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Salesforce Channel Boss Talks Partner Enablement, Program Expansion

Q&A
Channel Partners' Lynn Haber

Lynn Haber

SALESFORCE DREAMFORCE — The Salesforce partner channel is growing rapidly and the company sees room for another 250,000 skilled resources. It counts about 18,000 partner attendees – made up of ISVs, consultants and system integrators – at this year’s Dreamforce event, which wraps up Thursday in San Francisco. Overall attendance? a whopping 171,000.

We caught up with Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, senior vice president, partner and industry innovation, to talk about the partner landscape at Salesforce, its channel program, and how the company caters to its two distinct partner types and brings in new partners.

Channel Partners: Tell us how a single Salesforce partner program caters to two distinct partner types.

Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh: We have one partner program called the Salesforce Partner Program, but the features and what each partner type desires and needs is a bit different.

Salesforce's Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh

Salesforce’s Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh

When we look at our partner types, we have ISVs and consulting partners, sometimes called SIs (system integrators). But when you think about that spectrum of ISVs putting apps on the AppExchange, thinking about it as 100 percent of IP (intellectual property) and content, and then you go to the other end of the spectrum, where you have a consulting partner and you can say at the very extreme there’s zero IP — they give you a custom statement of work and you, our client, exactly what you want, tailored to your needs.

So that’s the spectrum, and what we’re finding is that instead of zero and one, there [are] a lot of steps in between now. A lot of consulting companies, due to economics, find that if they do the same things a few times, they develop IP, as in a methodology, a process, and it may not turn all the way into a full-blown app that can be put on the AppExchange — but we found other ways to package solutions that are built upon our clouds. We talked about it in the keynote, something called Lightning Bolts.

If I’m a consulting partner, I can take my Bolt and put it in the Bolt store available on the AppExchange, but also, if I sit down with a client in financial services, I could show them the Bolt – for Wealth Manager Engagement, for example – and maybe that could be 50 percent of what the client needs, and you build on from there.

Bolts are a foundational set of reusable IP that can be repackaged in different ways across a broad spectrum. That repackaging is something that our ISV partners are used to because they think of things in terms of product. Our consulting partners aren’t quite there; some of them are – such as our biggest consulting partner Accenture, [it’s] also an ISV – but our partners can work in any way they chose to.

This has been a change for us, coming from having two partner types and thinking that one needs this and the other needs that — and now we find there’s a blurring. We’re finding now that a straight ISV wants to …

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