India biggest growth market in APAC for Salesforce


Can you please shed light on channel enablement and strategies for the coming year?
The amount of investments which the partner ecosystem is making into India as a domestic market is unprecedented. And I realise this while conversing with partners like Cognizant, Capgemini, Accenture, Deloitte and others. The opportunities domestically as opposed to typically where the larger companies were looking at the modern outsourcing facility has changed dramatically. We have had over 4,000 net new certifications in India in the last twelve months and the majority of those are now looking at how they can serve the local market. That is actually a very different story to what was happening over the last couple of years. And a primary reason for this is that the amount of digital transformation which customers are embarking on now in is at a level which we did not witness in the past two or three years. And so the partner opportunity is to capture that within the marketplace itself.

Will this phenomenon increase in the coming days?
Dramatically. We have seen that across the region there has been over 80 per cent increase in net new partners and certifications and around 30 per cent year-on-year increase in certain locations. So it has been phenomenal.

Is India contributing to the numbers significantly?
Yes, the numbers are relatively reflective of the India marketplace as well. Although its difficult to give exact number since the partners here can be playing in both domestic and international market. But we have seen around 4,000 new certifications or certified individuals and a 20 per cent increase.

From a product segment perspective, which products are leading when it comes to partner adoptions and what partners prefer in terms of implementation and deployment? Are there any specific trends you see?
There is a huge amount of headroom and opportunity in both sales and service. We are seeing some transition in areas such as CPQ and there is a considerable amount of interest around that. With the acquisition of MuleSoft, we are really looking forward to the next 12 months and expecting a larger presence within the domestic market place. That is where we are seeing many trends this year.

What are the opportunities for partners in terms of the mobile? How do you see that affecting the partners?
If we look at field service, which we are looking at the moment, there is a huge amount of opportunity within the marketplace still. I do not think the opportunities are tapering, in fact it is increasing as far as the partner ecosystem is concerned. The field service is in line with some of the acquisitions which have been made recently is around the India domestic marketplace, in particular.

Huge amount of applications can be used across healthcare, life sciences, financial, manufacturing sectors, etc. Talking to some customers I came to know how they were creating micro loans and that they were using the Salesforce platform to help automate them. Thus, there is a range of applications which we have seen.

Recently you have partnered with Mahindra and Mahindra, How are the channel partners playing a role?
Today our partners can play multiple roles. They are the source of new opportunities with customers. We are also seeing a lot of cross collaboration between different partners and they are utilising each others’ expertise and leveraging that. The partners are subject matter experts and have horizontal expertise in the marketplace. So, the role partners played earlier involved mostly implementation of solutions but now the expectation from their role is to be a visionary. Customers expect more consulting with regards to adopting our platform and the benefits around it in the medium and long term. That is the transformation and the evolution from a marketplace today.

Do you have digital scorecards or digital maturity framework for the partners?
We have a very scripted out enablement structure where our partners actually become subject matter experts. They go through trainings and get the certification. Recently, we have announced a new area which is architecture specialists, so there are now four new architect programs where partners can become a subject matter architect with certification. Our focus is not just the growth in the organisation, but growth of partners and customers as well, and that has been a big driver for the ecosystem. So, the small cards which we put in place to measure successive partners is focused not just on growth, but on the end-to-end customer success. That is going to be a change for us.

Talking to the CIOs, we understand that unified customer view is one trend which is picking up, infact you have products that amplifies that. How do you see those products picking up?
As we look at the customer holistically, it includes the entire lifecycle be it sales endeavour, service initiatives, marketing, the digital transformation so on and so forth.

If you look at the integration layer which we have with MuleSoft now and the reaction to the recent acquisition of Tableau as well which gives the single payment layer plus the artificial intelligence layer, all these enables a holistic overview of what a customer is trying to achieve in the marketplace today no matter which vertical they are playing in. This is quite exciting.

For Salesforce, how is the India market fairing as compared to other geographies?
India is actually huge in terms of growth. If I look across Asia Pacific, the largest growth is coming out of India market and that is likely to continue.

It is one of the largest investment markets for us and if you look at partner ecosystem, the leading partner ecosystem growth is happening here.



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