IBM’s Watson Meets Salesforce’s Einstein in New Partnership (IBM, CRM)

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Inc. (CRM) have announced a global strategic collaboration to jointly provide artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions and data-analytics offerings that help businesses make faster, smarter decisions.

Watson is a cognitive system capable of learning from earlier interactions, garnering knowledge and value over time, and thinking like a human. It works by combining artificial intelligence and advanced analytical software for analysis of various forms of data, thereby providing optimal responses based on reasoning and interacting like a “question-answering” machine. (See also, The Other Side of IBM’s Watson A.I. Solution.)

Salesforce Einstein is the core AI technology which powers the Salesforce CRM platform by using data mining and machine learning algorithms. It aims to proactively spot trends across sales, services, and marketing systems. The system is designed to forecast behavior that could spot up-sale prospects and opportunities, or identify crisis situations in advance which can then be avoided.

The AI Technology Alliance

Under the deal, IBM’s Watson and Salesforce’s Einstein will be seamlessly integrated to offer intelligent customer engagement across various functions like sales, service, marketing, e-commerce and more.

The following are what will initially be delivered:

  1. Integration of IBM Watson’s Application Programming Interface (API) into Salesforce to combine predictive insights from unstructured data, inside or outside an enterprise, together with predictive insights from customer data delivered by Salesforce Einstein. The example provided by the companies was that 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.
  2. IBM will share its weather updates and insights on Salesforce AppExchange.
  3. IBM consulting services company Bluewolf will assist clients in speedy installation of the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

The collaboration is expected to yield newer levels of intelligent systems amid increasing usage of AI, as the two companies continue to make significant investments in AI and machine learning-based systems. The companies did not disclose the deal value or the pricing of the joint products. (See also: IBM Q Launches Next Stage Of Quantum Computing Revolution)

“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,” said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM.

The partnership brings timely respite for IBM amid recent news that University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center has put its highly-touted ‘Watson for cancer’ project “on hold after an audit discovered both spending issues and an unfocused strategy that didn’t meet goals.” (See also, Teva and IBM Broaden Drug Partnership)


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