Effective May 1, 2009 and with a 60 day grace period, Salesforce.com will begin charging its developer partners for support. I have not seen a press release but I have a data sheet on the offering.
Some people have questions, mostly of the “Is this appropriate?” variety.
I think it is provided there is adequate value exchanged and that remains to be proven. But generally, developers and partners are usually well versed in the basics of the technology. Their questions tend to go deep into the bowels of the beast and for that reason a company like Salesforce needs to staff up with smart professionals who know the product and its limitations at a deep level. That’s a service worth paying for.
The grace period starts today and the fees start July 1, 2009. There will be three levels of service — Partner Premier, Partner Basic, Single Cases and Community. Fees range from free to $24,000.
As a practical business issue, the charge for this kind of service is simply a cost of doing business and the target audience, ISVs and Systems Integrators/Consulting Partners will use the information they receive from the program to serve customers and generate revenue.
I suspect that there will be some complaining about the new fees, but who wouldn’t charge for such a service? I can see a point if a small partner needs fast turnarounds on some questions but doesn’t have the ability to pay the premium price. Some pricing brackets may be needed simply because larger partners are likely to use services more frequently than smaller partners.
These fees are ultimately a good idea and they may encourage the target audience to get training for their personnel. Perhaps they will be able to lower their dependence on support services with more training and that would be a good thing for all parties.