Salesforce Einstein is set to make its debut at the company's annual Dreamforce conference, to be held October 4-7 in San Francisco. "If this is not the next big thing, I don't know what is," said Benioff (pictured above).
For the sixth year in a row, Forbes also named Salesforce to its annual list of "The World's Most Innovative Companies." Like last year, Salesforce comes in at second place, just behind Tesla Motors at number one.
After Forbes published its profile and innovators list Wednesday, Benioff said in a tweet that Einstein will be the "1st comprehensive AI platform for CRM." Designed to boost Salesforce's sales, marketing and other offerings with smart insights and predictive suggestions, Einstein will catch his company's competitors "by surprise," Benioff said.
"Salesforce is hardly the first tech giant to bet big on AI," Forbes noted, adding that both Google and Microsoft have also been aggressively pushing developments in that area. However, with Salesforce's focus on the CRM and sales sector, "Benioff must continue to innovate and do so at scale."
Maintaining the company's explosive growth from the past five years into the future will pose big challenges, Benioff said. "We're changing the engines on a 747 in midflight."
Just last week, Gartner Inc. named Salesforce a leader in its "Magic Quadrant" for sales force automation (SFA) for the 10th year in a row.
"Salesforce has the deepest application marketplace of any SFA vendor, featuring more than 1,000 third-party applications for sales," Gartner said in its assessment of the company. "This is an important consideration for companies that want to deploy new sales capabilities without extensive custom development."
Forbes developed its annual innovators list with the help of FinStra Consulting, basing its rankings on something it calls the "innovation premium." That number, the difference between a business' market cap and its net present value of business cash flows, essentially measures investor beliefs about companies expected to be "innovative now and in the future."
"Innovation isn't just about coming up with the big vision," Alexa Schirtzinger, Salesforce's director of content marketing, wrote Wednesday in a company blog post. "Successful innovation also depends heavily on the ability to execute -- and a lot of that comes from persistence."