IBM and Salesforce have announced a strategic partnership to deliver joint solutions leveraging each company’s artificial intelligence products: Watson and Einstein.
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Watson, named for IBM’s first CEO, refers to the company’s cognitive computing capabilities. IBM, renowned for reinventing itself, is shifting to a greater focus on cognitive computing and is currently undertaking a global program of redundancies.
Meanwhile, Salesforce unveiled its AI offering Einstein, named after Albert Einstein, last year. Leveraging the acquisitions of MetaMind, PredictionIO and RelateIQ, Einstein embeds AI capabilities in the Salesforce platform with the aim of making its software smarter and saving users time.
The partnership will bring insights from Watson directly into the Salesforce platform, combining deep customer insights from Salesforce Einstein with Watson’s structured and unstructured data across many sources and industries including weather, healthcare, financial services and retail.
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 personalised and localised email campaigns to shoppers.
Together, Watson and Einstein will ingest, reason over and derive recommendations to accelerate decision making and drive greater customer success.
IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services capabilities for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.
“Within a few years, every major decision—personal or business—will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies,” said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM. “This year we expect Watson will touch one billion people—through everything from oncology and retail to tax preparation and cars. Now, 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. “I’m thrilled to form an alliance with IBM—no company’s core values are as close to Salesforce’s as IBM’s. It’s the best of both worlds.”
The IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein integration is expected to be available in the second half of 2017. Pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.