How to Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future.

How to Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future


This blog post was written by myself and Tom Bassett and is an abbreviated version of the presentation we delivered at Dreamforce ’23, where we explored how you can prepare your Salesforce org for the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution.

We invite you to read this post, which outlines the key steps you can take, but we also encourage you to watch our full presentation in the video linked below.

The world is changing

With the rapid pace that AI is evolving, how do you make sure you don’t get left behind?

AI runs on data, so the specifics of what is coming in the future of AI doesn’t matter as much as being prepared to feed it properly no matter what comes. The good news is that a lot of what you would do to prepare for an AI future also looks a lot like what you should already be doing now to take care of your Salesforce org.

Admins have historically had a difficult time allocating resources to org and data cleanliness projects because they are often up against the requests of other business stakeholders that are in charge of revenue-generating activities. With the potential revenue and productivity increases that are likely to come with an AI-driven future, admins can now build an even stronger case for prioritizing the activities that will maintain the health of their orgs.

Having a strategy now will prepare your org for an AI future AND still reap massive benefits TODAY.

Vanessa Grant and Tom Bassett presenting at Dreamforce.

What’s generative AI?

Before we dive into the Crawl, Walk, Run, and Soar phases of how you can prepare your org, let’s set the scene by explaining what generative AI is and why it’s set to shake things up. This new type of AI can be used to generate content, hence its generative nature. This includes text, translations, images, and answering full-on questions.

Just because you’ve heard of ChatGPT doesn’t mean you understand AI. AI isn’t new, but the pace it’s evolving and reshaping our world is. Salesforce started with AI in 2014, and in 2016 Einstein was born. Over time we’ve seen Einstein Bots, Predictions, and Insights start to change the way we work. And, recently, the fuse has been lit on the rocket with new innovations including Einstein GPT and Slack GPT, which are powered by generative AI.

Timeline of AI in Salesforce products from 2014 to the current day.


With AI being on the rocketship, it doesn’t mean you need to launch that massive internal AI initiative immediately. Let’s start off by teaching you how to CRAWL with AI to build up your confidence, become an advocate, and start to think about how it can help you and your business!

A great way to get your head around this technology is to check out the resources on Trailhead. You can start with the introductory modules such as Generative AI Basics and then advance into more complex areas such as Responsible Creation of Artificial Intelligence.

Example modules and units on Trailhead you can complete to skill up on AI.

Get AI Associate certified

Certified AI Associate Badge that can be earned when you pass the exam.


Once you’ve built a good foundational skill set, why not demonstrate it to the world? In addition to using your Trailblazer Profile to showcase your newly-earned badges, you can become a Certified AI Associate too. The exam guide outlines the costs, passing score, and topics covered. Being an Associate exam, it includes free retakes and doesn’t have any prerequisites—so what are you waiting for?


Follow the trail

Let’s summarize this first phase with a three-step guide on how to master the basics of AI.

Step 1: Get started by following the trail on Trailhead to learn the new terminology so you can confidently know what you’re speaking about.

Step 2: Connect the dots to your business cases, role, learning path, and industry by speaking to your stakeholders and applying what you’ve learned.

Step 3: “Be More Advocate” for AI within your business, and continue to think about how it can save time and money, increase productivity, and support the generation of new ideas.

Slide from Dreamforce Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future. This shows a trail for the audience to follow; Step 1 Get the Lingo Down, Step 2 Connect the Dots, Step 3 Be More Advocate.


Once you start feeling comfortable—because you’ve skilled up and your brain is full of cool ideas for how you can apply AI to your business—it’s time to WALK.

Discover and document

Every great admin knows that the beginning of any project calls for them to put on their Business Analyst hat (or T-shirt). After researching AI and identifying important business processes that could potentially benefit from it the most, you’re going to want to prioritize that list based on potential future business value added, grab the process at the top of your new AI backlog, and get to work documenting it.

Some documentation to create or clean up includes:

  • Business processes — Create a business process map.
  • Data model — What data in your org connects to this business process?
  • Automations — Which automations in your org connect to this business process?
  • User stories — Do you have user stories that document why things were built the way that they were?
  • Training guides — What documentation was created to teach users this process in Salesforce? Is it up to date?
  • How AI is already being used — How are users already leveraging AI tools today to support this business process? And if you don’t think anyone at your company is using AI, do some discovery. You might be surprised.

It’s worth noting that not all of this documentation integrates to AI offerings today, but this is why we’re planning for the future. The idea is to organize to get ahead.


We have the first business process we want to focus on, and we spent time in the Walk stage documenting it and how it connects to Salesforce. When we RUN, we clean house by getting the data ready for AI.


Part of the work in this stage includes updating descriptions in your Salesforce org (and reading the article by Ian Gotts on how to make them AI ready).

Again, don’t try to add descriptions to everything all at once—that would be overwhelming. Focus on the most important parts of the org that touch the highest-priority business process that would benefit from AI.

Some great places in your org to clean up or add descriptions include:

  • Fields
  • Flows
  • Validation rules
  • Permission sets
  • Lightning pages
  • Record types

Descriptions should indicate more than just what the thing is. You also want to write how it works. Why was it created, and why was it created like THAT? How was it derived?

