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The Future of Tech and AI According to Salesforce – Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2024

Just like in life, the only constant in technology is change. In this article, you’ll hear predictions from leaders across Salesforce for how technology will shape the year, including:

What is Salesforce (and why are its executives predicting the future)? 

What is Salesforce? Salesforce is the global leader in customer relationship management (CRM), helping companies connect with customers in a whole new way. Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to digitally transform around their customers by harnessing the power of data, AI, CRM, and trust to make every customer experience more personal, valuable, and memorable.

Salesforce leaders are on the front lines of the latest trends, technologies, and challenges impacting businesses. They bring expertise and insight from market analysis, customer conversations, and more to help reveal what tomorrow might bring.

Six predictions show how AI will transform the future of work

Desk workers estimate generative AI will save them five hours per week. This presents an exciting new opportunity for companies; tapping into their teams’ creativity, strategic thinking, and innovation like never before. Here’s what Salesforce experts expect that will look like in the workplace.

1. AI will transform how we think about (and measure) human productivity.

Sixty percent of executives say they are primarily measuring their team’s productivity by tracking activity metrics, like hours worked or emails sent. But this will change with widespread use of AI in the workplace, as we start to see AI replace much of the mundane, repetitive work that we have long measured as productivity inputs. 

In the next year, businesses will transform the way they measure performance and productivity to focus on outcomes like products launched or leads generated, instead of inputs. To do this, leaders will need to shift their mindset from measuring activity to measuring impact. They’ll need to clearly define the results they want to see and support their teams in aligning individual efforts against these clear objectives.” – Christina Janzer, SVP of Research & Analytics, Slack

2. As AI grows more autonomous, it will free up time for more impactful work.

“A primary objective for AI over the next year is using the technology to achieve full autonomy within enterprises, where standard workflows can be entirely automated. There is massive potential for AI to automate every mundane task, from order processing to financial settlement and post-sales support. 

By identifying repetitive tasks and leveraging data integrations to make informed predictions and generate automations, AI is well-poised to absorb today’s routine work patterns and free our time for more fulfilling, productive, and profitable work.” – Param Kahlon, EVP and GM, Automation & Integration, Salesforce

AI is well-poised to absorb today’s routine work patterns and free our time for more fulfilling, productive, and profitable work.

3. AI’s reach will offset something very human: Agent attrition.

“Historically low unemployment rates have exacerbated the problem of retaining customer service employees. Generative AI can lead to reduced recruitment costs as it drives up levels of self-service and improves agent productivity.” Ed Thompson, Market Strategist, Salesforce

4. Companies will use their data plus AI to get faster and more productive.

“The average desk worker is struggling with information overload. In fact, data silos add up to over 11 hours wasted a week. In the next year, we’ll start to see the very real impact of generative AI on how we work, interact with that data, and think about productivity.

This will start with capabilities like AI-powered knowledge retrieval, which I believe best and most immediately capitalize on getting value from customer’s existing data. Longer term, the productivity outputs will really move with more advanced generative AI capabilities like task automation and the ability to proactively surface trends and insights.” – Jackie Rocca, VP of Product, AI & Expansion, Slack

5. AI will make the workplace smarter.

“Chatbots and virtual assistants will simplify the employee experience by automatically booking the right space for a team’s needs. AI will also provide quick responses to inquiries, guide employees to resources, and facilitate service requests. And, AI will drive proactive employee engagement and experience, predicting the spaces and services employees need to thrive before employees even know they need them.” – Relina Bulchandani, EVP, Real Estate and Workplace Services, Salesforce 

6. Companies will adjust and adapt in an AI-driven workplace renaissance.

“Today’s top talent expects more from their company than just a paycheck. To adjust, companies will place a renewed focus on workplace culture and supporting employees both inside and outside of the workplace. These investments will lead to higher employee satisfaction, better retention, and overall business success. Companies that choose to focus on these areas will continue to lead.” – David Ard, Head of Employee Success, Slack and Salesforce

Five ways generative AI will change the future of business

There’s a reason that 77% of business leaders are worried their company is missing out on generative AI: the promise of not just what the technology can do, but its cumulative and expanding impact on business and industry. Here’s how Salesforce’s top minds see the next year of generative AI’s impact.

