Partners Cheer Salesforce Acquisition Of Demandware As Key For Tapping Into Booming Digital Commerce Market

Channel partners are cheering Salesforce's $2.8 billion acquisition of digital commerce company Demandware, saying the deal will help partners tap into the booming e-commerce business and offer a more holistic platform.

"I think this is a definite win for Salesforce… they are now continuing to integrate Demandware's terrific products into their own core services to become more of a platform," said Scott Zelinski, managing director and leader of the Salesforce practice at Sonoma Partners, a Chicago-based Salesforce partner. "As a partner, this acquisition helps us when we are consulting with our clients to present a better solution to them as opposed to just applications."

Salesforce, the San Francisco-based cloud powerhouse, announced on Tuesday that it would acquire Demandware, based in Burlington, Mass., to create a new product line for a new business division: the Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

[Related: Salesforce To Acquire Digital Commerce Provider Demandware For $2.8B]

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According to Salesforce, which currently offers software enabling salespeople to keep track of their customers, the Commerce Cloud will be an important part of its Customer Success Platform and create opportunities for companies to connect with customers in new ways.

Solution providers, for their part, say the deal helps Salesforce and its partners tap into the e-commerce space, which has been growing rapidly as retailers continue to expand their online presence.

Dinesh Desai, chairman and CEO of Emtec, a Radnor, Pa.-based Salesforce partner, applauded the acquisition, saying his company has been evaluating e-commerce platforms to round out its front-end digital transformation strategy.

"We've been waiting for this as the next logical step for Salesforce to acquire a digital commerce company," he said. "They're the leading player in CRM and cloud services, but this has been a hole in their portfolio. This will add to Salesforce's front-end digital transformation capabilities."

Salesforce is setting itself up to capture what the company calls a "multibillion-dollar digital commerce market." According to market research firm Gartner, global spending on digital commerce platforms is expected to grow over 14 percent year over year, and reach around $8.5 billion by 2020.

"This is actually one of those acquisitions that just makes perfect sense, filling a gap in the Salesforce offerings in a huge way," said Douglas Grosfield, founder and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a Kitchener, Ontario-based strategic service provider. "Digital commerce is, and always has been, one of the most successful monetization exercises over the history of the Internet. Bringing sophisticated e-commerce capabilities to organizations that may not have deep enough pockets to build their own solutions is an area that Salesforce can now capitalize upon."

Grosfield, whose business works with its client base to ensure their cybersecurity strategies, including protection and compliance technologies, said digital commerce is a critical space for strategic service providers to focus on.

"Financial transactions and the associated customer data are areas of pivotal import, so digital commerce is a space where solution service providers must ensure our clients' needs are met," he said. "Working with organizations like Salesforce makes that a bit easier, with their focus on secure platforms."