For about a year now, I've been hearing occasional chatter about Salesforce.com's plans to more aggressively engage managed services providers. Finally, the SaaS and cloud chatter seems to be evolving into a formal Salesforce.com strategy involving MSPs. And I suspect we'll hear some Salesforce.com details during the Ingram Micro Seismic partner conference, scheduled for June 7-9 in Dallas. Here's why.

First, a little background: The Ingram Micro Seismic team offers a range of platforms and services to help VARs develop managed services revenue streams. The Seismic effort includes both on-premises and SaaS/cloud offerings -- developed by Ingram Micro as well as third-party software providers. As part of the Seismic conference in June 2010, Ingram is planning a full day of Cloud-oriented content.

That's where Salesforce.com enters the picture. The SaaS CRM specialist is expected to have a key presence at the conference, in a bid to get VARs and MSPs using Salesforce.com within their own businesses. Plus, Salesforce.com wants to promote the Force.com partner program and the Chatter social media platform to channel specialists.

Generally speaking, most successful MSPs use professional services automation (PSA) software from ConnectWise, Autotask or Tigerpaw as their central system of record -- tracking customer projects, time, expenses, billing and other variables. But Salesforce.com sees SaaS CRM as a potential system of record as well. Plus, some PSA software providers -- such as NetSuite's OpenAir -- have been building connection software for Salesforce.com integration.

Will Salesforce.com catch on with more VARs and MSPs? I'll keep digging for perspectives leading up to the Ingram Micro Seismic event. And I'll be on-hand at the conference to further analyze Salesforce.com's pitch to MSPs.

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