Jeffrey M. Kaplan, Managing Director THINKstrategies
This year’s Dreamforce conference was bigger than ever as Salesforce.com painted an even broader vision of a connected world enabled by cloud-based platforms and powerful analytics-driven solutions. The company also took the time to showcase how its rapidly growing ecosystem of third-party relationships is helping to accelerate the migration to cloud alternatives.
The official kickoff of Dreamforce on Tuesday was preceded by a Partner Summit on Monday, which brought together many of Salesforce.com’s independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators (SIs), value-added resellers (VARs) and other key partners to recap their mutual achievements over the past year and preview the key initiatives going forward.
Salesforce.com’s alliances and channels executives reported that its AppExchange ISV Partners have experienced 42 percent year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth, fueled by a 65 percent jump in orders over the past year. There was also an 82 percent rise in joint deals with Salesforce.com’s SI partners. The executives acknowledged that the substantial growth in partner sales has been a major contributor to Salesforce.com’s own revenue rise of 38 percent during the last 12 months.
Anyone who has attended Dreamforce or paid attention to Salesforce.com’s rapid expansion might take these numbers for granted. This year’s Dreamforce AppExchange Expo filled multiple areas of the Moscone Center and was packed with attendees from start to finish. However, it wasn’t too long ago that many Salesforce.com partners were unhappy with the company’s partner programs, which put more emphasis on transactional referral fees than collaborative go-to-market strategies. Today, most the partners I met in the Expo were astonished with the quantity of qualified leads visiting their booths and the new sales opportunities created by Salesforce.com’s various initiatives.
There was still some apprehension among Salesforce.com’s partners focused on analytics and business intelligence (BI) about how the new Analytics Cloud would impact them. And numerous people pointed out the intentional absence of the major marketing automation vendors that were displaced by Salesforce.com’s acquisition of ExactTarget and the launch of the Marketing Cloud.
Nonetheless, the power of the partner ecosystem was still on display during Dreamforce. It extended from the AppExchange Expo to the Developer Expo and Industry Solutions showcase. Big-name partners gave their usual endorsements during the keynote sessions, but partners of all sizes and shapes were also heavily represented in the breakout sessions.
Salesforce’s new “Wear” division focused on wearables and the brave, new world of the Internet of Things (IoT) was also partner centric with companies ranging from Accenture to 2lemetry, Alpine Metrics and Proximity Insight showing how they are working together to pioneer new technologies, applications and solutions.
The collaborative energy of the Salesforce.com partner ecosystem is now being extended into a new segment of the marketplace. Innovative enterprises like GE, Coca Cola, Honeywell and others are recognizing they must become software vendors with their own solutions to keep pace with their customers’, employees’ and partners’ needs.
Creating a partner-centric go-to-market strategy is creating new business opportunities that everyone in the Salesforce.com ecosystem can exploit. It’s no wonder that Dreamforce was another lovefest for the cloud industry.
Disclosure: Salesforce.com paid for my travel expenses to Dreamforce and is a sponsor of THINKstrategies’ 4th annual Cloud Channel Summit.