasing this week in the keynotes and on the conference floor. You can expect some additional surprises during the week of course; I’m pretty certain that some additional announcements of interest have been held back for tomorrow afternoon’s Marc Benioff keynote.
Disclosure: Salesforce is a G2 Crowd client and covered my expenses to attend Dreamforce ’16