Insights from Salesforce’s TrailblazerDX: New Developments in MuleSoft, Slack, and EinsteinGPT
TrailblazerDX, Salesforce’s annual developer conference, was held in San Francisco in the first week of March. As with previous events—and as is typical of Salesforce and its diverse product lines—the conference brimmed with important announcements: new technologies, new tools, and new ways for customers to create value for their organizations. Experts from the Big Compass team attended as many of the sessions as they could (allowing just enough time for food and sleep), and we’re pleased to present insights and observations from three of them on announced developments in MuleSoft, Slack, and Salesforce’s new Einstein GPT offering.
MuleSoft: Connecting enterprises to their ecosystems
Big Compass Architect Praveena Mukkavilli watched MuleSoft demonstrate its new Anypoint Partner Manager module, which promises to automate workflows and integrate electronic data interchange transactions (EDI – a standard electronic format for the exchange of business documents like invoices) between companies that are collaborating as partners or operating in customer-vendor trading relationships.
The session focused on an “onboarding” use case, showcasing how Partner Manager makes the process of registering and connecting to a new partner both simple and fast, and going on to demonstrate the module’s ability to monitor activity flows in real time, down to the level of individual transactions. While the product currently supports a relatively limited number of transport protocols (HTTPS, SFTP, AS2) and message formats (X12, JSON, XML), more formats and more tools (such as for transaction analysis) are already on the horizon.
In Praveena’s judgment, Anypoint Partner Manager looks set to play an important role in close concert with existing MuleSoft tools (like Anypoint API Manager and Anypoint Exchange) by connecting an enterprise’s application network to its trading partner ecosystem with much less effort than ever before—in combination with MuleSoft’s high levels of consistency, manageability, and security.
Slack: Deepening its power to boost productivity
While Slack has been a core part of many companies’ internal communication systems for years—and remains the fastest-growing “productivity platform” on the market today, according to Slack CTO Cal Henderson—the TrailblazerDX keynote session attended by Big Compass Lead Consultant Connor Fitzgerald highlighted how the platform is further increasing its impact on team productivity.
In Connor’s own experience, Slack’s most powerful feature is the way it uses integrations to reduce “context switching”, that silent thief of any digitally-focused employee’s time. “I am constantly switching between various platforms throughout my day,” he notes, “checking email, checking ServiceNow for new tickets, checking GitHub for new pull requests, updating Jira stories, verifying CI/CD deployments, etc. This switching decreases my productivity and even causes things to slip through the cracks.”
Slack integrates such applications into its well-organized flow of channels and categories, allowing an employee to stay focused on completing the task at hand without being distracted by moving to a new application and new interface for each step. Conor emphasizes that organizations can capture significant productivity gains by simply using the current version of Slack to its full potential.
Around the corner, though, is a technology that promises to improve team members’ effectiveness even more. Slack has launched the ChatGPT app, which leverages the now-famous AI service in order to automatically generate “conversation summaries” of a given issue—something that normally requires a person to review and read numerous previous messages in one or more channels in order bring themselves up to speed—as well as making it easy to draft messages to teammates or customers, and to research relevant topics using GPT’s conversational interface and without leaving the app.
EinsteinGPT: Bringing generative AI to everything Salesforce
Slack’s new ChatGPT app is by no means a stand-alone innovation. As Big Compass Lead Consultant Jared Mosley discovered at TrailblazerDX, Salesforce is in the process of integrating Open AI’s GPT tools into all of its primary platforms—Slack, MuleSoft, and Tableau—and throughout Salesforce itself, leveraging a customer’s Data Cloud (formerly known as Genie) to transform the range of capabilities that Einstein offers today across its various domains.
Demonstrated in the TDX session were upcoming Einstein GPT capabilities like generating client emails, searching for contacts within an org, creating a signup form (a task which included storing the results of the form and generating a header image for it), incorporating data from the web, and writing not just Apex code but relevant test cases for that code as well. One of Salesforce’s aims with GPT is to reduce the quantity and scale of overhead tasks that customer-facing users must complete every day while simultaneously improving the quality of those users’ work.
Einstein GPT is still in “closed pilot” mode, however, and it seemed clear that the capabilities it demonstrated at the session were made possible in part by the narrow scope (and careful forward planning) of the selected use cases. Jared points out that a real-world deployment of this tool will require an organization to invest more effort in the documentation, data quality, and standards that relate to the business processes it intends to enhance with AI—for all its power, after all, GPT doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, and will act based solely on the information it can access.
Our team came away from 2023’s TrailblazerDX better informed about both the just-launched and the near-future capabilities of Salesforce, its product portfolio, and its ecosystem—and excited to bring these capabilities to our clients over the coming months and years. Whether connecting enterprises more closely to each other, making teams and individual team members more productive, or enhancing the day-to-day world of customer relationship management with cutting edge developments in AI, Salesforce is clearly intent on maintaining its historically rapid tempo of innovation—and on challenging its customers to keep pace with it.