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Salesforce (CRM) to Buy AI Customer Service Startup Airkit.ai

Salesforce CRM recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Airkit.ai, a startup that develops AI-powered customer service applications. However, the company didn’t disclose the financial terms of the agreement but expects to close the transaction during the second half of fiscal 2024.

Founded in 2017, Airkit.ai is a low-code platform that helps e-commerce companies build AI-powered customer engagement applications that can be deployed across multiple channels, including web, mobile and messaging apps.

Upon the completion of the acquisition, Airkit.ai will become part of the Salesforce Service Cloud and continue to be headed by the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Adam Evans. Combining Airkit.ai’s conversational AI capabilities with its Service Cloud, Salesforce will be able to offer enterprises smarter, more personalized and more efficient tools for engaging with their customers.

The cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software provider’s sustained focus on acquisitions and partnerships is helping it enhance its product offerings and expand across newer markets. The buyouts of Slack, Tableau, ClickSoftware, Mulesoft, Datorama and CloudCraze over the last couple of years have been beneficial for the company.

Salesforce Inc. Price and Consensus

Salesforce Inc. price-consensus-chart | Salesforce Inc. Quote

Salesforce Bets on Generative AI for Long-Term Growth

Salesforce is currently focusing on incorporating generative AI tools across its products as it looks to keep its business ahead of rivals. Generative AI is a type of AI technology that can produce various types of content, including text, imagery, audio and synthetic data. It is driven by a large language model (LLM), which means it uses a lot of data to understand and generate conversations.

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The company forayed into the generative AI space with the launch of Einstein GPT in March 2023. Einstein GPT is the world’s first generative AI CRM technology, which delivers AI-created content across every sales, service, marketing, commerce and IT interaction at hyperscale. With Einstein GPT, the company will transform customer experience with generative AI.

Upping its ante in the space, CRM launched its AI Cloud service in June 2023, which the company claims is a one-stop AI-powered solution for enterprises looking to enhance productivity. Salesforce stated that its AI Cloud is a suite of services that delivers enterprise-ready real-time, open and secure generative experiences across all applications and workflows. The suite will power new capabilities across CRM’s products, including Einstein service, data analysis software Tableau and workplace-messaging app, Slack.

Along with the launch of AI Cloud, the company also raised its venture capital fund for generative AI to $500 million from $250 million announced in March 2023. With this enhanced fund, Salesforce Ventures, the company’s global investment arm, will support the generative AI ecosystem and promote the development of responsible and trusted technology.

Other Companies Integrating Generative AI

Generative AI technology is finding applications in marketing, advertising, drug development, legal contracts, video gaming, customer support and digital art. This has sparked AI competition among the world’s biggest tech players, including Intuit INTU, ServiceNow NOW and Adobe ADBE.

In June 2023, Intuit expanded its platform architecture with the introduction of a proprietary generative AI operating system — GenOS. This will enable the company to design, build and deploy breakthrough generative AI experiences for millions of customers, including small businesses. It will also help customers solve their financial challenges.

Intuit GenOS features custom-trained financial LLMs that specialize in solving tax, accounting, marketing, cash flow and personal finance challenges. The LLMs, combined with the company’s network of domain experts and data protection controls, intend to provide actionable insights and invoke actions like contacting human experts.

Earlier this year, ServiceNow launched generative AI capabilities — ServiceNow Generative AI Controller and Now Assist for Search — for the Now platform that helps deliver faster and more intelligent workflow automation.

The digital media solutions provider, Adobe, aggressively expanded its footprint in the generative AI space through partnerships and new solutions. Adobe has unveiled a family of generative AI models, Firefly, focused on the generation of texts and images. Per the company, Firefly will offer more precision, speed, power and ease in content creation. It will let users of various experience levels create high-quality images and stunning text effects.

At present, Salesforce, Intuit, ServiceNow and Adobe each carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Shares of CRM, INTU, NOW and ADBE have rallied 57.3%, 29.5%, 41.5% and 52.7%, respectively, year to date. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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