Salesforce.com Eyes VARs as Cloud Computing PartnersBy Carolyn April | Print
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A newly launched reseller partner program allows consulting VAR partners to resell Saleforce.com’s Force.com enterprise cloud computing platform and includes provisions for recurring revenue.
Salesforce.com on Wednesday threw a stake in the ground to demonstrate that
its cloud computing platform offers a viable profitability engine for its
The software-as-a-service pioneer launched a new reseller partner program that allows consulting VAR partners to resell Salesforce.com’s Force.com enterprise cloud computing platform. The company is looking for partners to resell the platform as a service, but also develop their own customized solutions running on the platform, according to Mark Trang, senior director of partner marketing. Participation in the program is free and includes enablement, training and other resources.
How the channel makes money from cloud computing has been a major sticking point for solution providers thinking about reorienting their organizations, Trang said.
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"With cloud computing, pricing has been there for end customers, developers and ISVs, but when it comes to the channel, there’s been a big gap," Trang said. "Partners have told us they are interested but have not seen a clear path to profitability to make the transition."
The business and pricing model that Salesforce.com has concocted includes recurring revenue for partners—a big plus—and the ability to include add-on and support services to the sale. Partners pay Salesforce.com for the services they resell, at prices set by Salesforce, but then are free to bill the end customers directly at the prices of their choosing. Entry-level Force.com pricing for VARs begins at $7.50 per user per month.
Steven Warshawsky, director at Perficient, a $225 million integrator in Austin,
Texas, said his organization recently
completed an assessment of several cloud-based platform providers, including
Microsoft, Google and Amazon, but in the end signed on as a new Salesforce.com
The reasons were threefold, Warshawsky said: One, the Force.com platform was most mature, having been used by end customers and developers for several years. By contrast, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure, is not expected to be generally available until this fall. Second, Force.com is multitenant, while some of the other platforms were single tenant-based, which Warshawsky says does not lend itself to a completely off-premises services-based model.
Lastly, he points to the attraction of the recurring revenue model. VARs in the Salesforce.com cloud program initially sell platform licenses to their customers for upfront revenue, but then are permitted to reap recurring revenue over the life of the customer contract.
"Salesforce.com is certainly making it so we can offer clients more bundled services and create a longer-term relationship by packaging support along with the platform services," he said. "These are all things that went into the decision."