IBM/Salesforce tie-up makes sense – Microsoft and Facebook should follow their lead

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Salesforce and IBM have announced a wide-ranging partnership which will combine their two AI offerings, but they will continue to sell the combined offering under two brands. At the same time, IBM has announced that it will move its CRM business to Salesforce, depriving Microsoft of a landmark customer.

IBM and Salesforce also stated that they already have about 5,000 clients in common but virtually no overlap, which means – at least to me – that the cross-selling opportunity is actually not that large.

Hence, I think that the main reason for the combination is that today, AI requires both a lot of time and a lot of data, and it is here where IBM and Salesforce can help each other out.

IBM’s Watson has been around for many years, which makes it one of the most experienced. Salesforce is a relative newcomer to AI but I think that it is generating far more data than IBM is. Consequently, it is not hard to see how using Watson’s brains and Einstein’s data could result in more effective AIs being trained in a much shorter period of time.

Compared to consumer, enterprise AI is much trickier as each corporation wants different things from AI, and the data sets are quite specific to each company.  Hence, I can see more general algorithms being trained by the supplier that are then customized with the requirements and specific data set of specific customer companies.

The net result is that I can see a lot of sense in this IBM/Salesforce tie-up, as both companies will be able to do what they are currently doing better without treading on each other’s toes.

In the same vein, there may be some sense in Microsoft doing a similar deal with Facebook in consumer. Facebook is sitting on the second largest data pool in the world, but has no idea what do to with it, while Microsoft has some history in AI, but its waning consumer ecosystem means that its data volumes in this area leave a lot to be desired.

Furthermore, Facebook and Microsoft do not really compete against each other anymore and are already co-operating on building an undersea cable.

Consequently, a cooperation on AI could have significant benefits to both companies and would go quite some way to fixing the serious problem that Facebook has with AI.

This article was originally published at RadioFreeMobile

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