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Salesforce’s new Einstein product gets mixed reviews

12/10/2016 by Usha Tyagi

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There has been a lot of hype about Salesforce’s Einstein software, a next-gen artificial intelligence (AI) feature that is being integrated with the firm’s plethora of customer relationship management (CRM) tools. However, despite the organisation investing a lot of time into the solution, early users have suggested that it’s not at a final stage and is unlikely to become a mainstream tool just yet.

Einstein collects and analyses data in a more intelligent and smarter way, providing companies with increased insights and predictive analytics. This is important at a time when businesses have to utilise the vast amount of data at their fingertips to optimise and drive forward sales and growth. However, a number of early Einstein reviewers have said that the software needs further refinement to make the analytics of actual use. For example, Cowen & Co. Analyst Derrick Wood said: “Our sense is that the recent launch of Einstein is very early in terms of technology readiness, as well as customer awareness and market adoption...it will likely take another year or two before these features/products gain meaningful adoption.”

Wood’s views are shared by a number of other analysts, including Gartner’s Todd Berkowitz. Talking about Einstein, Berkowitz said that the software was a “great starting point,” but added that there are already stronger standalone products available with the same capabilities.

Finding mainstream trust for AI is generally quite difficult. As a result, it is not truly surprising that many early users are suggesting that the software remains in its early stages. Salesforce only really began its development in AI after the acquisition of RelateIQ in 2014. Currently, the firm has spent around $1 billion on boosting its AI capabilities, as well as using the skills of some 175 data scientists. Even this puts the company behind some of its competitors, however.

It’s also important to note that AI cannot simply be rolled out to businesses with little effort. Infer CEO Vik Singh explained that AI solutions cannot be ushered out to the masses all at once. “That won’t work for mid-market and enterprise companies, which need many more controls to address complex, but common, scenarios like multiple markets and objective targets,” he said. “After five years of experience in this game, I’ll bet our bank that approach won’t result in sticky adoption. Machine learning is not like AWS, which you can just spin up and magically connect to some system.”

It remains to be seen just how successful Einstein will become as its use and availability increases. 

 

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