International Business Machines and Salesforce.com have agreed to intermingle their respective technologies of artificial intelligence (AI). The idea is to increase sales of their offerings in data analytics.
The two companies on Monday announced their plans for offering integrated AI services, which will weave the wide ranging human-like learning and conversation capabilities of Watson by IBM with the much more sales oriented Salesforce Einstein technology.
The offerings, which will be available some time during the second six months of 2017, have a goal of helping a wide range of different businesses to better target their products and services to their customers.
This agreement is just the latest move by IBM to place Watson out front of a business audience. IBM has tailored its AI system, an integral part of its effort of reinventing itself for the current era of cloud-computing, for a number of industries that include financial services, automobiles and healthcare.
The deal with Salesforce has the potential to make the system available to any business that has a sales team.
With Salesforce, this deal adds the broader AI capabilities of IBM to its own products as it battles increased competition from powerhouses in technology like Oracle and Microsoft.
As part of the newly agreed to deal, IBM will use the customer service software of Salesforce companywide, which gives Salesforce a huge, marquee client.
IBM and Salesforce will not share revenue, but instead plan to continue sales of their services of AI independently. The idea is that both companies can reach more customers as the capabilities work together than if the two worked separately.
Salesforce’s Einstein will understand information that is collected by customers of Salesforce that fits into neat, specific categories, like the number of purchases one customer made.
On the other hand, Watson’s specialty is interpreting information not yet categorized, like posts on social media or text from research papers. Much of this type of information is from public sources along with data sources purchased by IBM.
Its capabilities are available for the most part in cloud services that can be programed by customers into their software.
Together, Watson could make predictions about buying patterns with data of Einstein’s that is customer specific related to shopping preferences.
That in turn could help many retailers to automatically send more localized and highly personalized email campaigns to their shoppers, the two companies said.