You might never have heard of Rimini Street. If you haven’t, you might be surprised to know that it isn’t actually a quaint little mountainside location in the mountains of Italy, it is, instead, a technology vendor. But Rimini Street isn’t about selling software, well not in the way readers might expect. Rimini Street is all about helping large enterprises navigate the torturous road which is enterprise software licensing. Essentially they help these large organizations escape the horrendous support contracts that the likes of Oracle and SAP coerce suggest their customers sign up to.

If that sounds like something that Oracle and SAP wouldn’t be keen on, you’d be right. Indeed, Oracle and Rimini have been battling each other in court proceedings for years – during the first quarter, Rimini Street received a litigation refund of $21.5 million from Oracle.. You see large legacy vendors work on the basis of opaqueness, knowing full well that their customers are generally unsure of exactly what they’re paying for or receiving. In this way, these vendors can lump customers with support and service contracts which are incredibly lucrative, and in doing so, spend billions on yacht races and Hawaiian islands. It’s a hard life.

Which is where Rimini Street comes in, the company delves into the murky world of licensing and support and helps deliver efficiency and better economics for their customers.

But all of that service and support stuff, and all of the “shelfware” was meant to have disappeared with cloud computing and, more specifically, SaaS. Which is why it is fascinating to hear that Rimini Street is going to be supporting Salesforce solutions. The inventor of SaaS, the technology paradigm that was forever meant to end the tyranny of horrendous licensing and stand over tactics in support contracts, needs someone to ensure their customers get honesty? Sacre bleu!

It’s not quite as simple as that – especially not given the admission by Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin that SaaS vendors include maintenance in their licenses. What opportunity is there for a third-party layer on top of Salesforce? The plot thickens even more when one considers that Rimini Street is a long-term customer of Salesforce.

The logic here is that, no matter how people spin it, Oracle and SAP are still deeply embedded in enterprise and Salesforce is increasingly gaining a toehold in those same enterprises. Giving customers the ability to use a single support partner across both legacy and cloud applications makes a lot of sense – being able to gain support for the breadth of an enterprises technology tools drives efficiencies. According to Rimini Street, about 40 percent of Rimini Street’s customer base runs Salesforce along with SAP or Oracle applications.

Rimini Street will, at the first instance, be offering support for both Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. That support is designed to complement what Salesforce already offers and hence creates a premium offering for those who need more of a “white glove” approach – 24*7 support and a 15 minute guaranteed response time are all part of the offering. On top of that, and as something of an overlap with many other Salesforce partners, Rimini Street is offering managed system administrations, customization and integration for these Salesforce offerings.

Says Dan Smoot, EVP of Global Partner Sales, at Salesforce of the deal:

We are pleased to welcome Rimini Street as a new Salesforce partner, and excited to work with Rimini Street as both a substantial, long-term global Salesforce customer and now as a new support service provider in the global Salesforce services ecosystem

MyPOV

The traditional view of SaaS is that it is low-touch, easy to onboard and self-supported. The reality, however, is very different and as Salesforce rushes towards its $20 billion revenue goal, it needs to broaden its appeal to customers. In many cases, this means ensuring that customers can live within an existing support structure and systemic approach. This deal with Rimini Street is part of that proposition and this is certainly net positive for Salesforce.

As for Rimini Street, at last they’ll be partnering with a vendor that doesn’t continuously want to keep suing their asses off!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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