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Salesforce today announced Einstein Automate, an end-to-end workflow automation solution that empowers people and businesses to be more productive. Today’s digital imperative requires companies across every industry to increase productivity, but only 25% of IT leaders say their current technology maximizes employee productivity. This chasm leads to less efficiency and more overworked employees because countless outdated and mundane processes simply can’t scale in today’s all-digital environment.
Fortunately, there’s an answer to this conundrum: Automation. In fact, organizations are turning to automation to empower employees to be more productive and do their best work, while increasing the speed of business at large.
We sat down with John Kucera, SVP of Product Management and the person in charge of Einstein Automate, a brand new end-to-end workflow automation solution that empowers people and businesses to be more productive. We asked John about the state of automation at large, why now is the time for “digital-first” companies and Salesforce’s vision for enterprise automation, at scale.
Q. Let’s start with the elephant in the room. How do you make sure that automation complements humans instead of replacing them?
That’s a fair question and one that any technology vendor should be considering from day-one of developing automation technology. Without people, businesses cannot thrive. People are the lifeblood of an organization and are uniquely capable of building relationships with customers and using judgement to decide on what to do next. However, employees in any industry, and any job function, are often required to spend four (or more) hours every week dealing with mundane and repetitive tasks like data entry, block-and-tackle Q&A or multi-user processes and approvals like processing loan applications.
Employees should be able to focus on the areas that matter most, like high-touch online or in-person customer interactions.”John Kucera, Senior Vice-President of Product Management, Salesforce
Instead, employees should be able to focus on the areas that matter most, like high-touch online or in-person customer interactions. Employees are best able to use their judgement and creativity to create content or decide on important business decisions, whereas automation excels at repetitive tasks where judgment is not necessary. This is why people are essential for jobs like sales, marketing and legal, where intuition and judgement are crucial. Einstein Automate balances each by increasing speed and productivity by removing mundane tasks from employees’ work so they can focus on growing customer relationships.
To put you at ease with an example, Salesforce’s AI technology, called Einstein, now delivers more than 80 billion AI-powered predictions every day, most of which are focused on helping people make better decisions such as which sales leads to focus on or which products to recommend to a customer. That’s happening today, which shows automation is already at work on a massive scale.
Q. What are some of the lesser-known benefits of automation for the actual employees?
No doubt, job satisfaction is a ubiquitous benefit. Nobody wants to be doing boring data entry or other repetitive processes. There’s greater attrition with roles with tedious tasks, so removing the mundane and repetitive work increases employee happiness. Another benefit is increased customer success and happiness. Why? Because customers get more one-to-one time on the issues that require human involvement, while saving time by getting answers fast 24/7.
For example, Einstein Lead Scoring from Sales Cloud helps sales reps convert more leads, faster. It uses AI to automatically analyze historical sales data and discover the top factors that determine whether a lead is likely to convert to an opportunity. Einstein Next Best Action helps make the right recommendations to the right people at the right time. Einstein Bots understand customer service needs and provides answers for self-service. Case Classification automatically determines which issues customers are facing and then tags the case and it’s appropriate field to save support agents time.
Net-net, by automating repetitive tasks, sales, marketing, commerce and service teams, among others, can focus their time and efforts on the human side of their work, connecting with customers and using their judgement to improve products and services.
Q. What’s the Einstein Automate origin story?
Salesforce has been helping its customers automate processes for years, from optimizing the sales process for sales teams to enabling customer self service for service teams. Our customers made it clear that they required even greater efficiency this year to increase the speed of work and go digital fast on short notice to meet their customers’ needs. And our customers told us their most important business critical processes span systems and that they needed more efficient ways to automate those processes
Every organization is looking for ways to increase productivity, but only 25% of IT leaders say their current technology maximizes employee productivity. Our customers need to do more with less given the strains of the new normal. The time-consuming, mundane processes of the past can’t scale in today’s all-digital environment, and organizations are turning to automation to empower employees to be more productive and do their best work.
We designed Einstein Automate to help companies go digital fast and enable self-service with OmniStudio, which empowers businesses to deliver digital-first and industry-specific experiences to their customers fast, across multiple devices and channels, and at scale. We also include Einstein Bots, which enable companies to deliver customer service 24/7 in real-time – a solution that is more relevant than ever with fluctuating consumer demand given the pandemic. Einstein Automate also includes Flow Orchestrator to streamline work by unifying complex multi-person. And, we included MuleSoft Composer for Salesforce, which gives everyone in an organization the ability to integrate data from multiple systems to Salesforce without writing any code, which saves time and money.
