The Salesforce World Tour took place on June 6, 2024, at the Excel Centre in east London, UK, with discussion focused on innovations in the Data Cloud and Slack platforms.

Sponsors included AWS, Cognizant, Deloitte, and PWC. For GenAI observers, the most salient news during the Salesforce World Tour was the general availability of a Vector Database capability in Data Cloud, built into the Einstein 1 Platform which infuses GenAI into the vendor’s CRM platform, customer 360. The vector database collects, “ingests”, and combines structured and unstructured data regarding end-users, allowing enterprises to deploy GenAI across all their applications without the need for fine-tuning an off-the-shelf large language model (LLM).

According to Salesforce, around 80% of customer data is scattered across internal corporate departments in an unstructured configuration, “trapped” in PDFs, emails, chat conversations, transcripts, and so on. This data can be leveraged to create a closer overall relationship with the customer, because Vector Database essentially creates a unified profile of the so-called customer journey.

Being able to ground all types of data in the Data Cloud, where it is processed, unlocks a ton of valuable information and not just to engage with the customer in positive ways: it enables enterprises to be as quick and agile as possible in case of problems by pulling all data from across all corporate silos into a unified view: issues such as product recall, returns, and other key moments can also be resolved.

Data Cloud will be available on Hyperforce in the UK

During the keynote, it was emphasised that personalisation is a critical tenet of customer engagement and one of the advantages of deploying GenAI in customer-facing verticals.

“Putting data to work” was one of the highlights of the speech, and how enterprises can augment employee productivity through upskilling to increase use of GenAI tech internally. Overcoming the fear factor and general mistrust of GenAI is also essential. Although there were no new product launches per se, the vendor announced the forthcoming availability of Data Cloud in Hyperforce in the UK. Hyperforce, designed to help companies tackle data residency problems, by creating a layer where all Salesforce applications are integrated across the same compliance, security, privacy, and scalability standards.

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The solution is built for the public cloud and is composed of code rather than hardware, so that all applications can be safely delivered to locations worldwide. Hyperforce provides a common layer for the deployment of all the application stacks, offering Salesforce’s version of similar solutions available in the market. These solutions allow companies to handle data compliance for an increasingly fragmented technology world. Customers serve their employees and customers globally while providing choice and control for residency and compliance.

Salesforce AI Center

The event was also a launchpad for the Salesforce AI Center, whose pilot will be inaugurated in the UK to encourage collaboration among AI experts, support Salesforce partners and customers, and facilitate training and upskilling programs. The company said the center, which is planned to be the first of many globally, has capacity for 300 people and is located South of the River in the Blue Fin Building, near Blackfriars.

Recognising the value of training in the nascent GenAI market, Salesforce has set itself the ambitious goal of upskilling 100,000 developers worldwide leveraging a string of similar centres globally. The London facility will open on June 18, 2024, and is part of a $4bn (£3.16bn) investment drive in the UK and Ireland.

GlobalData senior analyst Beatriz Valle commented: “Salesforce continues to incorporate GenAI across its portfolio, from its data visualisation platform Tableau to Einstein for analytics and Slack for collaboration. According to the company, the Data Cloud tool leverages all the metadata in the Einstein 1 Platform by connecting unstructured and structured data, reducing the need to fine-tune LLMs, and enhancing the accuracy of the results delivered by Einstein Copilot, Salesforce’s conversational AI assistant. Vector databases are not new, but the GenAI “revolution” has brought them to the forefront as enterprises use them alongside RAG (retrieval augmented generation) techniques to link their proprietary data with large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4, enabling them to generate more accurate results.”

Vector databases are becoming widespread because they power the RAG technique, used by enterprises to build chatbots for employees needing to access internal company information, for example researchers using an AI Hub, or salespeople pulling information from knowledge hubs.

Rivals including Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft and Google have their own vector databases and Salesforce demonstrates its early investments in GenAI are bearing fruit with the Data Cloud Vector Database launch.