Meeting of AI minds: IBM’s Watson joins with Salesforce’s Einstein

7 Mar 2017

Image: pogonici/Shutterstock

IBM and Salesforce forge artificial intelligence pact.

Tech giant IBM and cloud giant Salesforce have joined forces in a move to use AI to help businesses make decisions faster than hitherto possible.

“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 of IBM.

‘The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful’

It is this belief that has propelled the two companies to partner on combining IBM Watson with Salesforce’s Einstein to drive a new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing and commerce.

The move should spark the interest of database giant Oracle as it strikes at the nexus of what the software company is all about.

IBM said it will also be investing in its global business services capabilities for Salesforce, resulting in a new practice to help businesses rapidly deploy services using the combined brainpower of Watson and Einstein.

“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.”

Always take the weather with you

The partnership will begin with the integration of IBM Watson APIs into Salesforce to deliver predictive insights from unstructured data, inside and outside the enterprise.

This will potentially enable faster insights from a variety of sectors, for example; combining shopping patterns with weather data to drive decisions in the retail industry, such as anticipated footfall in stores or demand for specific goods.

IBM-owned The Weather Company will power a new lightning component of the Salesforce AppExchange to provide weather insights to 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 send safety information to customers who could be impacted by looming weather fronts.

Other aspects of the pact include IBM’s applications suite being ported into the Salesforce intelligent customer success platform and IBM’s Bluewolf consultancy setting up a new unit focused on the combination of Watson and Einstein.

The IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein integration is expected to be available in the second half of 2017.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years