Amid ongoing concerns about the economy, at least one industry leader has posted Q3 gains. Salesforce.com announced last week that its Q3 revenue rose 35%, and that it expects a $4 billion run rate in fiscal 2014. Good news, right?
Yes, but for more reasons that simply the economy. I think that hidden in those profits is a bigger opportunity for traditional channel companies. Salesforce.com has made a clear change in direction over the last few months, partnering with Ingram Micro to expand its reach to include VARs and MSPs in the channel. That partnership is expected to extend its focus past Saleforce.com’s typical ISV partner of the past few years. The reason, says Salesforce.com, is social enterprise, its take on the meeting of cloud and social media and enterprise application needs.
For many channel solution providers, offering unique and custom application development has not been a priority, but from Gartner to Ingram Micro to vendors such as Salesforce.com – the message in late 2012 has been clear: be ready to pair software development with cloud to truly take advantage of the opportunity associated with cloud services offerings.
I find it interesting how few IT businesses have those skill sets in-house, and I also wonder how partnerships with ISVs that traditionally handle those projects will evolve as channel leaders such as Ingram Micro work with those vendors such as Salesforce.com to mature the way businesses large and small approach cloud.