Dreamforce #DF17: Salesforce and Google Partner to Thwart Microsoft

By Jim Lundy

(Aragon Research) – At Dreamforce 2017, also referred to as #DF17, Salesforce announced a major partnership with Google that is more than just Cloud. Diane Green, SVP of Google Cloud, made an appearance at Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote on Monday, but there are still more details of the partnership to be announced.

At #DF17, Salesforce and Google announced a major partnership to team up against Microsoft.

To us, this partnership is much more than Google sponsoring Dreamforce: it’s about slowing down Microsoft.

Google and Salesforce Partner: The War with Microsoft

There was speculation earlier this year that Google could buy Salesforce. While this didn’t happen, as a result, the two companies have come closer together and are integrating their enterprise offerings more closely than anytime in the past. In years prior, it was Microsoft that both Google and Salesforce were friendly with— but times have changed. After Microsoft tried to buy Salesforce and that deal fell through, Microsoft bought Linkedin—which Salesforce took as a threat. Ever since that deal, to us, it has been sour grapes between Salesforce and Microsoft. This is where Google comes into play.

If there was ever a direct attack on Salesforce, it was when Scott Guthrie, EVP of the Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, announced that when HP moved from Salesforce Sales Cloud to Microsoft Dynamics 365, that this move was a “take down” of Salesforce. There was not a single mention of Microsoft this year in Benioff’s keynote.

From a Google perspective, Microsoft Office 365 is the direct competitor of Google GSuite. Microsoft has been selling hard into large enterprises and Google is still fighting, but our take is that partnering with Salesforce is a good move. Salesforce is also flanking Microsoft with Quip.

Google: The Case for Salesforce

Google needs more wins in the Cloud and it needs more customers using G-Suite, and Salesforce is now making Google its preferred Cloud Partner. Yes, Google Cloud Platform is being recommended by Salesforce. This is a win for Google because it is behind in getting corporate customers to use Google Cloud.

Part of the deal announced is that any Salesforce customer will be able to use Google Suite free for a year. On top of that, Google will make its flagship Google Analytics 360 Platform, which is the paid version of Google Analytics, integrate with Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The icing on the cake is that Gmail and Salesforce will be more tightly integrated than ever before.

Salesforce: The Case for Google

Microsoft is pushing Microsoft Azure Cloud Services hard. Salesforce can’t win with force.com alone, it needs a partner. On top of that, Microsoft is pitching all of its offerings to large enterprises and trying to push smaller providers like Salesforce to the side. With Google and Salesforce, it is more of a fair fight. Google Analytics is the defacto standard in enterprises when it comes to Marketing Analytics, and Microsoft Power BI is still used by IT (not Marketing). Microsoft is a tough competitor and it sees CRM as a large opportunity. To win in CRM, it means it needs to stop Salesforce.

We would note that on top of all of this, that Salesforce has always been a Google shop. The tighter integration of GSuite is a win for Salesforce Customers. We don’t see tighter integrations coming for Office 365, we see a bigger push for Google and Quip, Salesforce’s new Team Collaboration offering that is targeting Office.

The Bottom Line

Google and Salesforce are in it together to stop their mutual enemy, Microsoft. Suffice to say, Salesforce is winning the CRM war for now. Amazon and Microsoft are winning the Cloud wars and Google is playing catchup. With Salesforce bringing Google into deals, Microsoft might get slowed down. Partnering is the new Go-to-Market weapon. Developing.