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Salesforce today announced an expansion of its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that the companies say will make it easier for enterprises using Salesforce and AWS together to deploy business apps. In the near future, developers will be able to build apps by connecting Salesforce data and workflows into solutions on AWS, while Salesforce customers will be able to integrate AWS services with existing Salesforce apps.

Previously, significant custom code was often required for customers who wanted to combine AWS and Salesforce capabilities for their apps. But these new offerings will enable developers to tap AWS and Salesforce services through unified platforms, as well as new low-code tools, the companies say.

As part of the multi-year expansion of its collaboration with AWS, Salesforce says it will embed AWS services for voice, video, AI, and machine learning directly into new apps for sales, service, and industry vertical use cases. With the new offerings, companies will be able to purchase out-of-the-box solutions from Salesforce and use the built-in AWS services on a pay-as-you-go basis. For example, customers will be able to activate virtual call centers with Amazon Connect, Amazon’s contact center technology, integrated with Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud platforms.

“The partnership spans across every area of the business from product, go-to-market, and shared global developer communities,” Salesforce said in a Q&A shared with VentureBeat ahead of the announcement. “The partnership is designed to be a customer’s fastest path from idea to impact, with innovations in AI, voice, and platform connectivity, built by Salesforce and AWS … This involves new and enhanced integrations between AWS and Salesforce products to offer seamless interoperability across both cloud providers.”

Expanded partnership

The partnership dates back to 2016, when the companies inked an agreement to deliver “business-critical” services to users. Since then, Salesforce and AWS have introduced a number of products combining services from both providers across channels and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, twice expanding the partnership to launch new integrations.

As part of the most recent expansion, beginning in late 2021 in preview and in general availability for 2022, Salesforce plans to debut low-code and code-based development tools that will operate on data from AWS services like Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), as if the data were native in Salesforce. A new guided setup experience will prompt customers to sign into AWS from Salesforce or into Salesforce from the Amazon Management Console to orchestrate service authorization, user identity, security, permissions, and data management, with governance between Salesforce and AWS.

“By natively connecting AWS’ services with the Salesforce Platform, real-time data can securely move between the two providers, allowing customers to more easily automate workflow and maintain a single view of the customer,” Salesforce said in the Q&A. “The Salesforce and AWS partnership expansion will drive the development of easy integrations between Salesforce and AWS services. If a customer wants to integrate their existing AWS services into Salesforce, there are plans to develop a streamlined ability to do so. This gives customers more options to utilize Salesforce and AWS together.”

The expanded partnership, which Salesforce and AWS say will “drive customer value through new and enhanced unification,” comes as the pandemic pushes businesses to embrace digital transformation. For a majority of U.S. CEOs, the pandemic has meant an acceleration in digital transformation by months or even years, according to KPMG. Businesses that once mapped digital strategy in one- to three-year phases were forced to scale their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks.

“To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices. [Executives] are taking note: Most … recognize technology’s strategic importance as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies,” McKinsey wrote in a recent related report. “[Companies] that have executed successful responses to the crisis report a range of technology capabilities that others don’t — most notably, filling gaps for technology talent during the crisis, the use of more advanced technologies, and speed in experimenting and innovating.”

Novartis, which is a customer of Salesforce and AWS, says unifying its platforms with the two companies will allow it to optimize resources by simplifying the developer experience. “The future of medicine and the patient experience are as dependent on technology and innovation as they are on efficiency and speed. [This partnership will help us] reimagine medicine for today and the future,” Novartis president Victor Bultó said in a press release.

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