Salesforce.com is throwing money at its partners in the hopes of building up the number of skilled consultants that can drive the growth of the "social enterprise" products that the company is focussing on.
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet Australia)
"This Dreamforce is all about the social enterprise," Salesforce senior vice president worldwide partners and solutions Denzil Samuels said in the partner keynote this morning at Dreamforce.
He said that over the last year, the landscape for consultants had changed completely, with work no longer mainly consisting of sales force automation implementations.
"The landscape's changed. There's complexity," he said. "The need for the partners has become intense."
Yet, certifications are important to Salesforce, he said, because customers had to know that partners understood the Salesforce products. Salesforce had felt the need to raise the standard, so has introduced a new certification program.
"Today, we are launching a brand new certification program — the technical architect certification program. Some of you have helped us build that program," he said.
A number of firms have already achieved certification, with New Zealand firm Davanti Consulting helping four partners towards that goal.
"But ladies and gentleman, there is a gap," Samuels said. Based on the revenue that Salesforce expected to see in the next six months, he said that Salesforce would be short by 2000 certified consultants in North America, but would also be short by 700 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and short 150 in Asia Pacific.
"If you are a consulting company with five to 10 people, how do we get you to 50? We can help you with that. If you are an established regional systems integrator [RSI], how do we make you a global systems integrator [GSI]?"
The company wanted to do something concrete to help this happen.
"We have a US$50 million investment program for consulting partners, and we're going to be implementing that worldwide," he said.
He said that the program would be used to grow existing partners, moving GSI practices to Salesforce, helping RSIs to become GSIs and fostering emerging partners in emerging countries.
The program is already available in the UK, the US and Japan, but the plan is to extend it everywhere, he said. There is information on the partner portal about the program, he said, where partners could also apply.
Suzanne Tindal travelled to Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.