IBM, Salesforce Agree for Watson, Einstein to 'Marry'

IT giants name each other as preferred services providers and will offer all-new customer engagement platform for sales and service.

Salesforce.IBM.landscape

Fresh off an encouraging quarterly earnings report, IBM on Jan. 19 indicated that it is truly a progressive institution by revealing that Watson soon will be “marrying” Salesforce’s Einstein in order to enable smoother transactions with customers.

Implications not withstanding, the expanded partnership with Salesforce will coordinate IBM Cloud and Watson artificial intelligence services with Salesforce’s Quip document collaboration platform and Service Cloud Einstein.

With this expansion, Salesforce has named IBM a preferred cloud services provider, and IBM has named Salesforce its preferred customer engagement platform for sales and service.

The plan, at least at the outset, is for IBM to build new Watson Quip Live Apps applications that will be embedded into Quip documents. The companies will also integrate their Watson and Service Cloud Einstein services, using all that artificial intelligence horsepower to help companies personalize interactions with customers based on recent calls or chats. They also will be used to increase the effectiveness of sales teams during the lifecycle of  sales opportunity.

At Salesforce’s DreamForce event last November, the company announced new features for Quip, the collaboration platform the company acquired a year ago. One of them was Live Apps, which enables users to embed Quip apps into any Quip document. IBM, thanks to Salesforce’s open API, now will also be able to embed its own apps into Quip documents.

For example, Quip users now can add a calendar app, Salesforce records or a poll into any Quip document. This wasn’t possible before last fall.

Quip is a competitor to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-based service. IBM has not offered a similar platform previously.   

Today's news follows up the partnership previously announced by IBM and Salesforce to deliver joint solutions that use  AI. With more than 4,000 joint customers, the partnership has already helped companies implement new Watson solutions.

“There is a perfect marriage between Salesforce and IBM. Salesforce is where many companies like Autodesk house enormous amounts of customer data, most of which goes untapped,” Autodesk Senior Manager Rachael Cotton said. Autodesk is a customer of both IBM and Salesforce.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...