When Salesforce released its first product in 2000, the notion of cloud was almost non-existent.
In truth, the notion of Salesforce was equally alien, such was the vendor’s minuscule market share.
Yet the start of the millennium triggered the early beginnings of a new technology era, an era that would eventually lead to cloud computing, applications and digitalisation.
And now, Salesforce is truly hitting its stride.
Operating as a vendor forever in growth mode, profits are hard to come by for CEO, Marc Benioff, as innovation investments overtake revenue targets.
Yet Salesforce is currently considered as one of the most highly valued American cloud computing companies, with a market capitalisation more than US$55 billion.
It’s a beast of a technology organisation, an organisation that is now turning its sights firmly on the channel.
“Partners help us to broadly extend our resources at scale and augment our team with their specialised expertise,” Salesforce senior vice president of partner programs and enablement Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh said.
“In a world of cloud services, partners are even more critical to ensuring long-term customer success.”
In truth, the channel has been on the Salesforce radar for some time, with the tech giant convincing its partner ecosystem to trade off traditional reselling in favour of specialisation, application building and consultancy services.
The result is a vast army of partners driving Salesforce solutions across the enterprise, spanning independent software vendors (ISVs), digital marketing agencies, consultancy houses, start-ups and global system integrators (GSIs).
“In the high-growth Asia Pacific market, we see partners as having a crucial role in sharing their market knowledge, relationships and advice to accelerate our growth there,” Taychakhoonavudh added.
“We are seeing partners grow their Salesforce practices by more than 50 per cent.”
Today, every single one of the top five system integrators in the world run their business on Salesforce, with Deloitte recently delivering a digital experience for the City of Melbourne.
“To keep up with demand from customers, we will need 10 times the consulting capacity in the next five years,” Taychakhoonavudh added.
“It’s vital that our partners are equipped with the skills, through our partner program, to deliver success for our customers that are increasingly involved in multi-cloud implementations and complex business transformation projects.”
In Australia, Salesforce’s local partner base includes Deloitte, Accenture, Tquila, Bluewolf, Appirio and FinancialForce amongst others.
“The partnership is a natural fit,” Tquila co-founder and director A/ NZ Damian Noonan said. “I’ve been working with Salesforce for more than 10 years and as a business, we understand the technology intimately and how best to utilise this for our customers.”
With teams in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Tquila consultants are all specialists within this field of technology, with over 100 Salesforce certifications in-house.
“Our partnership is based around three core areas,” Noonan explained. “Driving licensing revenue together by building on our market differentiator, providing relevant certifications and support skills and increasing engagement with our go- to-market strategy.”
From a customer perspective, Tquila specialises in Salesforce implementations and integration with complex back-end and legacy systems, leveraging marketing automation to provide quick data insights to end-users.
With a varied portfolio of clients, the agency predominantly operates in aged care and health, alongside manufacturing, retail distribution, state government and financial services.
Across Australia, Freedom Aged Care, Tyrrells Property Inspections and NEXTDC are considered customers.
“We’re a customer-first business,” Noonan added. “We want to be the trusted advisor and thought leader for our customers. We constantly revise how we can bring different aspects of the Salesforce platform together to get the best outcomes for the customer, it’s customer first and technology second.”
In providing strategy, design, technology and enablement services, Tquila also specialises in digital marketing and mobile solutions, reflecting the evolutionary nature of the channel in Australia.
“We were technology focused but now we’re becoming a digital agency that specialises in native mobile applications, marketing strategies and customer experience,” Noonan explained.
“Initially we also didn’t have an industry focus but we’re changing the way we engage to bring together the best practices from industries to our Centre of Excellence, rather than start from scratch, and then take that to customers across various verticals.”
As Australian businesses grapple with the influx of new technologies in the market, mobile continues to be the tail that wags the dog of the digital business transformation.
Through a desire to differentiate, Tquila has built out a mobile and customer experience practice, which is outside the remit of a conventional Salesforce partner.
“It’s not just about having the right certifications and bodies to do things, it’s about delivering outcomes,” Noonan said. “Because of that, we take a partner, not supplier approach.”