Salesforce Melds Artificial-Intelligence System Into Software

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Salesforce Melds Artificial-Intelligence System Into Software

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Evans said he spends about 70 percent of his time working with Salesforce executives, planning products and the integration of his technology with theirs, and 30 percent on RelateIQ’s own products.

Salesforce Melds Artificial-Intelligence System Into Software

Salesforce.com Inc. has started working to integrate artificial-intelligence technology from acquisition RelateIQ Inc. into its software, seeking to add predictive capabilities that will help it compete with younger startups.

Salesforce, the biggest maker of customer-relationship management programs, bought RelateIQ last year for $390 million to gain systems that use artificial intelligence to sort data. Since then, RelateIQ Chief Technology Officer Adam Evans has been working with Salesforce executives, including founders Marc Benioff and Parker Harris, to make it possible for other Salesforce units to tap into his company’s capabilities.

“We’re trying to bring this in almost as a service,” Evans said in an interview. “A lot of it is about connecting data back and forth.”

RelateIQ uses a crude AI technology called machine learning to automatically pull and summarize information from a team’s contact books and e-mail accounts to make it simpler to communicate with potential customers.

Evans said he spends about 70 percent of his time working with Salesforce executives, planning products and the integration of his technology with theirs, and 30 percent on RelateIQ’s own products.

As part of Salesforce, RelateIQ will continue to produce a stand-alone product, though it will also let other Salesforce businesses reach into its systems and gain some of its abilities, Evans said. Two weeks ago, teams from Salesforce’s Sales Cloud division spent a day meeting with the RelateIQ team to talk about how they can work together, and engineers inspected their different organizations’ code to look for potential areas where they could mesh, he said.

Evans wasn’t willing to share details on when these projects may turn into products, and Jane Hynes, a spokeswoman at Salesforce, declined to give further details.

Salesforce’s new products including the AI technology will compete with software fielded by a number of small, closely held startups, such as Infer Inc. and Clari Inc.

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