Can you believe it, we are only a little over a month away from Dreamforce’16, which is lining up to be even bigger than last year when Salesforce reported over 160,000 registered attendees! Whether you plan to attend or catch some of Dreamforce online, there is undoubtedly a depth and breadth of topics, sessions and keynotes to interest anyone, in any role, in any industry.
But with so much you could focus on, how do you decide?
At NeuraFlash, we are expert implementers and a Consulting Partner focused on Salesforce and A.I. We are interested in areas of Advanced Intelligence combined with Salesforce. While creating the best customer and employee experiences possible, we aim to make Salesforce users more efficient, capitalize on opportunities and get the most business value from the data captured through Salesforce. We help our customers understand the potential of A.I. in practical ways, and then help them implement the right Intelligent solutions for their business needs.
We expect to see significant advancements in “Intelligence” at Dreamforce this year as Salesforce continues to bring its many cloud offerings closer together and provide intelligence capabilities across them all.
So here they are, NeuraFlash’s Pick of Top 5 Things to Expect at Dreamforce this year:
#5: DEMANDWARE (COMMERCE CLOUD) – AN ADVANCED ECOMMERCE SOLUTION
Only several months ago, Salesforce extended their portfolio horizontally and vertically with the acquisition of Demandware, a cloud provider of e-commerce technology services to retailers of all types and sizes. Salesforce has re-branded Demandware as Commerce Cloud and it claims that its new Commerce Cloud “will be an integral part of Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform, creating opportunities for companies to connect with their customers in entirely new ways”. With this powerful cooperation, Salesforce users will get access to leading cloud commerce platform for enterprises, while Demandware’s customers will make the most of Salesforce solutions and get customized Salesforce experience. Notice the tie into the other clouds – Demandware will not be in a silo (whether the integration with Salesforce is is accelerated by Salesforce or by Partners) for as long as it’s capabilities tie so nicely in with all the Salesforce Clouds to create many new, interesting and powerful solutions.
Demandware has many offerings for digital commerce, in-store and point-of-sale experiences and allows retailers to easily create shopping experiences across channels extending from online to in-store, and all from the cloud. Demandware features and offerings include online e-commerce sites and storefronts with centralized management and responsive design, promotion management, pricing and catalog management, in-store Clienteling capabilities, order and returns management, and several areas of Advanced Intelligence.
Think of all the possibilities with Marketing Cloud for more robust campaign management and customer journey building, or the possibilities with IoT Cloud (which we’ll save for our #4 below), or the tie into Service with Community Cloud and even Live Agent. And what will be truly interesting to hear about is the future roadmap for Commerce Cloud’s Predictive Recommendation capabilities – and the ways in which it will drive product recommendations based on shopper demographics, purchase patterns, and more.
#4: THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) FOR PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER SERVICE
It’s been about a year now since Salesforce launched the IoT Cloud, and with so much potential and power behind it, it will be very interesting to see what lies ahead at Dreamforce’16. The IoT Cloud is designed to receive, store and process IoT data and then initiate a set of actions on that data. IoT capabilities are so pervasive and will eventually be a part of the fabric of so many other technology solutions to the extent that thinking about the possibilities is mind boggling.
Let’s go back to Demandware (Commerce Cloud) and how IoT could be an enabler for an incredibly personalized customer experience (i.e. Clienteling). Imagine a customer walking into a high-end retail store and signing into the Guest Wi-Fi. The Guest Wi-Fi network includes an IoT component that communicates with cloud data sources (yes, and Salesforce) to identify the customer, track their location in the store, and analyze customer preferences, purchase history, etc. The data shows that the customer has spent over $10,000 with the Brand in the past year, and, there are 3 items left in their shopping cart online. The IoT-enabled solution sends notification to a Salesforce1 application used by the managers in the store and shares the customer’s profile, items in the cart, purchase history, and a set of predictive offers (from a Predictive Recommendation Engine) based on preferences. The store manager casually approaches the customer in the store, introduces themselves, and is able to suggest very personalized items for the customer. In-store Clienteling with advanced intelligence using IoT…
Another IoT example will be in the area of our #3 (sneak peak alert!) – Things to Expect at Dreamforce, Field Service. Imagine a company with assets in the field, for example, let’s take a major beverage company with drink machines and coolers at locations. When one of the machines malfunctions, the machine is able to send an IoT event to the cloud, and have a Service or Work Order opened for immediate assignment, scheduling and dispatch. Less human intervention and proactive servicing means quicker and more automated resolutions.
#3: FIELD SERVICE LIGHTNING
In today’s competitive marketplace, across all industries, customer service is one of the most impactful differentiators for companies. Salesforce’s customer service solution journey started in 2009 with the release of Service Cloud. Service Cloud has come a very long way since 2009. If you are familiar with Service Cloud today, check out this Tech Crunch article from 2009 and see for yourself just how far it has come.
