Salesforce Preps Partners For The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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As Salesforce looks to its next ambitious goal, scaling the business from $10 billion to $20 billion in annual revenue, partners are preparing to capitalize on the enormous opportunity presented by what the CRM leader considers "the fourth industrial revolution."

Salesforce estimates its exploding ecosystem will support 250,000 consultants by 2022, with 33 percent growth in services over that period.

Industrial Revolution 4.0—the wave of digital transformation sweeping every industry—is a shift that will not only have a profound impact on the business community, but all of society, Keith Block, Salesforce's president and chief operating officer, told attendees at a consulting partner keynote on the first day of the Dreamforce 2017 conference in San Francisco.

[Related: Salesforce CEO Benioff Does AI 'My' Way, With More Customization And Data Science Powering Products]

"You have been on this rocket ride with us," Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, Salesforce's channel chief, told partners later in the same session.

The rocket will keep ascending because the cloud software company's product suite has never been stronger, she said, thanks to cutting-edge capabilities in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

But while partners are "excited about innovation," Taychakhoonavudh said. They're also "a little bit anxious about keeping up."

Among the concerns: how to scale internal resources, especially skilled staff, to meet the wave of customer demand in the coming years?

One way Salesforce is looking to help consulting partners augment their workforces is through Trailhead. To reflect the growing prominence of that online educational environment, sometime next year Salesforce's consulting partner program will recognize Trailhead badges and points.

But Salesforce will ensure partners preserve their current investments in certifications while "acknowledging the investment" they're making in Trailhead, the channel chief said.

The company is also seeding the industry with Salesforce expertise through innovative programs, like free training for thousands of military veterans through the VetForce initiative. More announcements will come at Dreamforce later this week around workforce development, Taychakhoonavudh said. 

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