Industry Insiders Weigh In On Watson/Einstein Partnership


Salesforce and IBM caused a stir in the cloud market this week when the two tech giants announced plans to develop joint solutions that incorporate the artificial intelligence capabilities of both companies. 

Two of the biggest names in artificial intelligence, Salesforce’s Einstein and IBM’s Watson will join forces to deliver several integrated solutions by the end of the year. Marketers can benefit from combining Salesforce’s CRM-driven customer data with IBM’s unstructured data sources, ranging from financial and retail data to weather information, to glean new business intelligence and target customers more effectively.

The IBM Watson API will be integrated into Salesforce during the second half of the year, with pricing expected upon initial release. An IBM Weather Lightning Component -- powered by the The Weather Company, owned by IBM -- will also be released on the Salesforce AppExchange during the same period.

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Bluewolf, a long-time Salesforce partner and implementation consulting service, will also establish a new practice specializing in the combined solutions that IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein offer. Bluewolf was acquired by IBM in May 2016 for a reported $200 million.

Since IBM and Salesforce share as many as 5000 enterprise customers, “this partnership makes sense from the standpoint of being driven by market demand,” says Stephanie Trunzo, COO and chief digital officer at PointSource. 

Global artificial intelligence revenue is predicted to grow substantially from $643.7 million in 2016 to $38.8 billion by 2025, according to Research and Markets. The research firm expects sizable growth across six cornerstone AI technologies: machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, machine reasoning and strong AI.

“Salesforce will benefit greatly from expanding the depth of their platform with more robust capabilities from a smart cognitive play,” continues Trunzo. “Watson providing contextual and personalized learnings from CRM means the ability to better target consumers, and even get smarter about how people prefer to be communicated with, uncovering synergies for cross-selling and connecting the dots between relationships.”

“The goal for marketers has always been relevant, contextual experiences, but the path to 1-to-1 personalization can be long and expensive,” says Scott Webb, president of Chicago-based digital services and solutions firm Avionos. ”With Einstein and Watson joining forces, marketers can accelerate AI-driven experiences well beyond what traditional rules-based segmentation can accomplish.”

Avionos partnered with both IBM and Salesforce for a recent marketing campaign for Kellogg’s Bear Naked, a granola company. Avionos integrated IBM’s Chef Watson into Salesforce while creating a personalized ecommerce portal where customers could create their own unique blends of granola.

“The solution combined traditional customer analytics in Salesforce with a massive inventory of ingredients and recipes in Watson to provide real-time suggestions and feedback on individual consumers' choice of customized granola,” says Webb. 

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