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Elementary AI my dear Watson…and Einstein: IBM, Salesforce strike landmark Artificial Intelligence deal

IBM's Bluewolf will set up a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

By Ellie Burns

It might sound like some strange hybrid scientific detective novel, but Einstein and Watson are coming together in a landmark deal struck between Saleforce and IBM.

The two giants of tech will partner to deliver solutions designed to leverage artificial intelligence, with IBM bringing its cognitive platform Watson to the table alongside Salesforce Einstein, the AI behind the CRM platform.

Effectively, this means that IBM will be able to sell consulting services across both Einstein and Watson AI businesses.

Watson will be available directly from the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success 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. Together, Watson and Einstein will ingest, reason over and derive recommendations to accelerate decision making and drive greater customer success.

READ MORE: Salesforce taps Einstein AI for boost to cloud CRM

“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.”

Initially the partnership will deliver four key product integrations, with the first being the aforementioned Watson integration with Einstein. 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. This hopes to enable smarter, faster decisions across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.


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“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.

There will also be integration between IBM Weather and Salesforce AppExchange, with the Weather Company set to power a new Lightning component on the Salesforce AppExchange to provide weather insights that inform customer interactions and business performance.

The partnership was not all about AI, with cloud also making an appearance in the tie-up. With the IBM Application Integration Suite for Salesforce, customers will be able to able to bring together on-premise enterprise and cloud data with specialised integration products for Salesforce, surfacing that data directly within the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform.

Another IBM business in addition to the Weather Company was involved in the deal, with Bluewolf set to form a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities. Bluewolf will also develop new industry-specific accelerators used by enterprise clients to accelerate adoption of cognitive applications.

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