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Tech & Innovation
JAN 11, 2018

Dreamforce: Future Marketing Will Depend on AI, Cloud Computing, and Community

By Ryoko Takei

It’s becoming evident that marketing systems cannot survive without AI. Amazon and Facebook are obviously aware of this, but even general websites are now catching on, using AI to customize the user experience based on data collected just nanoseconds after a customer reaches the site.

If the strategy is to constantly think about end users (as it is for many companies nowadays), the minimum requirement is stepping into the user interface (UI) at each digital touch point.

However, it would be inefficient for every company to create its own AI. That’s where the cloud comes in.

Each company that provides a cloud has its strengths and weaknesses. And while multi-cloud services are popular for the time being, it’s much better from a data management standpoint to organize everything into one cloud.

Several of the big players are arranging operations around a cloud strategy. Salesforce has announced that it will be partnering with Google Analytics and G Suite, building on its relationship with IBM. This is a big step forward for single-cloud strategies. On the other hand, Adobe and their AI platform Sensei have a significant lead in terms of UI and creative asset management. Also in this field is Oracle, which has basically achieved a “one-stop solution” and is strengthening its purchase intent. SAP, which is assessing an advance to the front lines, is also fortifying its presence as a player.

Although manufacturers assure it will be possible to manage AI without any PhDs on staff, a certain amount of training will be necessary, and specialist skills will be unavoidable on the implementation side. It may be possible to carry out AI management without writing code, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. Maneuverability varies greatly for each company.

At the moment, the strengths of each company are scattered, so companies that are evaluating implementation will be further troubled by the questions of which features of which clouds should be put together and how should investments be made into the system to train employees.

Each Community Becomes a Weapon

How should individuals respond to this age? Traditionally, change makers generally held top positions at major companies. They wielded their power by making major investments and enacting bold new system implementations. However, unless entire organizations understood how to utilize these new systems, it was not actually possible to fully leverage AI, despite easy access.

Perhaps you’ve heard of (or experienced) cases in which a cloud was implemented, but wasn’t used much. Such a waste! Luckily, as the use of AI expands, the power dynamic changes, such that even small businesses can use the latest cloud services at just a few hundred dollars per year.

There are more and more opportunities for coordinated growth. A Salesforce Saturday community emerged organically with gatherings at local cafes studying usage methods and solving problems. This type of activity exists in various fields all over the world, including in Japan with Jimdo.

To support this type of activity, Salesforce created myTrailhead, an educational platform that allows users to customize their learning by specifying which skills they need. Next year, users will be able to use it for branding on the company or organizational level.

Of course, a service only has a purpose if it’s being used. We’ve reached an age where individuals can polish their skills through company-sponsored learning opportunities. And, as individuals can now acquire and enhance their skills through communities, learning environments are truly everywhere. Individual communities will be significant in the future.

Anybody Can Become a Trailblazer

When it comes to sales and marketing systems, low-priced (and even free) cloud-based services are launching one after another. In this age of digital transformations, anybody can start something as soon as they think of it, without having to wait on a top-ranking leader of a major company.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway, corporate transformation and job reform will affect all companies and jobs. A single trailblazer can change the foundation of organizational and business reform. This past year, a record 500+ people from Japan and 171,000+ people from around the world attended Dreamforce. These figures signify the start of a new, major ecosystem.

Lots to look forward to in the years ahead!