Salesforce garnered mega headlines recently for unveiling its first artificial intelligence (AI) platform at its Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. The platform, called Einstein, is one of the largest A.I. technologies to be released by a Silicon Valley heavyweight and its announcement has created enormous buzz.
The cloud-based platform promises to give businesses of all sizes the power to use AI without the technical expertise required to configure it. Gireesh Sonnad, CEO of Silverline, a Salesforce partner based in New York, says, "Einstein enables customers to build new sales apps with tools that can predict and grow their pipelines, new marketing tools that can supercharge their campaign performance and generate demand, and new service tools that help delight clients by anticipating and resolving issues even before they arise."
Einstein's hype machine is in full effect, and while we all hope it delivers, it will not be available until 2017. That leaves a lot of time to sit and wait, so I decided to investigate what other AI services are available for entrepreneurs today.
These are three AI technologies you can use before Einstein launches next year:
They say that knowledge is power, and that is true. But in the highspeed digital world that we live in, timely knowledge is even more powerful. Many entrepreneurs rely on being hours or minutes ahead of their competitors in acquiring actionable intelligence about the market that they can use to their advantage.
Research is a fundamental part of those businesses, which work in industries from finance to consulting. But even today, that research is still largely done using Google and by setting up Google News alerts. Jeff Curie is an AI expert and the President of Bitvore, a company that has developed an AI program that delivers a customized dossier of information to its users, a packet of information Curie compares to the President's daily intelligence briefing.
Why do we need AI to search the internet for us? According to Curie, the internet is too big to be effectively queried by humans.
"The internet is growing explosively with information that is not business-critical," says Curie. "Search algorithms turn up more noise than actionable intelligence, and those vital pieces of information can be hidden beneath mountains of other content."
The Bitvore AI has been trained with over 100 million pieces of business information to recognize what is relevant and separate it from the noise. Instead of endlessly searching the internet for information, the most important information now shows up in your email at regular intervals, customized to your own preferences.
Productivity self help books frequently say that one of the best things anyone can do is to spend 10 minutes organizing their day in the morning. The benefits are numerous, including less downtime, clarity of purpose, and reduced stress levels.
But carving out ten minutes in the morning can feel like the Battle of Thermopylae for an entrepreneur. Urgent emails, disgruntled employees, and anxious investors can stand between a CEO and their first cup of coffee, much less 10 minutes of serenity to organize their day. That is where AI is stepping in to perform a critical function: intelligent task management.
Platforms like Gluru are aiming to provide entrepreneurs with a second brain with an AI program that monitors your behavior and then helps you to prioritize which tasks need your attention. The goal is to never forget about an important email, miss a call, or blow past a deadline ever again.
The platform, which aims to rollout Slack and Chrome plugins soon, already connects with email, Android devices, and has an iOS beta.
AI platforms are doing impressive things, and Einstein promises to be one of the most seamlessly integrated and powerful platforms to be released yet. But like usual, this AI is focused on sales and marketing, not operations and supply. The backend of the business rarely gets the same treatment as the front end when it comes to cutting-edge technologies. But for entrepreneurs looking to upgrade operations with AI, there are options.
AI platform Tamr is a leading option for entrepreneurs who need to find vulnerabilities in supply chains, identify cost savings opportunities, and compare their performance to industry standards. This application of the technology may lack the flair of computer-written emails and bold new sales goals, but it could prove to be the most meaningful in the long term.
Operations and logistics stand to benefit immensely from technology that can sort through the mountains of data to find strategic weaknesses, like risky suppliers, rising costs, and numerous other operations and procurement metrics.
Until Next Year
There are AI products for companies of all shapes and sizes and they are available today. It is hard to imagine that AI is simply a passing trend and that business owners can live without this technology and remain competitive for very much longer. Entrepreneurs should begin the process of integrating AI into their businesses wherever they can, and they should not wait until next year.