Dreamforce: Salesforce To Arm Partners With Social Enterprise Bundle, New Cert, $50 Million Investment

More than 2,000 Salesforce partners got an early look at some of the tricks Salesforce has up its sleeve for Dreamforce 2011 Tuesday with an early glimpse into new licensing models, certifications and major investments all geared toward helping partners drive revenue via the "social enterprise."

At the partner welcome keynote presentation, Salesforce's top channel executives broke down what partners can expect in the coming year and how they can leverage Salesforce's immense growth to drive revenue and margin.

Salesforce Executive Vice President of Platform, Marketing and Operations George Hu said that Salesforce's partner-led deals have increased 45 percent year over year, while partner certifications have increased 67 percent; new applications have increased 208 percent and ISV orders have risen 210 percent. And that number continues to grow as the company enters into "the second act of Salesforce.com," Hu said.

"We want you to come along for the ride," Hu said.

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Among the new opportunities Salesforce will offer its partners is a Social Enterprise License agreement, which will enable partners to offer every product for every employee and unlimited usage of Salesforce products for a predictable cost. The agreement draws from Dreamforce 2011's theme of the social enterprise, which is the convergence of social, mobile and open cloud technologies to transform businesses.

While Hu couldn't say exactly what the bundle will cost, he said the price will depend on customer size and customers will receive a fixed price with unlimited access to services for a certain period of time. Hu said Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff will provide more details on the Social Enterprise License agreement throughout Dreamforce.

Hu added that Salesforce is also brewing up new partner programs around Salesforce's acquisition last year of Heroku, a Ruby-based development platform, though specific details have not yet been revealed.

For Salesforce consulting partners, the company is enabling the ability for consultants to offer an end-to-end cloud story that marries Heroku, Jigsaw, Database.com, Salesforce chatter and Radian6, which Salesforce acquired this year and is working on deeply integrating into its core platforms.

"We have the ability to deliver end-to-end solutions for customers," said Denzel Samuels, vice president of partners and solutions. Samuels added that with the changing landscape, partners become more important to their clients as they deliver the full cloud and social story. "The need for partners to step it up becomes more intense," he said.

To help partners better capture the evolving market, Salesforce launched a new partner certification program, the Technical Architect Certification Program, to certify partners that are at the top of their game and can architect a full social enterprise ecosystem.

"We have to raise the standard … our customers need to know that you know the products," Samuels said.

Next: Salesforce Pledges $50 Million For Partner Growth

And as Salesforce continues to grow, the company is looking to expand its partner base into new territories while also helping existing partners bulk up. To do so, the company has pledged a $50 million investment program for consulting partners worldwide. The investments will fuel growth and help partners expand their practices around Salesforce while also removing some of the financial burden of rapid growth. The goal of the investment, he said, is to help build practices, scale and grow.

Meanwhile, Salesforce's ISV channel also continues to experience massive growth, said Ron Huddleston, vice president of ISV and channel partners. Salesforce's OEM partners have increased 97 percent year over year, while ISV revenue is up 90 percent. And app installs on AppExchange are up 51 percent, with no sign of slowing down.

"AppExchange this year will be the first enterprise cloud marketplace to reach 1 million installs," he said. And with the launch of Mobile AppExchange, that is expected to continue to grow as more users, more engagements and increased distribution are achieved.

"Salesforce and our platform let you build apps that work the way people expect apps to work," he said, adding that ISVs creating apps completes the social enterprise picture.

Salesforce and its partners are also seeing increased traction in platforms like Force.com, Database.com and Heroku, creating new opportunities for partners on the platform side, said Byron Sebastian, Salesforce Platform general manager. Sebastian said Salesforce has increased its platform investment by 40 percent year over year and partners now have more platforms to choose from.

The goal, Huddleston said, is to enable Salesforce and its partners to sell together and create the social enterprise and Salesforce partners are having a "significant, material impact" on Salesforce's overall business.