Today Salesforce announced its new, updated AppExchange, an online marketplace for cloud-based enterprise applications that extend the capabilities of Salesforce CRM software. Some of new AppExchange features include intelligent search, personalized recommendations, and embedded "Trailhead" learning, which we explain in further detail, below.
The AppExchange can be customized for any organization using Salesforce's customer relationship management (CRM) system. Its expanded offerings include additional Salesforce "Lightning" apps, data sources, and industry-specific solutions.
AppExchange is already a key part of the Salesforce portfolio, with 87 percent of Salesforce customers using AppExchange apps, and more than 5 million apps installed to-date. Salesforce also points out that 89 percent of the Fortune 100 companies use apps from its online exchange.
New Features, New Look and Feel
The Salesforce AppExchange now features personalized recommendations based on customer location, install history, site activity, profile data, and edition. For example, as a customer starts looking through the AppExchange, recommendations change based on the search terms used, as well as on the listings and categories that are viewed most. Then, after new apps are installed, recommendations change again, based on the collection of installed solutions, and based on behavior of other companies that have installed similar products.
The AppExchange now also features something Salesforce calls "Trailhead Learning." It's a collection of resources on best practices, skills training, and solutions for common business needs. For example, one Trailhead "trail" addresses apps and solutions on how to "Empower Managers and Agents with the Service Cloud Platform." Content includes articles, videos, and webinars on topics like, "What's Your App Stack? 6 Apps For Every Area Of Your Business."
AppExchange also includes more than 70,000 peer reviews, to help customers determine which apps are best suited for their specific needs.
In 2015, Salesforce introduced the concept of Lightning, with a set of tools to make it easier for sales people to use their CRM programs plus a set of developer tools for producing new Salesforce-centric apps. Lightning apps and solutions now comprise another main component of the updated AppExchange.
"Lightning Bolts" are out-of-the-box solutions that integrate with Salesforce and provide specific industry process flows and components. These offerings come from a wide variety of Salesforce partners, including Accenture, Appirio, Bluewolf, PwC and Silverline.
One Lightning Bolt example is the "Retail Store Collaboration by Appirio" which helps retailers collaborate better with their stores. It provides real-time information about consumers and helps improve worker engagement, while also facilitating the feedback process.
AppExchange also provides access to what Salesforce calls "Lightning Data." Customer profiles can be enriched with data integrated from trusted third-party data sources. Lightning Data can also provide useful information on key sales and marketing processes like segmentation, targeting, lead scoring and prioritization, with data that is specific to each business.
For example, Lightning Data can give sales reps the inside scoop on topics a company has been actively researching, as well as details on the hardware and software that the company is currently using. That information can help sales staff be more strategic in their sales efforts.
Industry Specific Solutions
Salesforce says the AppExchange houses thousands of industry-specific solutions for manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, retail, and other sectors.
One example for the financial services market is nCino's Bank Operating System, which integrates into the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud to provide added functionality for originating and funding loans.
For the financial services market, AppExchange also provides tie-in apps from Onfido and Orion.
An example in the field of healthcare is Zipari's InsureCX that provides health insurance companies with real-time insights regarding their members and automated workflows. The Zipari solution also includes rule-based recommendations and tools for efficient "member engagement" management.
Other healthcare and life sciences apps available on the AppExchange include solutions from FormFast, Healthwise, myStrength, and Veeva.
For retailers, AppExchange has solutions from CloudCraze, DemandJump, and Windsor Circle. And, for manufacturing, there are apps that work with Propel and Rootstock, to name just a few.
Honeywell Home and Business Technologies is one corporate customer that uses the AppExchange quite extensively. Kathy Ecklund, who serves as Honeywell's Director of Global Business Analytics & CRM Excellence, says the AppExchange has been a critical tool for driving growth and boosting sales productivity. Honeywell is using more than 200 apps from the AppExchange, and Ecklund says the new version of AppExchange is intuitive and easy to navigate.
CloudCraze also works with Salesforce, but on the partner side, providing B2B e-commerce solutions that integrate well with Salesforce CRM. CEO Chris Dalton says CloudCraze joined the AppExchange in 2009, with its cloud commerce solution, and the company has grown exponentially as a result.
The Salesforce Economy
Salesforce says AppExchange has helped fuel a growing "Salesforce Economy" over the past few years, with tremendous additional growth expected. Research analysts at IDC predict that, "Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners and customers will generate $859 billion in new business revenues and 3.3 million new jobs worldwide by 2022."
While it's tough to get a handle on specifically what's included in that 5-year forecast, the key is that many businesses -- ISVs, software developers, service providers, etc. -- are profiting by connecting apps to work with Salesforce, with hundreds of thousands of related jobs being created each year.
Salesforce EVP Leyla Seka, who oversees AppExchange, says it has already grown into the leading enterprise cloud marketplace, with more than 4,000 applications offered, and covering virtually every industry. And now, the upgraded version of AppExchange, Seka says, offers a more personalized experience for customers with "smart recommendations, embedded Trailhead learning, and deep industry focus."
Salesforce has clearly gone far beyond its original CRM niche, noting its AppExchange has become "the most comprehensive source" of business technologies, with solutions for everything from cloud computing and mobility, to social media management, big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, and even the evolving Internet of Things.
Image credit: Salesforce.
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