Customer relationship management and cloud computing giant Salesforce on Sunday announced the launch of “Einstein” — an initiative that seeks to use artificial intelligence tools to automate tasks, predict customer behavior and enhance sales. With the move, Salesforce joins the likes of Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon in integrating AI and machine learning tools in its operations.
“The strongest aspect of Einstein is that it is deeply embedded in the platform, it's just working automatically,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told USA Today.
Einstein will use machine learning — an integral part of most current AI-based technologies — to sift through huge chunks of data stored on Salesforce’s servers. This, the company states, can help in predicting which customers are likely to buy products and what those products are, thereby helping salespeople prepare better marketing pitches.
In addition, Einstein will also use predictive analytics to compile a list of sales leads that are likely to be successful.
“Simply put, the computer learns from all your data and uses it to build a model, find patterns and predict the future,” John Ball, general manager for Einstein, told USA Today. “It detects patterns that aren't as easy for humans to detect.”
Further details of the new offering will be revealed next month at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, where the company plans to demonstrate the applications of the software.
In recent years, companies across the board have, in earnest, begun research and investment into AI technologies. IBM, for instance, has spent $7 billion since 2010 on over 20 acquisitions in data analytics and cognitive computing — a segment which, in its latest quarter, reported revenue of $4.7 billion.
According to recent estimates by the market research and analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the market for cognitive software platforms and applications, which stood at $1.6 billion in 2015, is expected to grow to over $16 billion by 2019, even as the global spending on cognitive systems soars to over $31 billion in the next three years.
“Organizations are beginning to actively evaluate cognitive and content analytics solutions as part of their digital transformation strategies, and over time, intelligent applications will be embedded in almost every business process,” David Schubmehl, research director at IDC, said in a statement in June.