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Future of Work

Reducing the ‘Work of Work’: Salesforce Execs Reveal Automation Predictions for 2022

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With 2021 now firmly in the past, it’s time to look forward and prepare for the opportunities that a new year will bring.

As businesses double down on a work-from-anywhere world and customer expectations continue to skyrocket, AI and automation will be critical to successful customer and employee experience strategies.

We asked Salesforce leaders to weigh in on what to expect from AI and automation in 2022, and the most important ways these tools will affect businesses. Here’s what they had to say:

AI and automation will be critical to creating a successful digital HQ in 2022

As the era of flexible work continues, businesses need to adapt quickly to decentralized teams and digital-first customers.

“Automation is the key to enabling the work-from-anywhere operating model that most companies are moving toward. You need to automate how remote teams work together and how they interact with customers. That’s why automation is critical to the digital HQ — you cannot compete in this all-digital world without it,” said Liam Doyle, SVP of Product, MuleSoft.

This sentiment is echoed across every business unit, from the front office that interacts directly with customers, to the back office that keeps operations flowing.

Mark Nelson, President and CEO of Tableau, said, “In 2022, we’ll see automation and AI play a role in solving data management challenges. Leaders will begin breaking down the data management silos and point solutions — and they will look to automation and AI to scale and simplify data management across their organizations.”

Think data management in a couple of clicks, rather than a couple of hours (or more).

AI and automation will also help redefine retention strategies in 2022 by enabling employees to focus on personal and professional growth while still effectively carrying out their roles.

“Decision support using AI and automating repetitive tasks are cost-effective ways to both deliver improved customer experiences and improve job satisfaction by giving your teams the information they need to exceed expectations,” said Clara Shih, EVP and GM, Salesforce Service Cloud. “Every leader needs to maintain a growth mindset and empower all employees to continually skill up with these investments, especially in 2022 as we solidify what our company structures really look like.”

Automation and AI will increase productivity and drive revenue

Employees have been busier than ever. In fact, 35% of employees working remotely since the pandemic report working later than usual. How can leaders ensure their teams are focusing on high-value, high-impact work?

“Automation will help reduce the ‘work of work’ that teams and individuals grapple with on a daily basis — essentially removing the ‘paper-cuts’ in manual work that slow down organizations,” said Steve Wood, SVP of Product, Slack. “Organizations will see increased revenue in 2022 by removing these types of mundane, repetitive process tasks, and introducing automation tools that enable consistency and engagement at scale.”

Salesforce executives predict that automation will support every line of business in driving productivity and revenue for the organization in 2022. Service teams in particular have seen the benefits of automation investments.

“When we free our workforce from the repetitive, we open up our employees to act as ambassadors for our company, and provide great service to our customers,” said Shih. “That builds loyalty.”

Additionally, Paul Whitelam, GM of Field Service Management at Salesforce said that, “AI and automation will drive revenue both directly through cross-sells and upsells, and indirectly by increasing customer loyalty. It will help companies improve service levels while aligning to the increased customer expectations from the past couple of years. This includes automating scheduling resources, especially for mobile teams, to optimize service and minimize travel times.”

Ethics and safety — don’t plan on planning without them

Ethics and safety have always been core to Salesforce — that’s why one of the company’s core values is trust. As AI and automation increase in scope in 2022, businesses must ensure they have an ethical foundation to build trust with employees and customers. With consumer uncertainty at an all-time high and new AI regulations, companies must become trusted partners and AI ethicists.

“As businesses consider deploying AI, trust and transparency must serve as a foundation. These are ‘make or break’ elements of the growth and customer relationships that businesses seek. In every use case — whether AI is automating a task or if people are collaborating with AI to make better decisions — people need to understand what machines are doing to avoid mistakes, to make ethical decisions, and to understand their data,” said Nelson.

This is highly relevant for marketing teams who will continue expanding their digital marketing efforts to reach customers in new ways.

“Companies will not only have to meet customer expectations for more personalized experiences, but must deliver experiences that customers know they can trust. Customers will have increased control over how their data is being used, and how and when companies can communicate with them,” said Armita Peymandoust, SVP of Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.

Personalized customer experiences will be the only ones that matter

Customer expectations have never been higher, especially when it comes to digital experiences. That’s understandable. Companies have had to make a seismic shift toward digital transformation over the past two years — and those that have embraced automation in this opportunity have thrived.

“AI and automation enable us to service customers differently depending on their preferred channels and needs, helping to improve service levels in a cost-effective and operationally efficient way. All-in-all, automation tools help companies scale the low-impact things, so everyone can swarm on resolving customer needs and creating incredible customer experiences,” stated Shih.

AI and automation will be key to enabling these experiences by helping companies systematically approach the processes behind every interaction so they can focus on personalization for the customer on the other side of the digital wall.

“AI and automation help create a seamless customer experience across departments, making customers feel seen by the company, which develops trust,” said Doyle.

The first steps toward AI and automation must happen today

The biggest misconception about AI and automation is that it needs to be a top-down exercise involving big projects with big budgets, according to Wood. A bottom-up, empowered automation strategy is just as transformational.

And, across the board, Salesforce leaders believe to be successful with using AI and workflow automation, companies need to get the gears in motion — quickly.

Nelson said that without hesitation — he advises companies to start now and dig in to AI. “AI is data-intensive and its adoption is no longer on the horizon,” he said. “It’s here to stay. Data and AI are no longer just for data scientists and data-savvy analysts. It is a team sport — the stronger and bigger bench of those equipped to make data-driven decisions will drive success.”

More information:
Read about Salesforce’s low-code automation solutions here.

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