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How the Partner Innovation Awards Explain the Immense Value of the Salesforce Ecosystem

The day before Dreamforce officially kicks off is often referred to within the company as “Day Zero,” but to Salesforce’s consulting and digital agency partners, it’s the day of the annual Partner Innovation Awards. During the event, a select group of partners are recognized for their extraordinary efforts in delivering world-class innovative solutions based on Salesforce’s flexible platform to thousands of customers worldwide.

“The Partner Innovation Awards give us the opportunity to recognize the best examples we can find of Salesforce partners helping our customers,” says Salesforce Executive Vice President of Industries and Partners Tyler Prince. “But it’s more than that. It’s validation that these consultants and digital agencies can take the tools Salesforce provides and elevate them in ways that don’t even necessarily occur to us.” [click-to-tweet]

It’s also a window, says Prince, into the larger universe of the Salesforce ecosystem of partners and the overall Salesforce Economy, which includes traditional consulting partners such as PwC, Accenture, and Deloitte; agency partners such as Dentsu Aegis Network and WPP; and independent software vendors (ISVs) that build solutions on the Salesforce platform. New research from IDC projects Salesforce’s partner ecosystem will add 4.2 million new jobs to the global economy and $1.2 trillion in new business revenues worldwide from 2019-2024.

This influx of jobs creates the need for a workforce primed to tackle the challenges of today’s digital age — and consulting partners will be essential in bringing Salesforce capabilities to the ecosystem. That’s why Salesforce has an ambitious goal of reaching 250,000 certified Salesforce consultants by 2022, and why Salesforce Ventures launched a new $50 million Consultant Trailblazer Fund earlier this week to help more consulting and agency partners build and scale their Salesforce practices.

Salesforce is far from the only brand at the center of an economic ecosystem – this phenomenon is on the rise in the business world, according to Harvard Business Review. But the Salesforce ecosystem is considerable in size. IDC calculates it’s four times bigger than Salesforce itself today, and will grow to six times bigger by 2024. The Salesforce ecosystem is also a huge creator of value for partners: IDC estimates for every dollar Salesforce makes this year, the wider ecosystem will make $4.29 – a figure that will grow to $5.80 by 2025.

“When you think about the next chapter of Salesforce, a lot is defined by how we orient the company with an individual industry point of view and industry-specific set of solutions,” says Prince. “That’s really dependent on our partners – they’re the boots on the ground, always thinking in an industry context. They’re a multiplier of how we can be successful at problem-solving.” [click-to-tweet]

The Partner Innovation Awards have evolved since the first iteration in 2012, when seven partners were recognized. Today, the awards comprise 23 categories, including 12 industry-specific awards, nine tied to specific Salesforce products, one that recognizes achievement in philanthropy, and one focused on artificial intelligence. Arguably the most unique is an award that recognizes a “connected ecosystem” centered around a consulting partner’s exceptional work in deploying not only Salesforce products, but solutions built by ISV partners that live on Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace.

“We emphasize that a competitive entry is about innovation and a challenge that’s being solved,” says Salesforce Director of Partner Programs Matt Morris, who manages and organizes the awards. “That means much more than simply ‘We improved our sales through the implementation of Sales Cloud.’ We want partners to tell us what IP they brought to the table and how they applied our tools to solve a specific challenge. And then we want to see tangible success metrics that prove they did something that worked.”

For example, Accenture won this year’s Connected Ecosystem award for its unique work on behalf of Australian media giant News Corp, which was experiencing declining subscriber numbers and advertising revenue. The consulting firm deployed a host of Salesforce solutions, including Sales, Service, Marketing, and Community Clouds, and paired those with solutions built by ISV partners CloudSense, DocuSign, Experian, and WalkMe to unify News Corp’s subscriber data onto a single Salesforce instance. That enabled the media conglomerate to offer subscribers a more engaging experience, such as personalized viewing recommendations and customized newsletters, all while optimizing ad sales operations to boost revenue.

Many partner organizations have received at least one trophy since the first edition of the awards, but one of the most successful to date is PwC. The consultant’s three awards this year brings its all-time total to 15 for wide-ranging work with all sorts of customers, from major airlines, to retailers, to philanthropic endeavors.

“That’s a testament to their pursuit of customer success,” says Prince. “They’re obviously not the only ones – we have so many who do fantastic at these things. But it’s nice to see companies like that show a devotion to aligning with what Salesforce’s values are all about.”

Regardless of whether a partner has an award under its belt, these companies are part of a unique community that’s raising the bar for how cloud solutions can address the challenges businesses face. That journey may start with Salesforce products, but the outside-in perspective, technical knowhow, and creativity are things that define the Salesforce ecosystem. These partners aren’t just evangelizing Salesforce, they’re helping drive the entire economy forward, according to EVP of Industries Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh.

“Our ecosystem really fits in the entire philosophy of Salesforce around stakeholders and the people and organizations who are part of our extended family,” she says. “Salesforce’s success is totally predicated on the ecosystem. In the long term, our partners are the ones who really further our ultimate goal of customer success. That’s not something we could accomplish with just Salesforce alone.” [click-to-tweet]

The 2019 Partner Innovation Awards will be held at the St. Regis San Francisco on Nov. 18.

To learn more about Salesforce’s growing Partner Ecosystem, check out our recent IDC white paper.

The 2019 Partner Innovation Award winners in full

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Partner Innovation Award winners! See below for a list of this year’s winning partners who drove success for customers around the world and across industries.

Nominated categories

  • Connected Partner Ecosystem Award: Accenture, for their work with News Corp
  • Business as a Platform for Change Award: Traction on Demand, for their work with Salesforce Sustainability
  • Einstein Analytics Award: Paladin Group, for their work with Fox News

Industries categories

  • Financial Services Award: Cognizant, for their world Financial Conduct Authority
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences Award: Deloitte Digital, for their work for Amgen
  • Retail Award: DEG, linked by Isobar for their work with GameStop
  • Consumer Goods Award: PwC, for their work with PepsiCo
  • Comms/Media Award: Shift CRM, for their work with Warner Media
  • Manufacturing & Energy Award: PwC, for their work with USG
  • Automotive Award: Flect, for their work with Bridgestone
  • Transportation, Travel & Hospitality Award: DIA, for their work with
  • NonProfit Award: Accenture, for their work with Demand Institute, Nielsen, United Nations Foundation and The Conference Board
  • Higher Education Award: Deloitte Digital, for their work with Southern New Hampshire University
  • Government & Public Sector Award: Catalyst Consulting Group, for their work with City of Chicago

Product categories

  • Sales Cloud Award: Simplus, for their work with Tuff Shed
  • Service Cloud Award: PwC, for their work with Leadec Industrial Services
  • Marketing Cloud Award: emark, for their work with BoConcept
  • Community Cloud Award: CRM Science, for their work with Acts Retirement-Life Communities
  • B2B Commerce Award: Adept Group, for their work with Gilmours Wholesale Food & Beverage
  • B2C Commerce Award: Deloitte Digital, for their work with True Alliance
  • Platform Award: Paladin Group, for their work with Kaiser Permanente
  • Heroku Award: Trineo, for their work with Clear Channel Outdoor
  • Emerging Product: Tata Consultancy Services

Cross-cloud categories

  • Customer 360: OSF Commerce with Bouclair
  • Unified Transformation: Cognizant with Podium
  • Marketing Intelligence: DEG, linked by Isobar with AMC Theaters

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