Technology

Salesforce released its Einstein platform to the public in Spring 2017, giving the average user access to powerful CRM with promised AI predictive analytic powers. The release came with a tidal wave of hype, promising revolutionary changes to marketing departments. Companies have had time to implement Einstein for a period of months, so accurate reviews are in. Experts believe that Salesforce Einstein is an excellent tool with a number of useful analytic uses. While it isn’t entirely stand-alone, the basic platform does more than simply complete data-based applications. Einstein probably deserves about 80 percent of the original hype. As stats go, that’s not bad.

The Hype

Salesforce hailed its own product by announcing that “The world’s No. 1 CRM is now the world’s smartest CRM . . .” The company also emphasized Einstein didn’t need the major customization that other similar platforms required because it contained “state-of-the-art algorithms built directly into the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Platform . . .” You get the picture. What was already a premier product would now usher marketing into the promised land of predictive data, and ultimately, finalized sales, enchanted customers, and home-grown marketing gurus.

The Reality

Salesforce Einstein Analytics Platform costs $75 per month per user, approximately the same price as Adobe Creative Cloud, which features Adobe Sensei. For that reasonable price, you get many features, including advanced sales and service apps. You can use them to analyze data from any source up to 100 million data rows, according to Salesforce. You can also create your own custom apps and dashboards and have access to all the online training you need. The platform isn’t as advanced as others, but it provides an advantage to companies without their own data geniuses on staff. It takes time to set up and manage effectively, despite the rosy predictions on the Salesforce site.

AI Capacity

Some experts say that Einstein doesn’t include actual “cognitive computing” (AI) but instead uses machine learning (ML). However, the company’s partnerships with Watson and other industry leaders provide Einstein users with impressive analytic power. For marketing departments, the pertinent question isn’t “Is this ‘real’ AI?”, but “How does it help us do our jobs?”

The machine learning allows the program to study data and determine, for itself, how to predict the future. Einstein constantly analyzes new data and makes model adjustments, determining what tasks you need to address next in your marketing efforts. Einstein can tell you which sales prospect is “most likely to close” and also sort a mailing list according to who’s most likely to open your email.

Einstein goes way beyond simply organizing data. It can, on a daily basis, make your sales department more efficient and effective. Whether it’s defined as actual AI probably won’t affect you or your employees.

Other Features

Salesforce offers other advanced features. For instance, your company can also use the Product Identification feature to manage inventory and improve sales potential. In addition, the Brand Detection feature helps your marketing department learn more about customer preferences and offers tools to refine sales campaigns. The technology also offers features that increase customer satisfaction. Visual search employs visual filters that let consumers find products that meet their needs. They can also take product photos and find out where they’re available.

Nuts and Bolts

Salesforce touts Einstein as a way to democratize AI. You don’t have to have your own data scientist to join the marketing analytic revolution. It’s not as simple as subscribing to the service, however. While many features are packaged in easy-to-use Cloud applications, customizing it for your particular company takes a little work and some online training. Yes, it’s pretty easy to use, but like any platform, it requires study and practice, particularly on the part of admins to fully use it. You have to build a model for your business and also refine your data so you get the best results. In short: Excellence in, excellence out.

Company Success

Salesforce boasts a number of high-profile success stories, and these online testimonials pack a punch. Companies such as Adidas, AWS, US Bank and Farmer’s Insurance are on record praising Salesforce offerings.

Kone, a leader in escalators, elevators and moving walkways, used Salesforce Einstein in conjunction with IBM Watson to build a customer-centered company in lieu of a hardware-centered one, allowing them to thrive around the world. They attribute much of their recent success to the Salesforce platform.

The Bottom Line

Salesforce has been a wildly successful Cloud Computing, CRM-based company for some time, but their addition of Einstein to their customer offerings has enhanced their business and made AI (really machine learning) more available to the those who aren’t data experts.

Einstein is not the most advanced platform you can choose, and you may need to pair it with Watson or add other Salesforce products to reach the productivity level that you desire. Still, experts in the industry rank it pretty high as a tool that helps most marketing departments. Will it unleash marketing magic on its own? No. But it will give more power to your marketing efforts. For companies looking for predictive analytics, Einstein is worth a try.

