By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq.
We were pleased to recently attend the Salesforce World Tour in London and Boston, where we listened to speeches from Salesforce President, Keith Block, along with senior members of IBM Watson and Amazon Web Services. These talks focused on the transformation of customer experience as part of the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’. This revolution is being characterized by the convergence of cloud, social, mobile and technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
This trend is notably being observed through the development of eCommerce and smart devices, which now utilize predictive marketing and advanced data analytics. This technology is expected to become increasingly sophisticated with the rapid advances in AI.
Percentage of surveyed companies using or planning to use AI in the following ways
Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson
IBM’s acquisition of Salesforce partner Bluewolf was highlighted as a key precedent deal for 2016 in our latest IT Services M&A report. The acquisition developed a partnership between IBM and Salesforce, which was used as a platform for their recently announced AI partnership.
Salesforce builds its AI capability under the brand Einstein and IBM develops its AI technology under Watson. Einstein is designed to understand specific data collected by Salesforce’s customers. Watson is focused on interpreting uncategorized information from publicly available sources, as well as IBM purchased data sources, including text from research papers or social media feeds. The combination will help Watson associate predictions about local buying patterns with Einstein’s customer-specific data about purchasing preferences to enable targeted marketing campaigns.
Other notable Artificial Intelligence investments
There are large investments in AI being made by financial investors and corporates across industries. According to recent data from CB Insights, 34 AI startups were acquired in Q1 of this year, over twice the amount in Q1 2016. Google, Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Salesforce are amongst the most active buyers in the industry.
Microsoft has been developing its AI capabilities for some time and recently unveiled its new cloud service called Azure IoT Edge, which provides machine learning, AI and advanced data analytics via the cloud. Microsoft partnered with GE last year, which made GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet available on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses.
Oracle recently debuted Oracle Adaptive Intelligent apps for CX. This is the first application of a planned portfolio of AI apps across customer experience, ERP, HCM, and supply chain management.
How will Artificial Intelligence impact the consulting industry?
We will be exploring these cognitive computing developments and how they will transform the consulting industry in a future Equiteq Edge article. Make sure you don’t miss out on our AI insight by registering here for Equiteq Edge, our free knowledge tool for owners of consulting firms, IT services firms and agencies.
If you would like to discuss these trends further in the context of your own growth plans or sale considerations, please get in touch.