1. Generative AI will become fully operationalized for use across the enterprise.

“This starts with software development, customer service, sales, and marketing, but in reality, AI will ultimately touch every department and workstream. Another big step forward will come when large language models (LLMs) are tapped not just for content generation and analysis, but decision-making and workflow automation. As AI advances and features like AI Agents are deployed more widely, the efficiency will increase, creating a cycle of improvement.

And while foundational LLMs will be the backbone of generative AI, companies will also start using a combination of smaller, domain-specific language models for cost, performance, and latency reasons.” – Clara Shih, CEO of Salesforce AI

2. AI will transform every industry.

“AI will be infused at every layer of product roadmaps and platforms to bring value to clients. This is as true for SaaS companies as it is for semiconductor and gaming companies. AI will also impact the very nature of development and how these products are built. Through augmentation of mundane coding tasks, developers can boost their productivity and ability to focus their skills on the gnarliest problems. And finally, AI will be felt through enhanced productivity within these ever-changing business models. In short, AI will touch every aspect of the tech industry and the markets they serve.” – Lauri Palmieri, VP, GTM & Strategy, Salesforce

3. Generative AI will hypercharge efficiency, and we will all get familiar with the term “semantic query.”

“Advancement in semantic query – essentially a question written in a ‘human’ language that then gets translated into machine language – will dramatically change customer service. Businesses can provide quick and meaningful, hyper-personalized service with AI using text, images, videos, and audio for search. This sets the stage for a more intuitive and responsive digital economy, benefitting both businesses and end users alike.

Throughout 2024, semantic query will become a cornerstone for AI. As AI grows more adept at gleaning insights from both structured and unstructured datasets, we can anticipate a surge in businesses adopting semantic query capabilities with the merging of structured data, such as sales figures and customer demographics, and unstructured data like blogs, customer reviews, and social media commentary.” – Rahul Auradkar, EVP & GM, Unified Data Services & Einstein, Salesforce

4. By 2025, companies will stop strategizing about “cloud first” and “digital first” and focus on strategies that center around the customer.

“Whether engaging with a device or equipment, a chatbot, a mobile app, or a website, everything today is digital, including generative AI. The value to the customer is the health of the process that they want to carry out, or have carried out on their behalf. For the business, the goal is better business outcomes. The technology itself is, in the eyes of the customer or employee, the way the process is carried out, and not the end in itself.” – Michael Maoz, SVP of Innovation Strategy, Salesforce

5. Businesses who don’t embrace generative AI will be left in the dust.

Gartner expects that, by 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used generative AI and/or deployed generative AI-enabled apps in production environments, up from less than 5% in 2023. AI platforms will propel the use of AI-driven digital assistants that will permeate every organizational layer, with executives leveraging AI insights for strategic decisions and frontline staff depending on AI for daily tasks. Business verticals, from sales forecasting market shifts to HR optimizing talent acquisition, will experience a profound AI-driven metamorphosis.

Even small to medium enterprises will adopt intuitive AI platforms, igniting a burst of innovation and leveling the competitive landscape. By 2025, AI won’t be an auxiliary tool but the core around which successful businesses revolve, marking an era of unparalleled transformation.” – Alice Steinglass, EVP and GM, Salesforce Platform

Four predictions on the future of data, AI, customer experience, and security

Trusted data is the foundation of trusted AI. And as a result, 92% of analytics and IT leaders recently reported that the need for trusted data has never been higher. But data accuracy is only one component: The data needs to be secure, available, and reliable for AI to make the most of it. Salesforce leaders weigh in on how that could unfold.

1. The AI revolution will become a data revolution. 

“Organizations can only harness the full power of AI when it is fueled by accurate, comprehensive data. We can expect a strong continued focus on data privacy and compliance, which includes implementing more robust data governance frameworks, establishing clear policies for data collection, storage, and usage, and continuous monitoring and auditing of training data. 