Have you ever been working in a Workfront project and needed to find the point of contact or name of the person who originally submitted the request? If so, you’ve probably also experienced the annoyance of having to navigate back to the original request just to find that information. As you’ve probably already guessed if you read the title, there’s a much simpler way. With a little easy set-up on the front end you can save yourself some serious aggravation.

 

  • Add a calculated field to the request custom form
  • Give the field a name
  • Set the format type as needed (for all the list fields below the format will be “Text”)
  • Add the appropriate issue calculation in the calculation area (see listing below) and click Save
  • Add the same calculated field to the corresponding project custom form
  • In the calculation area enter the name of the calculated field and click Save

 

And that’s it! Pretty easy, huh? So what these calculations are going to do is create a field on the issue form that references a native issue object (project queue, original requestor, etc.) and—since a field can’t self-reference—the project calculation will point to the same field on the only possible related object: the request. Repeat the above process for any additional data points you want to capture.

 

Requestor name

Field name: Original Requestor

Issue calculation: Owner.Name

Project calculation: Original Requestor

 

Queue project

Field name: Queue Project

Issue calculation: Project.Name

Project calculation: Queue Project

 

Parent request type

Field name: Parent Request Type

Issue calculation: Queue Topic.Parent Topic Group.Name

Project calculation: Parent Request Type

 

Request type

Field name: Request Type

Issue calculation: Queue Topic.Name

Project calculation: Request Type

 

Requestor company

Field name: Requestor Company

Issue calculation: Owner.Company.Name

Project calculation: Requestor Company

 

Request reference number

Field name: Request Reference Number

Issue calculation: Reference Number

Project calculation: Request Reference Number

 

Primary contact

Field name: Request Primary Contact

Issue calculation: Primary Contact

Project calculation: Request Primary Contact

 

 

Blockchain is a pretty popular buzzword these days. The sudden boom of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin brought a lot of attention to the technology. Blockchain is much more than just a buzz, however, and it’s becoming very apparent it has the power to change the way business is done in nearly every industry — from banking to SEO.

What Is Blockchain?

It’s a complicated technology, but essentially a blockchain is an immutable, decentralized ledger. That means that instead of a sole third-party record keeper, every party to a blockchain would have a record much like a spreadsheet. As transactions occur, the spreadsheets are simultaneously updated. If someone falsifies data on their spreadsheet, the blockchain would notice the discrepancy from the majority of the records and nullify the bad data. Because it’s nearly impossible to alter the data on all the ledgers, a blockchain is a very secure way to verify and move or exchange assets. It also creates a permanent trail from start to finish. That trail can guarantee the legitimacy of key aspects of SEO — determining if web traffic is human or bot, detecting black hat methods much more easily and reducing the staggering amount of money lost to digital ad fraud.

Link Building

Link building has long been an important part of SEO. That doesn’t mean the same tactics that applied in the 90’s can work today. For example, it’s possible to see some ranking boost from blog comment linking, but those look more like spam every day and their weighting is significantly less than it used to be. Natural link building has long been the most effective strategy. Blockchain will make it way easier for the major search engines to detect and penalize any website they catch buying paid links. Though it’s discouraged today, enforcement is difficult and under-utilized.

Verified Data

User interaction data matters a lot. It’s helpful to your marketing team and necessary for web crawlers to rank your site. That data can be diluted by bot traffic and hurt your rankings. Implementing a blockchain solution can verify human traffic and separate it from the bots, giving you better insights and higher rankings. Paid digital advertising is full of fraud because it’s currently impossible to tell if an ad was clicked by a human or bot. Blockchain technology is a very viable solution to this multi-billion dollar a year problem by connecting advertisers directly with verified potential customers.

Keyword Research

It’s difficult to determine just how a keyword plays out in different settings. The results vary across devices, location, users etc. With a token incentive, keyword research could utilize background space on thousands of devices to create an in-depth aggregate of data-heavy results.

 

While the full impacts are still uncertain at this junction, it’s not likely to be long before technology leaders start to leverage blockchain as a means for securing and processing interactions as much as they do transactions. And that means that you, as a marketer, have a whole new ballgame to learn. Thankfully, it’s likely to be one that rewards good SEO habits and practices, stamps out bad, and works to create a more democratic playing field.

Have you wondered if you’d benefit from one of the new marketing tools powered by artificial intelligence? Some of these platforms make claims that sound almost magical, and it can be tricky to sort out whether they’re worth the investment. Here’s a look at three of the major players in marketing AI, together with an overview of their unique capabilities — as well as a glance at which claims are over the top.

