Salesforce And Google Forge Strategic 'Preferred' Partnership

Salesforce and Google locked arms tighter Monday with a new strategic partnership through which the CRM giant is naming Google Cloud Platform, a "preferred cloud provider," and Google is reciprocating by selecting Salesforce its preferred CRM.

In addition to the platform partnerships, Google's G Suite office productivity portfolio will see deeper integration with Salesforce cloud applications, including Sales and Marketing clouds, as will the Google Analytics 360 platform.

The term "preferred" doesn't indicate exclusivity, and the same status granted to Amazon Web Services in May of 2016 will continue, Ryan Aytay, executive vice president of business development at Salesforce, said at a news conference on the first day of the Dreamforce conference.

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However, Google Cloud Platform will be the platform on which Salesforce plans to expand its core services into new global geographies, he said.

Tariq Shaukat, Google's president for partners and industry platforms, said a top request from Google customers has been "tighter and tighter integration with Salesforce."

The two companies had previously done "light touch integrations," but the new partnership will yield entirely co-engineered solutions, Shaukat said when joining Salesforce executives at the Salesforce conference that kicked off Monday in San Francisco.

Google's cloud division "will continue to use Salesforce as its preferred CRM provider to engage with its cloud customers in new and meaningful ways," according to a joint statement.

Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president for CRM Apps at Salesforce, said the two companies could achieve more by directly working together than they can by interconnecting through their "API surface area."

The deal marks the first time Google has directly integrated its cloud products with another leading cloud software provider, said Bob Stutz, Salesforce's CEO for its marketing cloud and chief analytics officer.

"It's been the number-one ask of our customers to have the two integrated in a seamless way," he added.

"We view this as the best of both worlds for our mutual customers," Aytay said.

The term "preferred" means Salesforce will consider GCP "to be part of our trusted infrastructure," Aytay said. "Something our engineers can work on."

Pressed by reporters at the news conference on the relationship with AWS, Aytay said, "for the benefit of our customers, we find it necessary to find multiple technology partners."

As part of the deal, Google will offer a year of free G Suite use to new or existing Salesforce customers.

Further integrations through the partnership will include Salesforce Lightning for Gmail, placing CRM data into Google's email system, and customer interactions from Gmail directly into Salesforce. Salesforce solutions, including Quip Live Apps, will also see deeper interoperability with Google products like Sheets, Drive and Calendar.

Some of those deeper integrations should start rolling out next year.

Google cloud chief Diane Greene will join Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for an onstage discussion Tuesday at Dreamforce.

Kai Hsiung, chief revenue officer at New York City-based Salesforce partner Silverline, said Google and Salesforce moving forward with their strategic partnership is something the systems integrator is eagerly anticipating, particularly around marketing analytics.

Silverline already has customers that it’s helping leverage Google analytics to deliver greater insights from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. With the partnership, the solution provider hopes integration is more seamless and robust, Hsiung told CRN.

’To see it formalized will add to the overall impact from a go-to-market perspective,’ he said.