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What The IBM-Salesforce Strategic Partnership Means For Business And AI

17/03/2017 15:17 GMT | Updated 17/03/2017 15:17 GMT

This week's announcement of the global strategic partnership between IBM and Salesforce is a clear signal that Augmented Intelligence (AI) is becoming the market differentiator to transform business. And from our vantage point as Salesforce's longest-standing strategic consulting partner, the innovation happening in customer experience and inside of the Salesforce ecosystem is being led by AI, and it's happening now.

It's time for the creative disruption of legacy systems to align with the next phase of computing: adding intelligence into customer and employee-facing applications, like Salesforce, to enable companies to unlock and monetize data.

Bluewolf sits in the catbird seat, the most unique position to create deeper and more meaningful customer relationships through AI. I worked alongside Marc Benioff at Oracle before Salesforce was even a concept, and today it's the world's #1 CRM. He summed up our collective thoughts perfectly during this week's IBM investor call: "I reiterated just how excited I am about this incredible partnership and how, now, we can do things that we have only been dreaming about. I have never been more excited about IBM and Watson. I have never been more excited about Salesforce."

Imagine the possibilities across every industry. Insurance, for example--a company can pull local forecast data into Salesforce via the Weather Channel, and automatically send safety and policy information to customers who are at risk of being impacted by severe weather events.

We are living in an age where customers demand experiences that are simple and personal like this, and any industry can be disrupted. Data is your customer, and yet 80% of companies' data is untouched. Without a way to access their data and related insights, companies are missing critical opportunities to understand and connect with their customers.

Your data strategy is your business strategy, and with the power of AI, you can get closer to your customers at every stage of their journey. Companies that have increased their investments in analytics in the past 12 months are 3x more likely to see their data as a competitive advantage than those that have stayed the same or decreased investments, and they are the ones poised to reap the biggest benefits from AI. What's at stake is the ultimate competitive advantage.

AI adoption and investment are set to increase at an incredible pace. In the next three years, insights-driven businesses will steal $1.2 trillion annually from their less-informed peers. I've never encountered anyone who would willingly give up their share of the pie, let alone one worth that much. The sticking point for most organizations around AI is that they don't have a firm grasp of the specific benefits for their customers and operations, or a clear path for execution.

The first step in realizing AI's potential is recognizing that technology is just an enabler. You need a partner who can help you quickly achieve a return on innovation and understand how to apply the power of AI. With an expanding portfolio of Salesforce and Watson projects and expertise, Bluewolf has formed a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy Watson and Einstein's combined AI capabilities, and we're developing new industry-specific accelerators for clients to quickly adopt intelligent solutions. We are the partner that can deliver the strategy and execution to make AI a reality for companies of any size.