Salesforce Einstein

Einstein is the AI platform created by Salesforce and launched in Fall 2016. It has grown in sophistication since then, using customer data to automatically generate models. These models are continually improved by the AI, which analyzes the history of data and decides which factors are most accurate at predicting the behavior of individual customers. As the unit receives more information, it learns which of its models need adjusting, without the need for any intervention by developers.

Salesforce recently announced that its Einstein engine is now delivering over 1 billion pieces of information to its customers each day. It ranks lists of sales leads and puts information at one side of the screen to show each prospect’s probability of deciding to buy. For marketers, Einstein sorts email lists and says which recipients are most likely to open a given message. Salesforce’s director of product marketing Ally Witherspoon gives an example in Wired of a solar energy supplier discovering through AI that a person’s chances of buying are influenced by the pitch of their roof. In the future, she envisions, satellite photography could tag prospects’ homes according to the geometry of their roof.

Einstein is also in a partnership with IBM’s Watson, integrating its own CRM data with Watson’s insights. This wider reach offers access to customer data sources beyond what Salesforce itself is able to collect.

Motiva AI Cloud

Motiva works with Oracle’s Eloqua to optimize messaging through its ability to characterize audiences. In the words of Chris Diehl, Motiva’s CTO, the purpose of the AI is “removing the need to manually define the relevant population.” Diehl points out that by using artificial intelligence, marketers can discover new affinities and associations and “uncover meaningful populations that exhibit shared content preferences.” In other words, the AI gives new insight into whom to target and which target populations can be grouped together.

The real-world example that Diehl describes is very similar to that offered by Witherspoon when she talked about Einstein. Diehl mentions learning the external web browsing behavior of a marketing audience, then using that data to sort and rank this audience. Once the Motiva AI platform knows these people’s messaging channel preferences, it will advise the marketer about how to customize their messaging. In one example, a healthcare provider used Motiva to vary and improve the messaging sent to patients, and achieved a doubling of click-through rates.

Adobe Sensei

Adobe Sensei is an interesting addition to the AI mix, because unlike Salesforce or Oracle Eloqua, Adobe didn’t originate with CRM and marketing. Instead, the company drew on its deep graphic expertise and entered the AI universe through its interest in recognizing and manipulating visual data. This exploration eventually led Adobe to capitalize on the fact that logical patterns lend themselves to machine learning as readily as do visual patterns.

Fortune magazine says, “Sensei pores over tons of data (the more the better) to detect patterns and present results in a visual way.” While Adobe offers much the same customer experience options as the other two marketing AI systems mentioned here, it plays up two specific virtues: information security and cross-device access. Its “Cross-Device Co-op” program lets brands who use other Adobe marketing products recognize their consumers regardless of what type of device those consumers use. Adobe points out that marketing spend will decrease, because companies can “focus on people, not on devices.”

A number of banks currently use Sensei. If anonymous users visit the bank’s website, the AI platform can make suggestions about products to show them, even if the user doesn’t have a profile with the bank. HSBC used Sensei to highlight a specific product and saw a 109 percent increase in customers reaching that product.

But Will AI Really Help You Market Your Products?

Automatic customer model generation is flashy, but the amount of time it will save you depends on your individual needs. A platform like Salesforce allows businesses that aren’t Google or Facebook to simply purchase AI power without having to customize it and teach it what’s important to that particular business. That efficiency can definitely come in handy if you need help identifying your audience.

Eloqua Motiva can develop and dynamically revise models for messaging prospects automatically, so that the human marketer doesn’t have to waste time testing out which message will work best with which group.

On the other hand, when Einstein itemizes the factors it uses to score prospects, that transparency can either be helpful or distracting. And it’s definitely hype when Salesforce puts out a press release saying that by 2021, “AI-powered CRM activities ‘could’ increase global business revenues by $1.1 trillion and create 800,000 net-new jobs.” Salesforce customers alone, it points out, will account for $293 billion of those jobs. While it does seem promising that AI will increase the number of jobs overall, due to streamlining the time-consuming processes of segmenting and testing audiences, sky-high predictions are not enlightening.

