Computer software giants Salesforce.com (CRM) and Microsoft (MSFT) are top software picks to prosper from artificial intelligence - along with a much smaller company, Hortonworks (HDP) - according to one Wall Street brokerage.
"Microsoft is positioned to be the biggest beneficiary to AI in our coverage due to its cloud-computing infrastructure (Azure)," Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow said in a note to clients. "Salesforce.com is still in the early stages of rolling out Einstein across its entire product portfolio. Hortonworks, along with its partnership with IBM (IBM), gives customers a path to manage and analyze Big Data."
At a basic level, artificial intelligence is the use of computer algorithms to attempt to replicate the human ability to learn, reason and make decisions.
Hortonworks is a developer of Hadoop open-source software, which companies can use for "Big Data" analytics. The Barclays analyst noted that IBM no longer offers their own Hadoop solution, while Hortonworks' provides software for AI algorithms to learn from data.
Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google, Amazon.com (AMZN), IBM and Microsoft (MSFT) are pushing into AI-as-a-service. They plan to rent AI tools to customers on a pay-as-you-go basis via their public cloud-computing services.
Salesforce.com introduced its "Einstein" AI cloud platform in September 2016. Einstein tools identify and prioritize sales leads and recommend products and pricing options, making it easier for sales reps to convert leads to sales.
"Software vendors can benefit through the addition of AI modules to an existing product," added Lenschow. Salesforce's Einstein is a good example here. AI functionality could also add a new layer of differentiation to an existing product. Splunk's (SPLK) approach demonstrates this."