Saturday 22 July 2023

Salesforce GPT - It's Alive!

Image generated by Stable Diffusion 2.1 in response to a prompt by Bob Buzzard


This week (19th July) the first of the Salesforce AI Cloud/Einstein GPT applications became generally available. You can read the full announcement on the Salesforce news site, but it's great to see something tangible in the hands of customers after the wave of marketing over the last few months. Its a relatively limited amount of functionality to start with, but I prefer that to waiting another 9 months for everything to be fully built out. GA is better than finished in this case!

What we know so far

We know that it's only available to Unlimited Edition, which already includes the existing Einstein AI features. This seems to be becoming the standard approach for Salesforce - Meetings, for example, was originally Performance and Unlimited Edition only, but is now available for all editions with Sales Cloud. It's a good way of keeping the numbers down without having to evaluate every application, and it's likely to include those customers that are running a lot of their business on Salesforce and thus will get the most value. 

We know that it's (initially) a limited set of features that look to be mostly relying on external generative AI systems rather than LLMs trained on your data. The features called out in the announcement include:

  • Service replies - personalised responses grounded in relevant, real time data sources. To be fair, this could be a model trained on your data, but the term grounded implies that it's an external request to something like Open AI GPT with additional context pulled from Salesforce.
  • Work Summaries - wrap ups of service cases and customer engagements. The kind of thing that Claude from Anthropic is very good at. These can then be turned into Knowledge Articles, assuming there was anything that could be re-used or repurposed for future customer calls.
  • Sales Emails - personalised and data-informed emails created for you, again sounding very much like a grounded response from something like OpenAI.
This looks like a smart move by Salesforce, as they can make generative AI available to customers without having to build out the infrastructure to host their own models - something that might present a challenge, given the demand for GPUs across the industry.

We know it will include the Einstein GPT Trust Layer. This is probably the biggest benefit - you could create your own integration with any of these external services, but you'd have to build all the protections in yourself, and the UI that allow admins to configure them.

We don't know what pricing to expect when it becomes available outside of Unlimited Edition, but given that it's included with Einstein there, it may well be included in that SKU for Enterprise Edition, which is $50/user/month for each of Sales and Service Cloud Einstein.

We know it includes "a limited number of credits', which I'm pretty sure was defined as 8,000 in one of the webinars I watched. This sounds like a lot, but we don't know what a credit is, so it might not be. If it's requests, that is quite a few. If it's tokens, not so much - testing my Salesforce CLI integration with OpenAI used around 6,000 tokens for not very many requests. Still, if you built your own integration with any of these tools you'd have to pay for usage, so there's no reason to expect it to be included when going via Salesforce, especially as I'm sure different customers will have wildly different usage. Those 6,000 tokens also cost me around 12 cents, so hopefully purchasing extra credits won't break the bank!

We also know, based on the Service Cloud GPT webinar on 19th July, that we'll be able to add our own rules around PII/sensitive data detection in prompts. It seemed highly likely that would be the case, but good to have it confirmed.

Finally, we know this is just the beginning of the GPT GAs. Dreamforce is less than 2 months away and there will be some big AInnouncements for sure.]

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