Happy Birthday AppExchange! How 10 years cloud app marketplace have changed the way we and our customers do business
Since the turn of the millennium, cloud computing has revolutionized the landscape of the IT world because it provides enterprise-grade computing resources that are affordable, instantly available and scalable. It’s the businesses that take advantage of this new world that are boosting productivity like never before. So it’s no wonder that the world’s biggest shopping mall for business apps in the cloud, is approaching 3.6 million enterprise app installs 10 years after its founding. Here are our reasons for celebrating the Salesforce AppExchange.
Democratization of technology
AppExchange apps are customized for Salesforce and extend Salesforce to every department and every industry. When we first started with our free app called Quote Generator as one of the first back in 2006, we merely provided an easy way to turn opportunities into a PDF. As Salesforce Consulting Partner and User, we had developed this enhancement originally for our own purpose and decided to share it with other Salesforce users that struggled with the same issue, but didn’t have the knowledge or resources to solve the problem individually. After publishing the app on the AppExchange this solution was soon used by hundreds. One can clearly see from this example that this form of business app marketplace encourages productivity and saves resources: Imagine the allocated value if each of these companies had developed this on their own. This democratization of technology is only possible because the Salesforce platform allows developers to customize the system and because the marketplace makes solutions instantly accessible to more people. At an increasing scale – the AppExchange is nearing 3000 business apps – people have greater access to use and purchase technologically sophisticated products, as well as to participate meaningfully in the development of these products.
Drawing the line: Putting resources where they matter
From Salesforce user perspective, we’ve learned that although we have deep Salesforce customization and technical knowledge, it doesn’t make sense to develop everything on our own. Take email solutions for instance, there are people out there that are already specialized in exactly what we are looking for. They’ve already done what we are trying to do – with many other companies. So why customize or integrate something on our own? Why use our developers for internal stuff when they are needed for optimizing our business app? It’s not our core business, so why waste resources? In most cases there are already great solutions out there that may not be for free but are still many times cheaper than fiddling around on our own. This applies even more when not talking about point on feature apps but full blown industry apps that contain a bunch of modules and customization tailored to the specific needs.
Changing the way media companies do business
We started originally out as a Salesforce consulting partner for media companies specialized on ad sales. This means we helped many media companies customizing their Salesforce environment for their ad sales and ad operations needs. Well, it may not come to a surprise to you that we came across the same challenges, problems and requirements at every individual media company. As the advertising business is highly complex, constantly evolving and requires necessary integrations with third party systems these projects grew continuously in size, time and support effort, so that they weren’t affordable any longer. At the same time there was (and still is) a strong need for media companies to modernize their IT infrastructure, streamline their business workflows and increase productivity in order to stay competitive. So we molded our extensive experience from all these individual projects together into one Salesforce app especially designed for ad sales that covered all requirements and is with monthly user subscriptions affordable for every media company independent of size and type. With our end-to-end media ad sales solution ADvendio all our customers benefit from a regularly updated business application that ensures an innovative IT environment. Thanks to the AppExchange, today ADvendio is the industry’s most advanced advertising management solution and helps media companies in more than 20 countries to get the most out of their advertising business.
Transition from consulting to software company
But bundling our knowledge and experience in a native Salesforce app has not only changed the way our customers manage, sell and invoice their advertising but also the way we are doing business. We’ve evolved from a solely consulting services company to a software company that is building long-lasting solutions for a whole industry. The AppExchange is not only an incubator for new apps and ideas, but empowers hundreds of innovative application providers to thrive and grow.