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Salesforce Debuts a New Conversational UI at Dreamforce 2019 – But Will It Speak to End Users?

Conversational UIs allow users to interact naturally with applications and data using only their voice. Conversational UIs have become commonplace in consumer-facing contexts, with virtual agents such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa being household names. However, enterprise adoption has lagged, with relatively few solutions on the market that can easily handle business jargon and effectively execute common workflows.

Salesforce is one of a growing number of large vendors (alongside players such as Microsoft and Oracle) that is looking to expand the footprint of conversational UI in the enterprise. At Dreamforce 2019, the popular customer relationship management (CRM) vendor introduced the Einstein Voice Assistant. The solution allows end users to speak to their Salesforce applications – making common queries, updating customer records, or executing sales and service workflows. For example, the conversational UI would let a sales representative ask Sales Cloud to tell them a customer’s account balance or a prospect’s close probability.

Salesforce also allows administrators and developers to build customer voice skills that can be used in both internal and external applications.

Adoption of the Einstein Voice Assistant will be largely dependent on employees’ openness to using conversational UI. Interestingly, even on the consumer side, most usage of conversational UI occurs in the home rather than in a public or workplace setting. To see widespread use, we will need to overcome this stigma around publicly “talking to your computer.”

Source: Salesforce Sales Cloud at SoftwareReviews. Accessed December 11, 2019

Our Take

  • Salesforce, an industry leader in CRM applications, rolled out the Einstein Voice Assistant at Dreamforce 2019. The virtual assistant allows users and customers to interface with and query Salesforce applications in natural voice conversations.
  • The move marks yet another expansion of an enterprise vendor into the conversational UI space. Adoption will be dependent on whether or not employees want to “talk to their computers” publicly or in the workplace.

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