Keep your descriptions concise. Don’t use a bunch of corporate acronyms. Use simple language.

If you have data getting used by AI within Salesforce, it’s also important to add that to those descriptions so if you deprecate that field, you’ll be alerted to update your prompts. Deprecating that field won’t break your org, but your AI would be wrong if your prompts are not also updated.

Make descriptions easier for the AI to zero in on the information it needs to support your business and for yourself to zero in on the information you need to support the AI.


Data cleanup also extends to comments. By adding or cleaning up comments, you’re not only supporting your users, Salesforce team, and consultants but also helping your future AI.

Some areas to review here include:

  • Formulas
  • Code
  • Help text
  • Guidance for Success
  • In-App Guidance

These will support your users, staff, AND your AI. It’s part of the team now.

Establish data hygiene

Let’s talk about data hygiene. The fact of the matter is if you put garbage data into AI, you’ll get garbage out. Let’s try to establish good hygiene where our data is concerned so it’s up to date and someone is responsible for it.

Within Salesforce, make sure you squash duplicates to reduce the amount of noise you feed into your AI model. There’s no need to keep all of those test accounts anymore!

Review and uninstall packages that are no longer required during a period of spring cleaning, like that package you installed but never got around to using.

Look over your fields and objects and deprecate unused elements to avoid creating a biased AI. Also, take the time to ask yourself, “Are you capturing the information you need to power your AI model?”

Start with key fields and business processes first to break this process down into manageable chunks.

Slide from Dreamforce "Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future" illustrating the three talking points around Data Hygiene including; Remove Duplicates, Remove Unused Apps, and Deprecate Unused Fields and Objects.


We’ve learned to Crawl, Walk, and Run, now let’s get ready to SOAR through the final phase!

Be well architected

Don’t let the word architect frighten you away from the Well-Architected framework. From admin to architect, we each have our role to play. If you take a shaky architectural foundation and then try to lay AI on top of it, your AI won’t deliver as much business value.

Ensure your system is Trusted in that it’s secure, you are complying with any legal regulations, and it’s reliable for your users, customers, and partners. For example, a secure system isn’t one where all users can export data and feed it into public AI models.

Think about Easy as in it has clear intentions to help users perform Jobs to be Done, while helping them out with automation and keeping them engaged.

You and your system need to be Adaptable to the change that AI will bring by building a system that is not only resilient but also composable, meaning it’s made of interchangeable blocks. You can swap out these blocks as AI changes or your business evolves as a result.

Slide from Dreamforce "Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future," showing the three phases of the Well-Architected framework including Trusted, Easy, and Adaptable.

Implement governance strategy

The second part of soaring is implementing governance. We recommend a document, centralize, and evangelize strategy. Document the standards, put them in an easily accessible, central location so everyone knows where to find them, and then let everyone know that those are the standards going forward. By doing it this way, if people fall back into bad habits you can point out, “HEY, HEY… how this should be done is documented right here. There’s no excuse for not doing it right.”

You need governance for your data. You can’t just clean it up once—you must proactively work to keep it clean. Make sure you have a solid backup in place too.

You also need governance around development. Taking care of a Salesforce org is a team sport. Even you solo admins know that someday you’re going to have to call that consultant in for a one-off project, or the team will need to be expanded. Start putting your governance in place so that the org can be guided by the same principles no matter who is doing the configuration on it. Consider things like “clicks, not code,” documenting guidance on naming conventions, and maturing your DevOps process.

Lastly, you’ll want AI governance. You, as the keeper of the company’s most vital data, need to be part of that AI conversation within your organization. Again, Be More Advocate. Consider security and how AI is used outside of Salesforce, and document best practices on prompting and how those prompts will be monitored if they’re used in the org.

Clean house, set the rules, and then AI will come in and make it better.

Slide from Dreamforce "Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future" showing the need for Governance around Data, Development, and AI.

Your action plan

To round things off, let’s leave you with an action plan that you can use beginning next week to prepare your own Salesforce orgs for an AI-driven future.

  • Starting Monday, you’re going to skill up. Start building your AI vocabulary. Think about how AI might benefit your organization in the future. Talk to the people in your organization to see how they’re using AI today.
  • Next week (while still skilling up, of course, because #AlwaysBeLearning), you’re going to identify the high-priority business processes that can benefit from AI and put them in priority order. Build and prioritize that AI backlog.
  • Next month, take the business process at the top of your backlog and document it. Start to see where that process connects with your Salesforce org.
  • For the next 6 months, focus on that high-priority business process and ensure any technical debt is cleaned up and that data hygiene doesn’t leave you guessing.
  • For the 6 months after that, establish data, development, and AI governance so that best practices are embedded in the organization and everything you do.
  • This shifts into becoming an iterative process with Ongoing Innovation that you can now use to ‘rinse and repeat’ for other lower-priority business processes.

Slide from Dreamforce "Prepare Your Org for an AI-Driven Future" showing an Action Plan.

This action plan is packed, but it will help break your prep down into manageable tasks so that you feel confident incorporating AI into your business, no matter what lies ahead.


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