IBM and Salesforce partner to help businesses make smarter decisions

Boardroom handshake

Although artificial intelligence has been around for some time, it's generally been beyond the reach of most businesses.

A new collaboration between industry giants IBM and Salesforce aims to put AI-enabled technologies into the hands of millions of users to help them make better informed decisions.

With the partnership, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, AI that powers the world's number one CRM system, will seamlessly connect to enable a new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.

New insights from Watson will be brought directly into 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, process and derive recommendations from data to accelerate decision making and drive greater customer success.

"Within a few years, every major decision -- personal or business -- will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies," says Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer of 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."

Initial fruits of the partnership include a new Lightning component on the Salesforce AppExchange provided by The Weather Company, an IBM business, to power weather insights that can inform customer interactions and business performance. Also customers will be able to able to bring together on-premise enterprise and cloud data with specialized integration products for Salesforce, making that data available directly within the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform. IBM's Bluewolf consulting service is forming a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

"The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful," says 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."

As part of the partnership, IBM will deploy Salesforce Service Cloud across its own business to transform its global product support services and gain a single, unified view of every IBM customer.

The IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein integration is expected to be released in the second half of 2017. Pricing will be announced when it becomes generally available.

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