Sorting Out What AI Can Offer You

Tech developers are understandably enthused over the capacity of AI, and marketing is indeed a practice that needs to be — at least partly — data driven. Fifty-one percent of marketers currently use some form of artificial intelligence, and no human being can handle data with the finesse of AI. But the claims made by some of these companies go a bit too far; they imply that you can just toss an AI platform into your marketing campaign and passively let it work its behind-the-scenes wizardry. As Motiva’s website seductively promises, “Turn it on, get results.” No AI platform can synthesize the intuitive insight of a skilled marketer.

There’s an elusive sweet spot between the creativity of a human marketing professional and the efficiencies offered by artificial intelligence. AI can be a useful tool, as long as you identify your goals ahead of time and have a clear idea of how you’ll use intelligent data manipulation to streamline your daily tasks. Certainly the platforms we’ve mentioned above can save time by making sure you’re speaking to the right audience, delivering the message they want to hear via the channels they like best. Furthermore, each system focuses on differentiating themselves from their competitors by delivering something unique. In our upcoming posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into what each of these three brands have to offer. We’ll examine their specific benefits and help you determine which one would be most applicable to your particular situation. We’ll also sort through the three brands’ own verbiage and clarify which of their claims are actually meaningful and which ones are just … well … marketing.

Originally posted on Engyte.com

Workfront empowers teams to do their best work. When integrated with Egnyte, teams can deliver that work even faster. With project and file collaboration available right in the native Workfront interface, the Egnyte connector enables secure, real-time synchronization so that your software solutions produce better results .

Experience Real-Time Collaboration

Workfront is the online project management software that allows you to manage all the work you do in one place. With Workfront, teams receive requests in a standardized format and managers can easily prioritize incoming projects, assign them  to the right team member, and get real time updates on progress—all without ever leaving Workfront’s customizable project management solution.

Egnyte’s integration with Workfront allows users to dynamically link Egnyte documents directly to Workfront projects.  Workfront allows entire folders to be shared — not just individual files — and syncs any changes made to those files from to Egnyte, and vice versa.

 

 

One Location, One Solution

Stop wasting time and resources inefficiently managing documents and digital assets created in silos.  Leverage the Egnyte + Workfront connector for end-to-end lifecycle management and replace dozens of tools for a single solution that offers the following:

  • Organize & Visualize– Documents can be organized and accessed by project. Each team member can view documents and digital assets the way they want.
  • Collaborate & Share – Collaborate and share work with your team, external stakeholders and/or third-party contributors. Keep all discussions, questions, comments and versions in the context of the document throughout its lifecycle.
  • Approve & Distribute – Easily set up, trigger, and track approval processes. Approvers have a single place to access all approvals with contextual access to the document collaboration stream, previous versions, and work details to make quick, informed decisions.

 

Integration is Simple

Configure the connector in 3 simple steps:

  1. Procure a Connector license from LeapPoint
  2. Add the Connector to Workfront (admin access required)
  3. Start using the integration

 

Once enabled, you can seamlessly synchronize files across your Workfront and Egnyte systems to keep all team members on the same page.

 

Get Started

In order to leverage the Workfront + Egnyte connector, users must purchase an annual license (only one required per Workfront or Egnyte instance). Please visit our page to learn more about Workfront licensing.

If you haven’t heard of our new productLeapPoint Onewe encourage to check it out immediately. And if you haven’t seen our flashy new video promoting LeapPoint One, we definitely encourage you to watch that too. In fact, do that first. We’re pretty proud of it.

LeapPoint One is a revolutionary product for any shared service organization. It sits on top of your project intake system, taking the place of the standard request form interface. It allows you to provide both visual and verbal details about the products or services your organization offers with a level of depth and interactivity that simply aren’t possible with current systems on the market today. The application provides a familiar, e-commerce style experience that makes it easy for requesters to not only find what they’re looking for, but make multiple requests at once, saving them time and effort. One the back end, the application syncs with a myriad of enterprise systems allowing you the flexibility to bundle similar offerings together as one “product”. Is a particular offering split between marketing and IT? Not a problem. One can take a single request and initiate a project in Workfront and a separate one in JIRA. Need an account created or updated in Salesforce at the same time? Easy as pie. No additional requests required.

As a shared service, One allows you to offer the same level of professionalism and experience as a customer-facing organization.

If you’d like to learn more about One or see a demo, reach out to uswe love showing off our new toy. But seriously, watch that video first.