Stand back! IBM and Salesforce to connect their AI platforms

IBM
From left: Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, and IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty. Photo Credit: Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM

IBM and Salesforce have announced a global strategic partnership to leverage their respective artificial intelligence platforms to deliver joint solutions designed to enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster.

Under the partnership, IBM’s Watson AI platform and Salesforce’s Einstein AI will connect to each other to enable a new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing and commerce. IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services capabilities for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined Watson/Einstein capabilities.

The partnership will bring insights from Watson directly into the Salesforce intelligent customer success platform, combining deep customer insights from Einstein with Watson’s structured and unstructured data across many sources and industries including weather, healthcare, financial services and retail. Together, Watson and Einstein will ingest, reason over and derive recommendations to accelerate decision making and drive greater customer success, said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM.

“Within a few years, every major decision – personal or business – will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies,” she said. “With today’s announcement, the power of Watson will serve the millions of Salesforce and Einstein customers and developers to provide an unprecedented understanding of customers.”

“The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce.

The Salesforce/IBM partnership will initially deliver the following:

Watson and Einstein integration: Integrating IBM Watson APIs into Salesforce will bring predictive insights from unstructured data, inside or outside an enterprise, together with predictive insights from customer data delivered by Salesforce Einstein to enable smarter, faster decisions across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more. For example, by combining local shopping patterns, weather and retail industry data from Watson with customer-specific shopping data and preferences from Salesforce Einstein, a retailer will be able to automatically send highly personalized and localized email campaigns to shoppers.

IBM weather insights for Salesforce: IBM’s The Weather Company will power a new lightning component on the Salesforce AppExchange to provide weather insights that inform customer interactions and business performance. For example, an insurance company will be able to pull local forecast data from IBM Weather into Salesforce, and automatically send safety and policy information to customers who are at risk of being impacted by severe weather events.

IBM application integration suite for Salesforce: Customers will be able to able to bring together on-premise enterprise and cloud data with specialized integration products for Salesforce, surfacing that data directly within the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform. For example, a wealth advisor will be able to unify client data, such as individual investments and risk profiles, with financial trends and public macroeconomic information from Application Integration Suite right within Salesforce to make smarter decisions for her customers.

Bluewolf dedicated consulting services and expertise for cognitive solutions, adding to IBM strategic services for Salesforce: IBM’s Bluewolf has formed a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities. This new unit capitalizes on Bluewolf’s 15+ years of Salesforce implementations and their current portfolio of multiple Salesforce and Watson projects. Bluewolf will also develop new industry-specific accelerators used by enterprise clients to accelerate adoption of cognitive applications.

As part of the partnership, IBM will deploy Salesforce Service Cloud across the company to transform its global product support services and gain a single, unified view of every IBM customer.

All of the above will be available in the second half of 2017, except for the application integration suite for Salesforce, which is expected to be available by the end of this month.

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