Salesforce Touts Einstein Voice Skills, NYC Initiatives at World Tour Stop

NEW YORK — Salesforce spotlighted its new Einstein Voice Skills capabilities and multiple other components of the Salesforce Customer 360 customer relationship management (CRM) platform, while announcing New York City workforce and education investments during a keynote on its Salesforce World Tour stop here Dec. 18.

Fresh off the introduction of Einstein Voice Skills at the company’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco Nov. 19, Salesforce demonstrated its capabilities for World Tour attendees in New York, noting how administrators and developers can build voice-powered apps with clicks instead of codes. A Voice Skills beta program will launch in spring 2020, the company said.

The Salesforce Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) platform is “moving forward and also getting smarter,” and one way it’s doing that is with the “power of voice,” Parker Harris, the company’s chief technology officer and co-founder, told World Tour attendees in New York.

At the event, Salesforce highlighted the “power of AI” in demonstrations of Voice Skills and multiple other company services, Harris noted.

We’re seeing a “customer revolution,” he said earlier in the keynote presentation, noting “customers are empowered like they never have been before.” As a result, it’s more important than ever for companies to make sure that their customers trust them, he pointed out. If a company doesn’t make trust its “highest value,” their customers “may walk” to a different company, he warned.

Companies today also must use the “power of intelligence to actually connect with” those customers “in an intelligent way and understand them in a one-to-one way,” he said. Organizations must also make sure they are “leveraging the full power of your community to engage with your customers,” he added.

Achieving all of that, however, is “hard” today, he conceded, pointing to barriers that include the fact that firms are too often still “dealing with legacy infrastructure” – old systems and software, as well as “fragile integration” between systems because “information is in all of these silos.” In addition, “data is not accurate” a lot of the time and companies are also “being hit with all these new compliance laws, which are really important but hard to deal with.”

Finally, companies are also dealing with the challenge of “employees that don’t have all of the right skills that they need.” Salesforce Customer 360 can help companies overcome all of those challenges, Harris said.

Salesforce, meanwhile, plans to increase employee headcount at its Salesforce Tower New York City building that opened in 2018 as the company continues to expand its presence in the city, according to Ebony Beckwith, Salesforce chief philanthropy officer and executive vice president. “By this time next year, we’ll have over 1,200 new employees – new jobs created – right here” in New York City, she told World Tour attendees.

The company previously made a pledge to create 1 million jobs for American workers, Harris noted. It also announced in October that it plans to create 4.2 million new jobs and $1.2 trillion in new business revenue globally between 2019 and 2024. “Over half of those jobs will be created right here in the U.S.,” Beckwith said.

Beckwith also announced at the World Tour stop that it’s making two new investments as the firm boosts its presence in New York: one to the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the other to the youth workforce development nonprofit Futures and Options.

Salesforce is donating $500,000 to NYC DOE, expanding on its existing partnerships with public school districts in Chicago, Indianapolis and the Bay Area, where its main headquarters is located.

The firm is also providing a $250,000 grant to Futures and Options, which provides high school students with early career exposure and paid work experiences designed to help young people succeed and thrive in a diverse and global world, Salesforce said.