IBM-Salesforce deal will bring Watson data into applications

The tie-up will use intelligence from Big Blue to make Salesforce applications smarter

Watson and Einstein are teaming up, and IBM and Salesforce hope the pairing proves as smart as it sounds. The two companies are working together to bring information from IBM systems into Salesforce’s products through a series of integrations announced Monday.

As part of the partnership, joint customers will be able to combine Watson's insights from their unstructured data with Einstein's insights about information stored with Salesforce. That comes alongside other integrations that bring weather and application data into Salesforce.

Both Salesforce and IBM have massive customer bases that could be reached by this partnership. It's an interesting deal given IBM's historic strength in on-premises computing and Salesforce's cloud focus. Each tech titan has been focused on machine intelligence, so collaborating makes sense. 

Connecting IBM’s Watson to Salesforce will allow companies to combine public information with insights on data they control, then bring those into Salesforce to better personalize product recommendations. According to a press release, one use could be collating information about local shopping patterns from Watson with precise customer preferences from Salesforce to send targeted marketing emails.

IBM customers will be able to connect cloud and on-premises data to Salesforce using a connector for the Application Integration Suite. It’s a boon for companies that don’t want to move their data but still want to get at it within Salesforce.

In addition, companies will be able to bring weather information from IBM subsidiary The Weather Company into Salesforce using a new Lightning component. That could mean automated alerts for customers in areas about to be hit by storms.

IBM is also building out a new consulting practice within its Bluewolf subsidiary to help customers deploy the capabilities announced Monday.

Watson, weather and consulting services are expected to launch globally in the second half of this year. The Application Integration Suite connectors are slated for global availability by the end of this month. IBM and Salesforce didn’t reveal any prices for the integrations, but they plan to do so around the time the ship.

The news comes on the eve of Salesforce’s customer kickoff for its new financial year, when the company is expected to make product announcements and provide additional information about where its business is going.

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