Q. Is enterprise automation more important now than even a year or two ago? Haven’t companies always been looking for new ways to streamline processes?
Many businesses are being forced to reevaluate their operating models and consider how they can emerge post-COVID-19 with the strength and agility to prosper and grow. Organizations are shifting to digital-first customer and employee experiences and creating more data from more systems than ever before. Automation is not a nice-to-have, it’s an imperative. This means digitizing processes at scale, as quickly as possible.
Automation is not a nice-to-have, it’s an imperative. This means digitizing processes at scale, as quickly as possible.”John Kucera, Senior Vice President of Product Management, Salesforce
Our customers have seen greater digital demand from their consumers, which adds new challenges to their sales, customer service, commerce and other operations functions. Automation is important for this moment in time because it helps companies adapt to these changes by transforming time-consuming, mundane processes – from processing insurance quotes to streamlining product and service renewals.
Q. How does Einstein Automate work?
There are three important components of Einstein Automate. One, compose intelligent workflows. Two, integrate across any system. And three, automate fast.
The ability to compose intelligent workflows allows companies to transform complex processes into dynamic, industry relevant experiences using AI-infused bots, flows and components. Integrating across any system enables companies to deliver customer and employee experiences by integrating data from any cloud, hybrid, or ‘on-prem’ system. And Einstein Automate helps companies automate fast by using AppExchange (the leading enterprise cloud marketplace) to create processes with confidence by using a library of 700+ best practices, pre-built bots, templates as well as integrate with industry leading RPA partner solutions.
I’ll give a couple examples. Einstein Automate includes the new Flow Orchestrator, which streamlines complex processes that span many people and systems. AI-generated next steps and recommendations help users make better decisions throughout the process and analysts can quickly identify bottlenecks causing delays. For example, the mortgage approval process, which is complex and requires extensive documentation and verification, can be streamlined into an automated workflow that helps process applications fast, with high accuracy, and visibility on the application status throughout the process.
Chatbots are another great example of automation because they complement human call service teams by automating answers to the most repetitive questions such as checking when your order will arrive. This improves customer satisfaction and frees human agents to handle more complex issues. These chatbots enable users to find answers to commonly searched terms and questions, and are available 24/7.
Q. We hear a lot about low-code or no-code as a way to streamline technology adoption, particularly with automation. Can you explain what this means?
This is an important question because low-code applications and features help companies adopt and see value from technology, especially when they lack the internal developer resources. Low-code is an approach to software development that abstracts and automates every step of the application lifecycle to enable rapid delivery of a variety of software solutions. With an increasing demand for software solutions, particularly as companies go digital-first, low-code is a remedy for the shortage of skilled developers. In fact, this shortage has propelled the adoption of low-code development platforms.
Einstein Automate has a suite of “no-code” tools which gives non-developers superpowers but also seamlessly integrates with reusable components and code professional developers create. We call this combination of no code tools with pro code components “low-code”. This approach addresses both the shortage of skilled developers as well as the traditional limitations of no-code tools. Instead of being limited to only what the no-code tool can do, all of Einstein Automate’s solutions can be extended with code if needed to meet a customer’s specific business needs.
Q. What’s ahead for enterprise automation in the next year or two?
There’s no doubt that demand for automation will only increase as vendors like Salesforce make it easier to get started, and increase the number of ways that automation can be used across all job functions through end-to-end workflow automation solutions. In fact, IDC predicts that global spending on AI will double in the next four years – reaching $110 billion in 2024 – as companies see an opportunity to boost innovation, improve customer service and automate routine tasks so their employees can focus on more strategic work.
Employees will trust automation similar to how we instinctively trust Google Maps instead of physical maps – removing a burden increases productivity and improves happiness.”John Kucera, Senior Vice President of Product Management, Salesforce
The pace of digitization will continue to accelerate as consumers increasingly demand smart forms and the efficiency and accuracy benefits are recognized by companies. People will get more comfortable and familiar with automation as part of their daily work streams, which will ease uncertainties and encourage more adoption at greater scale. Employees will trust automation similar to how we instinctively trust Google Maps instead of physical maps – removing a burden increases productivity and improves happiness.
Also, most automation capabilities are still limited to various departments like sales, service, marketing and commerce. While these are important parts of any business, improved integration and automation tools will unlock cross department process automation, resulting in large productivity gains for many employees. I’m excited to know that automation will help people focus on the projects and priorities that matter most, and it is my hope that we’ll see greater satisfaction and the feeling of genuine contribution from employees across every industry.
For more on how the future of automation is human, read more from John Kucera here.