Tells Cloud Partners: We're Just Gettin' Started (NYSE: CRM) is rallying customers, partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) today at the CloudForce conference in New York. Mike Rosenbaum, VP, AppExchange and partner programs, says partners need to remember that the cloud, mobile and social waves are just getting started.

"With cloud it's no longer a question of if; it's when," said Rosenbaum. "The model is proven. And it's not about IT maintenance. It's about innovation for our partners and customers."

So how is engaging channel partners and ISVs? Rosenbaum offered these insights:

1. Systems Integrators: Companies like Accenture, Aperio Global Consulting and Deloitte, he noted, are gaining serious momentum doing high-quality implementations for customers.

2. Independent Software Vendors: So far, AppExchange ISVs have developed 1,700 applications that have triggered 1.4 installs so far. "There's a lot of energy there," said Rosenbaum. "Now we're seeing ISVs and customers focus on social and mobile."

3. ISVs as Resellers: Yes, ISVs can also serve as resellers, generating recurring revenue from's SaaS applications.

4. Traditional Resellers: Here, Rosenbaum points to companies like Ingram Micro, which is empowering VARs to sell solutions. Dell and Intuit, he added, both resell apps alongside their products.

5. Military Experience: Rosenbaum is a former naval officer, who served on a nuclear submarine. I couldn't help but ask how that experience has helped him to focus's partnering efforts.

"The thing the military teaches you is leadership," he said. "It's all about prioritizing and getting the team focused, excited and motivated to go accomplish goals. When I took over AppExchange, there were question marks about whether we could make the model work. It wasn't exactly humming. We focused the idea that we could make the partnerships successful. It has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. We're beating our targets every month.

6. Global Focus: has a Japanese version with more than 250 apps, and the company will also continue its expansion in Europe and elsewhere.

7. Competing With Microsoft, NetSuite and Others: "I don't really focus on that. We've never really done an active 'switch' campaign. But partners are coming to us because they see the business opportunity [to do platform migrations]. But the biggest trick for those folks, those partners, is the business model change: Switching to recurring subscription model. The transition is difficult and kind of slow to get started. Once you get going, it really accelerates."

8. The Mobile and Social Waves. "Mobile is happening faster than anyone expected," he said. "It is driven by BYOD. We're working hard in the partner ecosystem to make sure we've got the right tools to fulfill the demand. With social, it's interesting to see how quickly people are seeing the value, how quickly customers are embracing it, and how quickly customer are saying they want more."

Bottom line: Rosenbaum sees cloud as more than a business model shift. It's a mindset shift from IT maintenance to IT innovation. Talkin' Cloud's coverage of CloudForce continues


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