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Businesses leaders ready for Generative AI, says Salesforce research

Businesses leaders ready for Generative AI, says Salesforce research

Salesforce today released a survey of 515 business IT leaders which indicates they believe Generative AI will be game-changing, and the respondents are ready to adopt Generative AI. The headline from the research is 67% of respondents will be prioritizing Generative AI in the next 18 months, according to this press release.

I’ve been using Generative AI myself, and I’ve grown accustomed to using it as a developer and an analyst. I’ll start out this post by sharing some of my experiences! Next, after we examine this no-brainer Salesforce research, I’ll opine a bit on what kinds of impacts we should expect from Generative AI in 2023.

Ultimate Bicycle for the Mind

It’s funny I used the term “no-brainer” to refer to the Salesforce research on Generative AI. That is because “no-brainer” was one of the favorite expressions of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer and friend of Marc Benioff.

Another favorite expression of Steve Jobs was that a personal computer is a bicycle for the mind. Just like how that bicycle multiplies the power of your body to move from place to place, a computer multiplies the power of your mind to be creative.

I immediately thought of the phrase when I first started working with OpenAI ChatGPT. To me, it seems like ultimate expression yet of the possibility that phrase evokes. It wasn’t because I fell in love with the chatbots prose, or I was offended at its political leanings. It was how the thing handles generating code. Here’s one of the first tasks I threw at it.

Create a Salesforce Apex class called HTTPpost that defines Apex REST endpoints that work with a custom object called POST__C.  The endpoints will be GET ‘/posts’, POST ‘/posts’, and DELETE ‘/posts’

You can see the partial results here. I’ve also used GitHub Copilot with similar results. Coding is a lot more fun, and I feel more productive when I use an AI pair programmer. And I’m not the only observer to bring up the bicycle for the mind quote because the whole experience seems magical at times.

Summarization is OK, Research is Weak

Less amazing is using ChatGPT or Bing for market research. I’ve asked all these chatbots questions about Salesforce devops vendors, for example. I scolded ChatGPT that it was giving me the same answer to the “Please summarize the private company X” question for all the Salesforce devops vendors. And it admitted it was using a general template for what it thought a “Salesforce devops vendor” was! The chatbots did a better job when asked to summarize a public company.

One thing Bing and ChatGPT seem to do better is to summarize blog posts and articles. I’ve been using it to help summarize posts and other content I’ve already written on the web site, for example. As the author of those posts, it seems to do a pretty good job! I’m just getting started using chatbots systematically, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Salesforce AI Research

In a recent survey of 515 IT business leaders, Salesforce asked about opinions concerning generative AI. Most senior IT leaders (57%) believe generative AI is a ‘game changer.’ They believe the technology has the potential to help them better serve their customers, take advantage of data, and operate more efficiently.

  • 84% of senior IT leaders say generative AI will help their organization better serve their customers.
  • 80% of senior IT leaders say generative AI will help their organization take better advantage of data.
  • 79% of senior IT leaders say generative AI will help their organization operate more efficiently.
  • 79% of senior IT leaders say generative AI will help reduce team workload and thereby reduce burnout.
  • 77% of senior IT leaders say generative AI will help their organization serve their customers faster.
  • 75% of senior IT leaders say generative AI helps their organization sell efficiently.

However, 33% of those surveyed feel that generative AI is ‘over-hyped,’ with concerns that the technology brings the potential for security risks (79%) and bias (73%).

Salesforce Generative AI Research One Sheet
Salesforce Generative AI Research One Sheet, Source: Salesforce

Concerns extend beyond just those who feel the technology is ‘over-hyped’ — a majority of the 515 IT leaders surveyed are skeptical about the ethical implications of generative AI. Almost 6 in 10 (59%) believe generative AI outputs are inaccurate and almost two-thirds (63%) agree there is bias in generative AI outputs (e.g.,  misinformation and hate speech). In addition, 71% agree generative AI would increase their carbon footprint through increased IT energy use.

Competitive Pressure Will Be Intense

There is also an errie feeling of being left out, or FOMO, after being exposed to AI tools. One quickly realizes that learning how to use these tools like the new bicycle for the mind will soon differentiate workers in the marketplace.

Once people feel like their competitors are using these tools to become more productive, the pressure will mount. I think intense FOMO will be one of the big drivers of Generative AI adotion.

Generative AI and CRM Explodes

2023 should be an interesting year for Generative AI and the CRM industry. Microsoft, who is a big investor in OpenAI and currently operates an AI chatbot on Bing, has already made its move. Microsoft Dynamics Viva Sales customers can now request preview access to generative AI content in Viva Sales. Integrated within the Outlook client, Viva Sales will now automatically generate an outbound email based on customer and opportunity information on the screen.

I know one might be tempted to scoff at the EinsteinGPT announcements tomorrow, but with Microsoft Viva Sales out there, Salesforce has to make a big move. And, now that OpenAI has opened Pandora’s box, the possibilities now seem endless. Service agents could be aided by suggested responses. And language models may be “seeded” with enterprise-specific data, which Salesforce customers have been storing up for years.

This should only be the beginning of an avalanche of generative AI capabilities which will become part of every CRM system, Salesforce included. Besides content generation, I am looking forward to observing how Microsoft, Salesforce, and others will compete on the AI pair programming front. There will also be a direct impact on test generation and automation, so I expect several Salesforce devops vendors to make announcements this year.