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Microsoft partners with Adobe and c3.ai to launch Salesforce rival

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Microsoft has pledged to ‘re-invent’ customer relationship management (CRM) software after partnering with Adobe and enterprise AI company c3.ai to launch a new platform to take on the market dominance of Salesforce. 

C3 AI CRM is powered by the core functionality of Dynamics 365 and is combined with Adobe’s real-time customer profiles and journey management, as well as c3.ai’s industry-specific AI capabilities

The AI-driven CRM platform is purpose-built for specific industries and uses data from any source to produce meaningful business insights. The collective claims that conventional CRM is not sufficient for the modern age, given that AI can’t be used to analyse much of the data because they weren’t built with the appropriate architectures.

The three-way partnership represents a major challenge to Salesforce, which enjoys dominance in the CRM segment, and follows reports last week that Microsoft was making CRM a “priority”. SAP and Oracle are also big players in the CRM space, with Adobe and Microsoft following the pack with conventionally only a fraction of the market share.

“C3.ai, Microsoft, and Adobe bring together the perfect combination of technology, industry, and domain expertise to address the requirements for a new generation of CRM,” said c3.ai CEO Ed Abbo.

“Importantly, in addition to this combination of leading technologies and expertise, we share a common vision with our partners of an AI-first, industry-specific approach to delivering a new generation of AI CRM solutions.”

The announcement builds on a pre-existing partnership between the enterprise AI firm and Microsoft, with c3.ai also contributing its technology to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams earlier this year.

The three companies claim that C3 AI CRM will allow clients to better anticipate their customers’ needs and deliver more satisfying and personalised user journeys. The level of intelligence brought on by AI functionality, for example, could allow for more accurate forecasts, for example. Massive amounts of data can also be analysed to augment human agents or trigger automated processes in the CRM platform.

Microsoft claims that its technology has an expansive and unmatched footprint, combining Dynamics 365 business applications with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Power Platform, powered by Azure. Microsoft hopes that when combined with Adobe’s speciality in the digital customer experience, and the AI capabilities of c3.ai, the combined system will offer customers a powerful alternative to the biggest players. 

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