Salesforce Grows CRM Business with AI Smarts
Updated · May 19, 2017
Salesforce announced its first quarter fiscal 2018 financial results on May 18, once again showing strong gains across all of its business units.
For the quarter, Salesforce reported revenue of $2.39 billion, for a 25 percent year-over-year gain. Looking forward, Salesforce provided guidance for second quarter fiscal 2018 revenues to be approximately $2.51 billion to $2.52 billion, an increase of 23 to 24 percent year-over-year.
“No company in the history of enterprise software has achieved our scale faster and at this growth rate,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said during his company’s call with financial analysts.
Benioff noted that CRM is the fastest-growing enterprise software category today. He added that according to analyst firm Gartner, by 2021 CRM will be the largest area of spend in enterprise software.
“We have a massive opportunity to continue our growth and leadership in CRM and grow the Salesforce economy,” Benioff said.
While Benioff is optimistic about his company overall, there is one area that he is more excited about then any other, namely Artificial Intelligence (AI). Saleforce’s AI platform is called Einstein and provides data-based insight for Saleforce’s product.
Benioff said that the they in-development Einstein Guidance capability will respond to questions to provide actionable intelligence.
“Every question that I possibly could have, I’m able to ask Einstein,” Benioff said. “I think for a CEO, typically the way it works is, of course, you have various people, mostly politicians and bureaucrats, in your staff meeting who are telling you what they want to tell you to kind of get you to believe what they want you to believe. Einstein comes without bias.”
Benioff added that Einstein guidance has transformed his ability to be successful CEO. He’s so bullish on AI that he now believes that all future applications and capabilities for all companies will be built on AI.
“Much in the same way that we talked about the future with cloud, the future of social and social became the next platform, or mobile became the next platform, now you can really see how AI is becoming the next platform,” Benioff said. “Everyone is going to build on AI, and it’s going to fundamentally transform all of our customer experiences.”
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.