IBM and Salesforce announced a partnership Monday aimed at combining their artificial intelligence platforms to help "leverage artificial intelligence and enable companies to make smarter decisions." The integration is expected in the second half of 2017.
IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein will connect for intelligent customer engagement across sales, services, marketing and commerce by bringing insights from Watson directly into the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform. The companies already share more than 5,000 clients.
IBM is also launching a new practice to help clients 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 at IBM, adding that combing the two platforms will "provide an unprecedented understanding of customers."
The partnership could be a win-win for both companies. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been looking for a way to generate new growth for his company, but may have bitten off more than he could chew when Salesforce announced Einstein last year.
AI systems are certainly not the easiest to implement. Salesforce may be hoping to leverage some of IBM’s expertise in the area to help move Einstein forward. IBM in turn may be looking to tether itself to a newer, hipper company as it works to reinvent itself.
Together, IBM and Watson are taking on two different parts of the technology market. With sales and marketing expertise coming from Salesforce, and the trove of data across sectors Watson has to offer, companies will have more access and insight into businesses than ever before.