Salesforce's Benioff Touts Microsoft, Cisco Partnerships As Path To Success In Internet Of Things, now 16 years old, is asking for the keys. Not the keys to the family car, but to a greater role in the operations of its enterprise vendor partners.

At Salesforce's Dreamforce conference Wednesday, CEO Marc Benioff talked about how his company is working with Microsoft and Cisco Systems to help customers gain insight from data that's being generated by devices, apps, sensors, websites, social media and other sources in the so-called Internet of Things.

While Microsoft was rumored to have made a blockbuster $55 billion bid to acquire Salesforce earlier this year, that hasn't materialized. Now, Microsoft has signed on as an early customer for Salesforce IoT Cloud, a new service slated for launch next year that's designed to help customers get value from these massive streams of data.

Benioff said Microsoft is using Salesforce's IoT Cloud in conjunction with Azure Event Hubs, a cloud big data service that processes data streams from websites, apps and devices, to keep track of Office 365 event data.

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[Related: Salesforce Offers Sneak Peek At Its Internet-Of-Things Service, Which Is Coming Next Year]

Salesforce takes the Office 365 data, applies its own rules engine to determine how it should be used, and then connects it to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, said Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris, who joined Benioff on stage during the keynote.

Salesforce IoT Cloud can capture data from billions of Office 365 usage events that happen every day, and use it to address business opportunities, Harris said. For example, if a user signs up for Office 365 and hasn't downloaded Salesforce apps, Salesforce's Marketing Cloud can send an email reminder, he said.

Meanwhile, Cisco is also using Salesforce's IoT Cloud to monitor event data generated by its networking hardware. Benioff, who was joined on stage by Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, explained how the combination of the two can help detect potential hardware problems before they happen.

While Cisco is already heavily focused on the Internet of Things, Robbins said Salesforce's IoT Cloud can help gain additional insights about its customers' environments.

"We can feed analytics in, and correlate it, and dynamically change the infrastructure based on what our customers are doing," Robbins said in the keynote.

Michael Porter, principal of the portal and social practice at Perficient, a St. Louis-based Salesforce partner, told CRN he thinks the partnerships with Microsoft and Cisco make sense because they're focused on areas in which each vendor's IoT plans don't overlap.

"Microsoft uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud because they don’t have a corresponding project. It makes sense for them to use IoT Cloud as well, because it's closely integrated with Marketing Cloud," Porter said.

"The same holds for Cisco, which is a big user of [Salesforce's] Sales and Service clouds. It makes huge business sense to use IoT because of the economies of scale gained by easy sharing of information," added Porter.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in a separate keynote at Dreamforce, talked about the market opportunity that exists for developers around Windows 10 and its other software platforms.

Strategic partnerships like the one Microsoft and Salesforce formed last May are key to maximizing this opportunity because customers are increasingly using a mix of technology from multiple vendors, according to Nadella.

"Third-party developers care about the ability to reach vast numbers of users," said Nadella.

Salesforce and Microsoft said Tuesday that they're continuing to deepen their strategic partnership in CRM and business productivity software.

Salesforce is working on integrating its software with Microsoft's Office Delve technology, which connects users with like-minded interests within an organization based on the data they access and their social media activity. The goal is for Office 365 users to be able to work with Salesforce sales opportunities, customer accounts and service cases, Microsoft said in a press release.

Salesforce, San Francisco, is integrating Microsoft's Skype for Business and OneNote apps into Lightning Experience, its newly redesigned CRM interface. Salesforce is also working on a new Windows 10 version of its mobile app.

All of these Salesforce-Microsoft integrations are slated for availability in the second half of next year.

Salesforce is hoping its Microsoft and Cisco partnerships can help bring more users onto its cloud, which handled 234 billion transactions in the second calendar quarter of 2015, up 79 percent year over year, Benioff said in the keynote.

Benioff said Salesforce is on track to be the world's fourth largest software vendor in 2016, trailing only Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. If more enterprise vendors see the benefits of tapping into Salesforce's cloud expertise, the SaaS vendor is likely to continue climbing the ranks.