Salesforce and IBM form artificial intelligence partnership

Customer relationship management company Salesforce has entered into a partnership with IBM to make greater use of artificial intelligence for customer insight.

Under the new agreement, Salesforce Einstein, an AI platform that learns from data to help salespeople close leads, will connect with IBM’s AI platform Watson to “enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement” across sales, service, marketing and commerce.

The partnership will combine customer insights from Salesforce Einstein with Watson’s structured and unstructured data across many sources and industries including weather, healthcare, financial services and retail. The end result will be predictions and recommendations to accelerate decision making and drive greater success.

For example, by combining local shopping patterns, weather and retail industry data from Watson with customer-specific shopping data and preferences from Salesforce Einstein, a retailer could automatically send highly personalised and localised email campaigns to shoppers.

Meanwhile, an insurance company could draw on local weather data from Watson to send safety and policy information to customers who are at risk of being impacted by severe weather events.

“The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.

Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive of IBM, claimed that within just a few years “every major decision – personal or business – will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies.”

As part of the partnership, IBM will deploy Salesforce Service Cloud across the company.

The Einstein/Watson platform integration is expected to be available in the second half of the year.

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