By Diane Krakora, CEO
Although Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff did not even make a cameo appearance at the Dreamforce partner day and only said the word “partner” about a dozen times in three days, he is still commiting resources to partner growth. For the first time ever, both channels and alliances will roll up to the same person, Tyler Prince. Prince joined Salesforce.com as EVP of Worldwide Alliance and Channels, after a brief ten-month stint back at PwC. However, Prince is best known for his eight years as group Vice President of North America Channels and Alliances at Oracle – another company not exactly “partner centric.” Prince has about 250 people in his organization and six SVPs reporting to him – for alliances, programs, partner management, partner growth, ISVs and industries.
The two main threads communicated by Prince’s organization throughout the event align with the key findings from our New Enablement report: solutions and services.
The AppExchange is the vehicle driving the solutions message. The AppExchange was launched in 2005 and is Salesforce.com's cloud computing marketplace through which end users can access, download and install software apps. There are over 2,000 applications listed on the AppExchange, with 400 of them added just in 2013. This year, the AppExchange produced and estimated $1b in revenue for ISV’s listed there. Salesforce.com continues to promote the AppExchange as THE way for ISVs to build solutions around its application. In 2014, they’re adding technical enablement, sales and technical education, co-marketing events, solution mapping and industry specialists to the AppExchange program – hoping to engage even more ISVs into the ecosystem.
Regarding services, the focus on industry verticals extends beyond the well-promoted AppExchange into Salesforce.com’s Cloud Alliance Partner Program (which is actually for SI channels). For 2014, 65 go-to-market experts will be deployed into the field to work with partners to deploy services in vertical industries. Catching up with IT channels’ industry move toward specializations over the past decade, Salesforce.com is launching a Masters Program – recognizing partner services expertise by product (sales cloud, services cloud and Salesforce.com platform) and industry (financial, health care, communications/media and retail/consumer).
Although there weren’t any innovative announcements for the IT partnering world, it’s exciting to see Salesforce.com adding resources and focus to partners. Many cloud vendors look to Salesforce.com as an example for success with cloud and it’s heartening to see Salesforce.com recognize that partners play a significant role in creating solutions and services – enhancing customer success and satisfaction. The next step in Salesforce.com’s partnering evolution is to develop some innovative ideas for engaging and empowering partners in the cloud. Short on ideas? Just ask us.