Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is on a mission. The mission is not just to grow his own company, but to help grow the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in an ethical way that helps to advance humanity and enable what he refers to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The path to the Fourth Industrial Revolution isn't a charitable one; rather, it's one full of profit potential for Salesforce, which reported its second quarter fiscal 2019 financial results on Aug. 29. For the quarter, Salesforce reported revenue of $3.28 billion for a 27 percent year-over-year gain. Looking forward, Salesforce provided third quarter fiscal 2019 financial guidance for revenue to be in the range of $3.355 to $3.365 billion for a 24 to 25 percent year-over-year improvement.
"Our drive to $23 billion in revenue in fiscal year ‘22 and beyond is being driven by a technological revolution that’s fundamentally transforming our society, the Fourth Industrial Revolution," Benioff said during his company's earnings call. "Our position as the number one sales, number one service, number one marketing and number one CRM platform is enabling our customers to stay ahead and drive in this Fourth Industrial Revolution."
Benioff emphasized repeatedly through out the call that one of the critical aspects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is artificial intelligence. AI isn't just some magical pixie dust for Benioff, it's about the power of machine learning to give computers the ability to learn from all kinds of data. This provides Salesforce customers the ability to learn about their customers and be more personalized and effective in their relationships.
The core of Salesforce's AI efforts is the company's Einstein platform, which provides over 3 billion predictions and insights every single day, according to Benioff. Einstein was further advanced during the second quarter with the introduction of Einstein bots in the Salesforce Service Cloud.
"Our customers can now unlock even deeper customer insight, deliver a transformational customer experience whether it’s with the service agent, whether a sales agent or whether a bot itself," Benioff said.
Salesforce also expanded its AI capabilities through the acquisition of Datorama which closed during the second quarter. Benioff explained that Datorama is a company that through artificial intelligence is automatically able to integrate with different marketing automation applications.
"Of course, Salesforce is probably the number one marketing cloud in the world, but there are other marketing clouds as well and there is other marketing technologies," Benioff said. "Datorama is able to automatically reach out to those and then provide to the marketer automated dashboards and integrated KPIs to give them basically an incredible opportunity to drive their market. That is going to be the future growth of our marketing plan."
Salesforce's premier customer event, Dreamforce, gets underway later this month starting on Sept. 25 in San Francisco. Benioff did not reveal what he plans to announce at the event though he did note that there will be some "amazing" extensions to the platform. He did, however, reveal that the lead band for Dreamforce will be Metallica.
"As you can see, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is well underway here at Salesforce," Benioff said. "Everyone and everything is more connected than ever before."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.