SAN FRANCISCO — Salesforce.com Inc. opened up its annual conference by releasing six new services that will allow code-free application and process development across its cloud platform.
Themed as a personalized drag-and-drop portal that enables any Salesforce user to take control of the platform and build a tool that will help them do their job, the services build upon several different planks that Salesforce has laid done over the last couple of years. From the recent headway its made in building artificial intelligence features into its cloud software with Einstein, to providing an Internet of Things platform to harness data both inside Salesforce and from external sources, to guided online educational resources that lead to certifications, and of course pushing its customer relationship management (CRM) data out to mobile devices.
The message Salesforce is sending to its users is: you don’t have to wait for IT. You can build it yourself. Or perhaps, as Ray Wang, the principal analyst at Constellation Research puts it, you can at least build the prototype.
“The overall theme at Salesforce this year is about self-empowerment,” he says. “The second component is around self-service and making it easy.”
Here’s the list of point-and-click tools Salesforce is announcing today with some context:
myTrailhead: Allows companies to customize Salesforce’s Trailhead online education platform with their own content and branding. Uses a drag-and-drop user interface to achieve this.
Salesforce introduced its Trailhead developer outreach at Dreamforce in 2015. By last year, it had seen 100,000 users login into the self-guided curriculum that rewards learning with wilderness camp-themed badges. Learning modules can be completed in as little as 20 minutes, but are also the path to valuable Salesforce certifications.
“What’s interesting about what they’ve done with it is they’ve created a whole bunch of community evangelists out of nowhere,” Wang says.
myEinstein: For admins and developers, provides access to build AI apps using a drag-and-drop interface with Einstein Prediction Builder and Einstein Bots.
Einstein was introduced last year as the artificial intelligence capabilities that would be available throughout Salesforce’s cloud software products. It started by pointing sales associates towards their strongest leads, and charting personalization paths for marketers. It does this by harnessing the data a company generates within its Salesforce applications. Plus, if you opt-in to share your de-identified data with Salesforce, you get access to models that are informed by industry data from other Salesforce customers.
Now Salesforce is handing over Einstein’s machine learning muscle to its developer community with this GUI tool.
“It does take some time to train the system, but it’s much easier than hiring a data scientist,” Wang says. “Instead of having a company invest lots of support to keep these models up and running, that’s what Einstein does.”
myLightning: Using Salesforce’s modern UI engine, this allows users to build customized applications, themes, and workflows. Admin users can set templates for company branding.
Lightning was first introduced to the Salesforce1 platform in 2014. It made the component framework that Salesforce’s own internal developers use to build mobile apps available to partners and customers as well.
The advantage of building apps on the Lightning platform for developers has always been that they can build once and deploy across multiple platforms, including web and mobile. Now that capability is accessible in a code-free environment.
mySalesforce: Building on the Salesforce1 mobile platform, this will enable companies to build their own Salesforce-driven apps internally, or publish it to Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
myIoT: Users will be able to combine connected devices, sensor, or application data with customer context from Salesforce to create sales, service, and marketing experiences.