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IBM and Salesforce expand partnership to advance open, trusted AI and data ecosystems

The expanded relationship spans bidirectional data integration, flexibility in large language models (LLMs), prebuilt actions and prompts for CRM solutions, and a further commitment to responsible AI development.

IBM and Salesforce announced an expanded strategic partnership which will bring together IBM watsonx AI and Data Platform capabilities with the Salesforce Einstein 1 Platform for greater customer choice and flexibility in AI and data deployment. This will empower teams to make data-driven decisions and take actions directly in their flow of work.

The expanded relationship spans bidirectional data integration, flexibility in large language models (LLMs), prebuilt actions and prompts for CRM solutions, and a further commitment to responsible AI development.

Large language model flexibility with IBM watsonx, Granite models, and Salesforce
Organizations deploying generative AI for CRM use cases need access to LLMs that are suited to their specific business needs. Salesforce, which lets customers choose the LLMs that best suit their needs through its Bring Your Own Large Language Model strategy, plans to allow customers to integrate their LLMs with the watsonx.ai platform and Salesforce Einstein 1 Studio, a collection of low-code AI builders. This will enable access to key IBM Granite series AI models and a customer’s own LLMs built on watsonx.

IBM watsonx helps enterprises build, scale, and govern custom AI solutions with choice of AI models from different providers and the ability to tailor them with their own data. Granite is IBM’s flagship model series trained on enterprise datasets that meet rigorous criteria for data governance, document quality, due diligence, and risk and compliance. IBM Granite models are highly performant and developer-friendly with intellectual property indemnification from IBM to its customers.

Integrating IBM Granite models with the Einstein 1 Platform will empower joint customers of IBM watsonx and Salesforce to utilize Granite models, whether hosted in the cloud or on premises, for diverse use cases including industry content generation, field summarization, and classification. These targeted models are transparent, optimized for trust and designed to scale across the enterpriseIn order to help realize faster ROI of IBM Granite models for these use cases, pre-configured prompt templates and copilot actions powered by IBM data and services will be made available for Einstein 1 Studio and invocable in flow and apex.

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The Einstein 1 Platform integrates CRM applications, data from any external system with Data Cloud and AI models using a common metadata framework to power the next generation of AI solutions, including Einstein Copilot.

“Clients need enterprise-grade foundation models that are trusted, performant, and cost-effective,” said Ritika Gunnar, General Manager, Product Management, Data and AI, IBM. “Choosing the right foundation models is essential to every organization’s AI strategy and a key determinant of how quickly projects move from pilot to production. IBM and Salesforce are working together to make it easier to navigate the complex generative AI landscape by helping clients select the right LLM for their business needs.”

Industry-specific IBM prompts and actions for Einstein Copilot and Copilot Studio
Together with IBM Consulting and their strong industry expertise, IBM is creating powerful, industry-specific prompt templates and copilot actions which are expected to be made available in Einstein 1 Studio later this year. Using the AI builders in Einstein 1 Studio, Salesforce customers will be able to access these pre-built actions and prompts across Salesforce applications, including Einstein Copilot, Salesforce’s conversational AI assistant for CRM.

Beginning with public sector use cases such as government contact centers, eligibility determination, and licensing and permitting, these pre-configured prompt templates are being designed to be optimized for both foundation and Granite models to help automotive, energy and utilities, financial services and public sector users connect with their constituents on a new level.     

IBM Consulting is already helping joint customers establish sustainable, responsible AI frameworks to scale AI-driven Salesforce CRM initiatives across the enterprise, accelerating time to value while helping mitigate risk.

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IBM and Salesforce to enable bidirectional data integration between IBM watsonx and Salesforce Data Cloud
IBM has joined the Salesforce Zero Copy Partner Network, a global ecosystem of technology and solution providers building secure, bidirectional zero copy integrations with Salesforce Data Cloud so data can be actioned across the Salesforce Einstein 1 Platform. Customers will be able to access their IBM data via watsonx.data from within Salesforce Data Cloud in a zero copy pattern, simplifying security management and minimizing security risks when exposing data to the business.

Zero copy enables businesses to keep their data in its original location while accessing external data from Salesforce Data Cloud to create a comprehensive view of the customer. This reduces the need for companies to rely on custom integrations and complex data pipelines to integrate and move data to Salesforce from external data warehouses and vice versa. This approach helps customers maximize their technology investments in IBM and access historical data, ensuring it remains integrated and accessible to power analytics and Generative AI. For example, a Data Cloud-triggered Flow updates an account manager in Slack when shipments are marked as delayed in an external lake, enabling them to immediately engage their client.

“Salesforce and IBM are well positioned to make it easier for customers to get the most value from their data — no matter where it resides — and establish a foundation for customer engagement and trusted AI,” said Rahul Auradkar, EVP & GM, Unified Data Services & Einstein, Salesforce. “With the addition of bidirectional data integration, companies can harmonize all of their data faster, fueling actionable insights that empower teams to make data-driven decisions and deliver amazing integrated experiences across all touchpoints and channels for every customer interaction.”

Salesforce joins the AI Alliance, bolsters commitment to open and trusted AI development
Salesforce has joined the AI Alliance and in doing so, will support its mission to create a world where AI is developed collaboratively and transparently, with a focus on safety, ethics, and the greater good. The AI Alliance is an international community of more than 100 leading organizations across industry, startup, academia, research, and government collaborating together to advance open, safe, and responsible AI. By advocating for open innovation with leaders across industry and government, the AI Alliance seeks to foster an environment where AI can thrive and benefit people and society everywhere.

IBM Granite is expected to be available in Salesforce early next year. For more information on IBM Granite, please visit this page.

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