This blog post has been contributed to the Salesforce Blog by one of our Dreamforce ‘19 Pioneer sponsors.
Technology is at an inflection point. In this next chapter of digital transformation, companies must reinvent their entire business with data to create a more personal and relevant customer experience.
Yet while today’s companies are awash with data, unlocking its value requires them to change how they operate and make decisions. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. In order to use AI to improve decision-making, companies must first make more strategic use of their data and prioritize investments accordingly.
In fact, Bluewolf’s upcoming The State of Salesforce report — which will be released at Dreamforce ‘19 — found that a majority of Salesforce customers currently piloting AI are planning to invest and scale their efforts going forward.
Across marketing, sales, commerce, IT, and customer service, AI connects insights to action to transform how you understand customers, interact with them, answer their requests, and guide them to relevant actions.
Whether you are starting or scaling your AI efforts, consider the following questions to determine where AI can have the greatest impact on your business.
First: Evaluate how AI can influence your customer experience
1. Understand your customers
AI learns customer preferences and habits at an individual level, with scale.
Ask yourself: What kinds of external sources of data (news, reviews, social posts) would help identify prospects or purchase intent?
2. Interact with your customers
AI-powered chatbots can deflect inbound customer requests or automate repetitive tasks, which allow employees to focus on customers with more complex problems.
Ask yourself: What process-driven, repetitive tasks could be augmented or automated inside your business?
3. Answer customer requests
AI can assist with deep knowledge discovery, helping client-facing employees accurately answer questions faster.
Ask yourself: When either selling to or servicing a customer, what systems do employees access? How quickly and easily can they find and answer customer questions?
4. Guide to relevant actions
AI can learn from your data and instruct next-best-actions through predictive and machine learning models.
Ask yourself: How do employees make product or pricing recommendations to customers? How do they recognize if a customer is at-risk?
Second: Determine AI readiness across your business
Once you’ve determined where and how AI will improve your business, the next step is to identify whether your company and technology is ready to implement and scale AI. Consider the following questions to ensure your organization is ready to move past a piloting phase to scale AI across your business.
Have you aligned your AI use cases to strategic business outcomes?
Is there a consensus across internal stakeholders?
Have you identified a qualified partner to assist you on this journey?
Have you identified any potential data quality issues?
Do you have an integration strategy to access data outside of Salesforce?
Is your organization’s Salesforce footprint—either single or multi-org—laid out with a unified data model?
Have you fully transitioned to Salesforce Lightning Experience?
Have you considered where, when, and how employees are accessing Salesforce, and if you need a more comprehensive strategy for mobile?
But technology alone will not drive success with AI. Companies need to develop a mindset and understand that transformation with AI is an ongoing journey that never ends.
How IBM can help you realize the power of AI
We are now in the third year of IBM’s global strategic partnership with Salesforce, delivering joint solutions that use AI to enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster. The partnership, and IBM’s own Salesforce transformation, are a reflection of how businesses thrive when they use all customer information to anticipate and deliver a better customer experience.
Together with Salesforce, we are building the AI partnership for business, working together to help customers make smarter decisions faster. We are seeing customers already reap the benefits of combining Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson to support smarter decision-making.
Succeeding in this next chapter of digital and AI also requires companies to change how they introduce change across their organization. Working alongside our dedicated Salesforce consulting practice, Bluewolf, we help unlock innovation, help companies ideate and move faster than ever before.
Join our Dreamforce ‘19 Super Session to discover how Frito-Lay, Telecom Argentina, and United Way are reinventing their business around experience.