Salesforce Gets in the AI Game as Microsoft Chases Slack

Salesforce Gets in the AI Game as Microsoft Chases Slack

Artificial intelligence is beginning to make its presence felt in every corner of the working world. AI-powered chatbots are the future of workplace communication platforms like Slack, while the HR technology company FirstJob’s digital recruiting assistant Mya uses AI to streamline the hiring process and improve candidate experience. Now Salesforce is also introducing AI enhancements to its sales software, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Called Einstein, the new offering is a set of online AI services designed to automate tasks, predict behavior and spotlight relevant information. … If Salesforce can integrate AI into its applications, the San Francisco, Calif., cloud-software provider may get a jump on competitors, said Tom Austin, vice president at research firm Gartner Inc. “There are no simple, easy applications today to buy that really work,” he said. “This is hard stuff still.”

Beyond offering AI-equipped applications, Salesforce is joining companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Google in making AI services available for other companies to build into their own applications. Prior to their efforts, AI was limited to companies that could afford to hire data scientists and build large computing facilities. Providing access to AI software as a cloud-computing service over the internet lets companies tap the technology with a smaller investment.

Salesforce said Einstein, which eventually will be built into a range of the company’s products, can better predict which customers are likely to buy products, and recommend which consumers a sales person should contact. It analyzes data stored on Salesforce’s servers such as customer information, email, calendar entries, and social-media posts to learn how specific consumers are likely to behave.

Another heavyweight making waves in this space is Microsoft. hot on the heels of its acquisition of LinkedIn, the legacy tech giant is building a direct competitor to Slack, which it also considered trying to buy earlier this year, Mehedi Hassan recently revealed at MSPoweruser:

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