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Salesforce CFO: Company Has Two Ways to Monetize Einstein AI Now, More Options to Follow

There are “two ways to monetize” for Salesforce with the Salesforce Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) platform today, but there is “obviously lots of optionality in the future,” according to Mark Hawkins, company CFO and president.

With Einstein, “the first thing we wanted to do was make every cloud smarter and more capable and deliver more value proposition” to Salesforce customers, he told the William Blair Growth Stock Conference in Chicago June 13.

That’s why Salesforce is embedding Einstein “into each of the clouds” the company offers its customers, he said, pointing to Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. “Whatever you want to do, we’ve already made it better” and Salesforce is “delivering more AI” and customer relationship management (CRM) “than anybody in the world,” he said.

The main way to look at the strategy is like this, he explained: “When you’re more competitive and you put more value in, basically you do even better in the marketplace. And you should see that in our growth rates, in our win rates, in our market share rates as we go to compete.” Plus, there’s also “additive revenue that we get from the add-on SKUs” with Einstein, he pointed out.

Another major subject during Hawkins’s conference presentation was Salesforce’s recent purchase of MuleSoft. He called that software company “a great addition to something that is helping us really meet” customer needs.

Salesforce is “laser-focused on the customer and the number one thing” that customers are “asking us for is to help them digitally transform,” he said. When people ask for more detail on what that means, he suggests using a different word – “modernization” – instead, suggesting they “modernize the way you sell, modernize the way you market, modernize the way you service the customer and the way you e-commerce with the customer,” he said, adding: “That’s what we’re doing is helping them modernize the way they connect in a whole new way with the customer.”

From talks with CEOs and other executives, he said, “what you see is the sense of urgency to modernize is ever-present across industries and we really feel that and it’s creating a very tremendous opportunity for us.” MuleSoft is “very much a part of that picture,” he told the conference.

When Salesforce executives asked customers to name the top thing that the company could help them with specifically, help with data integration was the reply, he said.

Salesforce said in March that it entered into a definitive agreement under which it would acquire MuleSoft for an enterprise value of about $6.5 billion. MuleSoft provides one of the world’s leading platforms for building application networks that connect enterprise apps, data and devices, across any cloud and on-premise.

In terms of market share, Salesforce has been “making a lot of progress in the market,” Hawkins also said June 13, adding: “Even though we’re number one, we continue to consolidate in the market.”