Many organizations also face overwhelming and siloed data volumes that lack a single source of truth. Data harmonization will be a key priority for business leaders in order to better extract value from their data sources and effectively leverage AI. Fostering a strong data-driven company requires a focus on driving confidence, and ultimately trust, to drive adoption.” – Wendy Batchelder, Chief Data Officer, Salesforce

2. Data will continue to get democratized … and smarter. 

“While analytics and dashboards are used widely to meet performance management needs, getting personalized insights for knowledge workers remains a challenge. In 2024, the focus on democratizing data and analytics will take a new turn. Data and analytics will become more proactive by automatically identifying anomalies in underlying business data, delivering insights in natural language, and providing users with the ability to ask questions and get answers quickly, without pulling in a data analyst.” – Southard Jones, Tableau Chief Product Officer, Salesforce

3. There will be a notable rise in the importance of design for enhancing customer experiences, product value, and market fit.

“There is a growing need to recognize the critical role of design in achieving goals and delivering products that customers not only find useful but enjoy using. The overall user experience will be paramount and teams will need to take customer feedback into account and instill a design process to include prototyping, a commitment to user experience, and continuous improvement. 

This shift will reflect a deeper commitment to the craft and personality of software brands and build stronger connections with customers.” – Ethan Eisman, SVP of Design, Slack

4. A new era of cyber defense will take shape to address new threats.

“As AI advances, we will continue to see more AI-powered attempts to infiltrate and exploit systems across the entire digital ecosystem. Bad actors are using the technology for everything from code generation, password cracking, exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities, and identifying misconfigurations, to social engineering and deepfakes.

On the other hand, AI can help companies automate tedious tasks like recognizing anomalies, detecting fraud and phishing attempts, and predicting behaviors. This not only allows security teams to increase their efficiency, but to also identify threats quickly, on a large scale, and shorten response times.” – Kelly McCracken, SVP of Salesforce Detection and Response, Salesforce

Four ways AI will change the future of society

The uses of technology and AI for business are endless and fascinating, but when you zoom out, what are the real implications for society? Here’s how some of Salesforce’s top minds see 2024 playing out.

1. AI will be used as a force for good, but only with equitable access.

“AI presents a massive and exciting opportunity for purpose-driven organizations to better serve their communities – but adopting this technology will require funding and expertise that many resource-constrained organizations lack. This will be a critical new endeavor for the philanthropic community: ensuring equitable access to AI for the nonprofits that are tackling the world’s toughest social and environmental challenges.” – Becky Ferguson, CEO, Salesforce Foundation, and SVP of Philanthropy, Salesforce

2. Healthcare will begin a once-in-a-lifetime transformation thanks to generative AI.

“The U.S. alone spends $3.7 trillion on healthcare, which equates to $1 trillion in administrative waste. With this in mind, my prediction is that generative AI will transform healthcare, fundamentally changing the cost trajectory of the industry. The technology will be used to create efficiencies in claim management and summarization, turn unstructured data into insights and spot patterns to predict at-risk patients, and create new diagnosis and prevention checkpoints.” – Amit Khanna, SVP & GM, Health & Life Sciences, Salesforce

My prediction is that generative AI will transform healthcare, fundamentally changing the cost trajectory of the industry.

Amit Khanna, SVP & GM, Health & Life Sciences, Salesforce
3. AI will help fight the climate crisis.

“2023 has been a frightening year for our planet. And yet, we have promising AI-powered solutions for both climate change mitigation and climate adaptation. WeaveGrid deploys machine learning to optimally orchestrate EV charging for utilities, automakers, and drivers, while Pano AI uses AI to detect wildfires earlier.” – Claudine Emeott, Partner, Salesforce Ventures

4. Sustainability reporting standards will grow up — and AI will be a key part of the process.

“Companies will increasingly face a global web of more rigorous standards due to new climate-related reporting requirements — from the recently passed SB 253 in California to the upcoming SEC climate disclosure rule to the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. AI will be a crucial tool to help businesses meet these standards while reducing the burden of sustainability reporting.” – Suzanne DiBianca, EVP and Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce

More information

  • Find more Salesforce news and insights on artificial intelligence here
  • Looking for data on generative AI? Check out our library of statistics
  • Read Salesforce’s take on the U.S. Executive Order on AI

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