A quick guide to getting more value from the Salesforce AppExchange, the different types of apps, and how to find the right one for your business.
Like most large events in 2020, Dreamforce was reimagined as a virtual event this year, bringing together the best in the business to inspire and entertain the conference attendees. Who better to guest at the event as one of the Salesforce AppExchange aficionados than our own Will Nourse?
For Will, Endiem’s Delivery Lead, it was love at first sight when he first came across the ecosystem in his role at a non-profit and realized how effective Salesforce could be at solving business problems. As his knowledge of the platform grew, Will achieved the honor of Salesforce MVP and is now a member of the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame. A long history of championing all that the AppExchange had to offer brought Will to the panel at Dreamforce.
So, what’s “the AppExchange”?
Think of the AppExchange like the Apple Store but for extensible tools built on the Salesforce platform. Instead of adding apps to your phone to organize your life or tell you how to avoid traffic jams, you add apps to your Salesforce org to gain efficiencies and address business needs within your own environment. Some apps are free; others are paid per user, others are paid annually based on volume. All the apps allow you to do something that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if you had to build it from scratch yourself. There are even apps to allow you to connect your disparate data sources and bring them together in Salesforce.
What types of Apps are available?
The three main categories of apps:
Built by Salesforce employees, often during the volunteer time, to solve the problems they feel passionate about. It is almost always free to Salesforce customers, and you can often manipulate the code if it doesn’t work exactly as you need it.
Monitored, updated, and “managed” by the initial Developer via periodic releases. They might be paid or free app - typically paid because this is a huge source of business for the product company.
Editable code within a base package can be customized but may or may not be updated by the Developer after the initial install. May be paid or free apps, more often free.
Will’s top picks
Will was challenged to select three apps that stand out for him in terms of the value they deliver customers and partners:
A project management platform that allows you to plan out and track all your projects from start to finish. Time tracking, resource planning, Gantt charts, and project financials… it’s all there.
A deployment and Release Management solution that fully incorporates version control, Selenium Testing, and Branch Management into its suite.
An app that provides customizable sales dashboards that give visibility of the size, trend, and quality of the sales pipeline and sales performance.
To be clear, Will is a HUGE fan of the AppExchange in its entirety. As he put it in his Dreamforce talk:
“It is full of important contributors, solving business challenges in all areas, including sales, marketing, operations, and technical development. No one person or organization has the capability to solve all those challenges themselves. The AppExchange provides the customer the ability to leverage the power of thousands of developers across the ecosystem.”
Of course, there is an app for every business problem possible, and different organizations will benefit from different solutions. This is where Will’s final word of advice comes in - to find your perfect app, take advantage of the Search and Reviews.
“Search is powerful. When you see apps in the vertical you’re looking into, drill in. Read the reviews, look at who is writing the reviews and how long ago they were written.”
He also suggests contacting the developers if you are looking for more information - no one will know more than they do about the app they created.
Using the AppExchange to find the solutions to your business problems is the easiest and smartest way to move your business forward. If you’re ready to find and implement those solutions, but don’t know where to start, give Endiem a call, and we’ll help you get it done!