A Deep Dive Into the Salesforce AppExchange App Marketplace on its 10th Anniversary

Posted 1/14/2016 2:04:17 PM by STUART PARKERSON, Publisher Emeritus

A Deep Dive Into the Salesforce AppExchange App Marketplace on its 10th Anniversary
We thought it would be relevant to take a deep dive into the development and current offerings of the Salesforce AppExchange, which is now celebrating its 10th year. We visited with Jim Sinai, Salesforce's Vice President of App Cloud Marketing, for insight into the platform.

ADM: What’s the AppExchange? 

Sinai: Ten years ago, Salesforce had a vision that customers, partners and developers should be able to package, share and sell apps built on the Salesforce platform. A decade later, we’ve built the App Store for the enterprise, a best-of-its-kind marketplace geared to help companies find all the apps they need to run their businesses in the cloud. 

More than 2,800 apps are available today on AppExchange across sales, service, marketing, finance, collaboration and more. And 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies today use an AppExchange app to connect with their customers in entirely new ways. 

ADM: What inspired the AppExchange?  

Sinai: Interestingly, it was a meeting between Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In 2003, Benioff brought members of his executive team to see Jobs, who inspired the team to work on building an ecosystem for, in Jobs’ words, Salesforce’s “fantastic enterprise applications.” Three years later, the AppExchange was born. In 2008, Benioff paid it forward (and back), gifting Jobs the trademark and URL for Apple’s own App Store, taking the AppExchange brand instead. 

ADM: How many downloads does the AppExchange currently have? How many apps? 

Sinai: What’s amazing about the AppExchange is that each download is actually an install across a Salesforce instance. Today, AppExchange has had three million customer installs across many more millions of employees and users worldwide. In addition, the AppExchange has more than 2,800 apps and counting. This makes it the most comprehensive source of social, mobile and connected cloud apps for businesses. 

ADM: How are organizations using the AppExchange? 

Sinai: Salesforce customers install apps from the AppExchange to extend Salesforce functionality and broaden its use into other departments within their organizations. A lot of the best apps on the AppExchange exemplify that. 

For example, for operations or back-office needs, customers can install incredible ERP apps from Salesforce ISV partners like FinancialForce, Kenandy and Rootstock. For HR, customers can find Salesforce apps to assist with the recruiting process or managing a candidate pool (from partners like Fairsail and others). And there are great industry-specific apps as well, ranging from government to financial services to retail and more.

ADM: What’s an example of a company that’s used the AppExchange to grow its business with apps? 

Sinai: We hear amazing stories all the time about how Salesforce customers benefit from AppExchange apps. One example is the all-in-one HR platform Zenefits, who leaned on the AppExchange to manage the company’s explosive growth over the last several years. 

Zenefits sales reps were hungry to close deals but didn’t have set processes to prioritize accounts and manage territories. So they turned to PowerDialer by InsideSales.com to help them operate smarter and with more efficiency. In just a
month after Zenefits installed PowerDialer, the company saw a 50 percent increase in sales efficiency, freeing sales reps to make 50 percent more calls. 

ADM: How has the AppExchange maintained relevance in the last decade as other enterprise app stores have come and gone? 

Sinai: We have key advantages in a decade of experience, our rich history and millions of active installs. We were the first cloud-only business apps marketplace, and many of our apps have thousands of ratings from users. 

We offer numerous benefits for our ISV partners that go well beyond the exchange, including Partner Community access, lead referrals, toolkits/code libraries, featured listings and more. But in addition to that that, our versatile App Cloud Platform continues to add functionality over time, with three major releases every year - always staying relevant and innovative in serving customer needs.

ADM: What continues to inspire developers to build on the AppExchange? 

Sinai: Enterprise apps are more in-demand today than ever. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development will grow at least five times faster than IT organizations can deliver them. Estimates have 43 percent of enterprise app developers making more than $10,000 per month. Given the incredible pace of change in the industry, it’s amazing that the AppExchange is more relevant than ever ten years after its inception. 

ADM: How can a developer get started today on the AppExchange? 

Sinai: If a developer is new to the AppExchange, Salesforce has a wealth of resources to get them started. I recommend watching this excellent AppExchange demo video, as well as getting to know the Salesforce platform, the ecosystem and popular use cases. As you begin your journey, you’ll find that DeveloperForce is your best friend. 

The Idea Exchange will tell you what customers are asking for, while AppExchange lists the most popular apps. But perhaps the best place to start is with Trailhead, the self-guided skills and training environment that teaches developers, partners and others how to navigate the AppExchange environment and develop apps on Salesforce.

Jim Sinai is a Vice President of Marketing for Salesforce, where he helps companies build apps faster leveraging the Salesforce App Cloud platform. Before joining the company five years ago, Jim served in business development and sales roles at Eventbrite and Bloomberg. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

AppExchange 10th

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About the author: STUART PARKERSON, Publisher Emeritus

Stuart Parkerson has an extensive background in niche technology publishing.

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