Salesforce Opens Up Force.com Platform To Outside Partners

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Salesforce.com has continued to expand the capabilities of Force.com, its platform to build and deploy enterprise applications. The company recently rolled out Force.com Sites, which lets companies build and run their applications for internal use as well as for public use on Salesforce.com cloud computing platform. Today, Salesforce will be opening up an additional distribution channel off of Force.com: the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) program.

The VAR program lets partners, which are primarily IT consultants to large companies, resell Force.com and applications built off of Force.com to other companies. So for example, a VAR partner could create a recruiting app to manage HR processes for a company off of the Force.com platform and charge the company for the application and requisite services. VARs can resell the Force.com cloud computing platform, as well as additional services such as mobile capabilities, storage, sites, and development sandboxes.

The possibilities for enterprise applications built off the Force.com platform are endless. Currently, there are more than 120,000 custom applications built off of Force.com to run businesses that perform a variety of functions, including supply chain management, compliance tracking, brand management, accounts receivable, claims processing, time-off applications and more.

Salesforce will charge VARs $7.50 per user per month, but VARs can determine the pricing model they implement to outside companies. The program also includes sales resources, technical training for partners as well as support for issues with the Force.com platform. VARs are responsible for supporting their own customizations and applications. Initial partners that have joined the program include Appiphony, American Data Company, EDL Consulting, Lexnet Consulting Group, MK Partners, Reside, Silver Tree Systems, and Sundog.

The fact that Salesforce is opening up its enterprise cloud computing platform to outside partners for reselling purposes is strong move towards expanding its play in the cloud computing space. Plus, the program is a new business channel that could recruit more companies to adopt both its Force.com platform and its CRM. The company seems to be going vertical in its model in an effort to head off competition from Microsoft Azure and and Google App Engine.

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