Dell Becomes Salesforce.com Channel Partner
I’ve been suggesting for years that PC vendors could be great channel partners for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors, and Dell now has an opportunity to prove me right.
Today, Dell and saleforce.com announced that Dell will offer salesforce.com’s SaaS solutions to its small- and mid-size business (SMB) customers via its website.
This is a natural combination. Dell has been a prominent customer of salesforce.com’s on-demand CRM solutions. Salesforce.com uses Dell’s computers in its data centers. This week, the companies’ CEOs will be on stage together at Oracle’s Open World conference.
Selling software to its customers isn’t new for Dell. It has been offering Microsoft Office, Symantec Anti-Virus and other applications for a while. Adding salesforce.com’s on-demand solutions enables Dell to position itself as a fuller, ‘one-stop shop’ for SMBs.
This gives salesforce.com a strong new channel to market and builds on Dell’s core competency as a direct sales company, offsetting some of the challenges which will arise from Dell’s recent decision to acquire Perot Systems.
This is another example of the aggressive efforts SaaS vendors are making to broaden their channels to market and hardware vendors’ efforts to add SaaS to their portfolios, including NetSuite’s previous partnership with HP and Cisco’s acquisition of WebEx.
At the moment, IBM is putting its energies into promoting its LotusLive SaaS capabilities. It will be interesting to see how it responds to these competitive moves and positions itself as a channel to market for third-party SaaS vendors as well.