Here are some other highlights on key Service features and capabilities added over the past several years:
• In 2010, Salesforce acquired Activa Live Chat, now Live Agent. Live Agent started the addition of digital channel capabilities directly into Service Cloud, and kickstarted Service Cloud’s concepts of an Omni-Channel contact center platform (with Phone and Email being available before Chat).
• 2014 was a huge year for Service Cloud capabilities and related capabilities, with the releases of Community Cloud, SOS, and Wave Analytics. These capabilities added solutions for customer, partner and employee self-service with Communities, integrated live agent video or audio support through mobile apps (and now Snap-Ins!) with SOS, and consolidated customer service data analytics and optimization with Wave.
• In 2015, Salesforce then released Omni-Channel routing, a capability allowing the creation of more sophisticated work item routing strategies to Agents based on skill, work capacity, and assignments. Omni-Channel also gives Agents a consolidated area of the Service Cloud Console to accept or decline work items – essentially bringing channels together for Agents.
Service Cloud capabilities yet, Field Service Lightning (FSL). For Salesforce, Field Service extends the Service Cloud platform way beyond the contact center. Field Service Lightning gives organizations capabilities to easily schedule, assign, dispatch, track, and optimize field services that fit most industries, use cases, and service objectives. FSL has several major components, the Dispatcher Console, the Field Service Mobile App, and an Optimization Engine. Assignments are based on a Smart Scheduler that looks at the organization’s Service Objectives, Work Scheduling Policies, Available Resources, Skill sets and more, and optimizes the scheduling of the right resource for the right job at the right time. There are even some capabilities around real time tracking of field resources. The field tech uses a FSL mobile app that alerts the tech of changes to jobs and schedules, shows information about each service, and gives the tech an ability to change status of a service as work progresses. The FSL mobile app will also have an ‘offline’ mode allowing techs who are not in a coverage area (building basement, remote area, etc..) to continue their work in an offline mode and have all their updates to services upload to the cloud when a connection is available. The Optimization Engine enhances the Smart Scheduler over time as more service data is available.
We hope to see a lot of investment in FSL going forward, including integration with IoT Cloud and more Predictive Intelligence capabilities to turn reactive services into preventative maintenance or proactive service.
#2 & #1: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
A.I. is such a hot area of tech today, and so very squarely in Salesforce’s sights, we’ve ranked it both #2 and #1 on our Top 5 list of What to Expect at Dreamforce 2016.
Salesforce recently mentioned it will launch a new product called “Einstein” at Dreamforce. Even before the intentional leaks about Einstein, we knew Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Predictive Capabilities were going to be HUGE at Dreamforce this year. And we have already included artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning in our custom tailored Salesforce expert services.Marc Benioff has been pouring the importance of AI into his press releases, earnings statements, and interviews for the better part of this year. During earnings call earlier this year Marc Benioff said “When I look at kind of the next major trend for Salesforce and our industry that will drive tremendous growth it’s got to be artificial intelligence”. “And as we look out into the future and we start to look at extreme improvement and advances in artificial intelligence whether it’s machine learning, whether it’s deep learning, whether it’s machine intelligence itself, I think that those kind of capabilities appearing inside our applications is going to be a major growth capability going forward.”
Now that Salesforce has broadened its portfolio across Sales, Service, Marketing, Big Data, IoT, Commerce, and Analytics, it makes perfect sense to start adding more layers of advanced capabilities horizontally across clouds – and with all the activity, investments and advancements in A.I., Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Neural Networks, Natural Language Processing, Robotic Response and more, it’s great timing. We see Salesforce’s vision as creating an Intelligent Neural Network across the many Salesforce Clouds.
The concept of adding advanced intelligence into the Salesforce Platform isn’t new. Salesforce has been building up to this point for a few years now, starting with their acquisition of RelateIQ in 2014, rebranded as SalesforceIQ, which adds Predictive capabilities to Sales by suggesting follow-up actions, prioritizing opportunities, recommending tasks, and intelligent reminders. This year Salesforce went on a buying spree, acquiring deep learning startup MetaMind (whose solutions NeuraFlash deploys for creating custom Salesforce experience), machine learning startupPrediction IO, and the big data analytics platform BeyondCore.
There will certainly be a ton of product marketing, big words and big visions around A.I. at Dreamforce – which is partly what Dreamforce is about – imagining the future, and that’s all great and exciting. But what will all this mean for Salesforce users and customers in the next year? Here are some practical implementations of A.I. that you will likely see Salesforce attacking, and the areas where NeuraFlash can help.
• Sales predictions to identify true strong upside opportunities and Sales process suggestions focused on the account exec’s next best action or activity to move deals forward.• Service Agent recommendations – whether suggested responses during a chat session, or recommended case resolutions.• Commerce Cloud with enhanced intelligence for “next best product” and personalized offerings.• Wave integrations with predictive analytics capabilities.• Bots, Einstein Bots, and more Bots – A.I. powered chatbots for automation of human tasks, and better automation for customer self-service.
Just when you though that Salesforce ecosystem couldn’t get any more exciting!
Be on the look out for NeuraFlash posts and Blogs during and following Dreamforce – we look forward to seeing you there!