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Keynote Q&A: Salesforce on Opportunities with IBM Watson

Salesforce and IBM recently announced a partnership in which Salesforce will embed Watson deep into their cloud. During a joint IBM Interconnect and IBM Amplify keynote, Ginni Rometty, Chairman and CEO of IBM, chatted with Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, on what it means for both companies moving forward.

Ginni: Together, IBM and Salesforce share 5,000 clients. Tell everybody what you and I announced.

Marc: Thanks for having me and for supporting Salesforce. The history of IBM is built on trust. The principles you continue to lead with are great. I’m excited about the company Bluewolf you bought.  It’s an incredible technology.  He had a huge vision to create a company to get them on the cloud and do it with the right set of values.  That opened a door for IBM and Salesforce.  Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson coming together to offer some incredible value.

Ginni: You have all this data. IBM has a huge amount of data including the weather company. Tell us about the possibilities.

Marc: Last week we had a huge hail storm. Salesforce manages customer info for the five largest insurance companies i the world.  Wouldn’t it be great for them to know that their customers ought to put their car in the garage

Ginni: Now Watson marries with Einstein because Watson knows domains.

Marc: Every elevator with a major elevator company has sensors and can now use the Watson analytics to predict failure rates. CRM can use that data to act on it.

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Ginni: I didn’t know how much you can predict on social behavior just seeing what’s happening with an elevator.

Marc: Take American Express, they are doing a lot of great things for small business. That means that we have another opportunity to provide them with tremendous insight.

Ginni: You do believe the world does become cognitive.

Marc: When you look at machine learning, deep learning, etc., there is an acceleration occurring. A lot of change is coming. My greatest surprise is the speed. I just saw last week where someone put a camera in a grocery store and they were able to identify inventory in real time. This was all done with deep learning technology. I don’t think we understand where we will be in 5 years.

Ginni: We share some values like trust. These technologies will impact trust and jobs but they will solve many more problems. This will drive a new skill set. On the trust side, IBM put forward a paper on trust and transparency principals. This is man and machine. The purpose is to be in service to mankind. You have to be transparent.  With skills, it’s new collar jobs.

Marc: Thanks for what you are doing with 6 year high schools.  Technology is never good or bad. It’s what you do with it.  All tech companies operate with different sets of values. These 100 high schools and 40,000 kids are adding incredible value to our society. We are in the age of quality. (noted gender pay, lgbt, etc.) Education is equality. We have to make sure our kids have this tremendous foundation. We need to take a moonshot. We can retrain people. I want to take a 5 million person apprenticeship moonshot.

Ginni: This is the year AI has gone mainstream. What do you think the early adopters will do?

Marc: We’ve rolled Einstein out to all of our customers worldwide.  Sales has the ability to have much better prioritized lists on who to call, what to fix.  That will change quickly with commerce and marketing. We will go next to guiding and supporting those professionals. You will be better because of that guidance.

Ginni: It’s man and machine together.

Marc: We are in the fourth industrial revolution.  It’s AI, Crispr and gene drives, etc.

Ginni: It is about all of us together ushering these technologies in correctly.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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