Salesforce AppExchange And The Power Of Platforms

Salesforce announced over a million installs of Apps from the AppExchange recently.  This is a powerful milestone reinforcing the platform which Salesforce.com has become.  To get to the goal of automating business processes, third-party applications can be tried and integrated for a more complete solution.  Business users get the same benefits of a complete ecosystem like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.  Different apps can help solve specific problems or introduce functionality beyond the core Salesforce.com standard offering.

In our Salesforce consulting work, the AppExchange is a vital place to help meet our client requirements.  Here is how we tend to use the AppExchange to solve problems:

  1. Requirements.  We have regular meetings or receive requests from our clients.  Listening carefully and providing constructive feedback is vital.  We transform requests into specific deliverables for our team.
  2. Research.  Our Salesforce consultants have many tried and true approaches to Salesforce.com customization.  If we can create triggers, workflows or customizations to the system, these are approached first.  However, we also create tasks for ourselves to research what is available in the AppExchange.
  3. Testing.  There are systemic issues to always manage in our client environments.  We test integrations of any third-party products in our sandbox developer environment to ensure there are not any unforeseen impacts to the system.
  4. Implementation.  When we feel comfortable with the solution, we integrate this into the live system.  There is a process with the integration based on the third-party software vendor package.  Typically additional data objects will be introduced.  We have to be mindful of limitations with Professional edition that may not be there with Enterprise Edition as well.
  5. Review And Usage.  We set up process steps, training and documentation for our clients to use with the new AppExchange product.  They take care of their billing with the vendor after they use it during a trial period.  We help them adopt new steps in their business process to use with their team live, via video and written documentation.

Over the course of time, it is not uncommon for our clients to continually build upon their Salesforce.com platform.  Multiple applications working together to drive a process or set of processes on top of Salesforce.com can automate a business and a beautiful and cohesive way.

You can also learn what apps might supercharge your own sales process.

What are some of the apps you are running on Salesforce.com?

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