For those visiting the Salesforce AppExchange they will have noticed some big differences this week. The app market place is revamped with many partners taking the opportunity to update their content. There are also several improvements including integration with Trailhead, personalisation, a wider variety of content and more information about the apps contained.

The power of the AppExchange

Leyla Seka, Executive Vice President, AppExchange at Salesforce
Leyla Seka, Executive Vice President, AppExchange at Salesforce

Enterprise Times spoke to Leyla Seka, Executive Vice President, AppExchange at Salesforce prior to the launch. AppExchange has had a significant impact on the Salesforce ecosystem since its launch in 2006. That it launched two years ahead of the Apple App Store demonstrates how far ahead Salesforce were in creating their platform.  Apple are often held up as the iconic example of a platform, yet Salesforce trailblazed the way.

Research by IDC demonstrates the increasing impact that Salesforce has on the global economy. This is a repeat of the research delivered at Dreamforce last year and builds on a more recent report on the impact of AI on CRM. In the last year alone the Salesforce ecosystem will generate $859 billion in new business revenues and 3.3 million jobs by 2020 2022. This compares to their previous report of 1.9 million jobs and $389 billion by 2020.

While these figures seem impressive, a like for like calculation shows that IDC were over optimistic in their original report. In lasts years report the growth between 2017 and 2020 was forecast as $370 billion. That figure in this years report is only $352 billion. The numbers are still staggering though. It will be interesting to see whether the predictions are more accurate in future years.

What is clear is that the AppExchange is a key vehicle by which partners can gain revenue. The ecosystem will generate $5.18 for every dollar that Salesforce earns.

Einstein powered App Exchange

Appy, AppExchange mascot at Salesforce
Appy, AppExchange mascot at Salesforce

The new AppExchange delivers a personalised experience, of sorts. It is not as clever as some customer will hope but it is very much the first step on a journey. When asked whether Einstein is used for the AppExchange, Heather Conklin, product manager at Salesforce answered: “We’re using Salesforce Einstein and other solutions to power AppExchange recommendations. We plan to leverage Einstein more and more in the future.“

Logged in users immediately get Appy’s suggestions. Appy is the mascot for the AppExchange. Allegedly inspired by Leyla Seka herself, it delivers personalised choices based on factors such as past visits. It also uses other information such as location, which edition of Salesforce the customer is using and actions that other similar customers are doing.

Disappointingly the personalisation only relates to the top level. Salesforce could have improved the look by ensuring that the users of Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud would see their options higher up. Instead only Sales and Service cloud appear initially. Seka commented: “We’re excited to launch the new AppExchange, which offers a more personalized experience for customers with smart recommendations, embedded Trailhead learning and deep industry focus to further unleash the power of Salesforce.”

Those industry collections enable customers to see relevant content by industry. Those industries include communications, education, financial services, Government, Healthcare & Life Sciences, manufacturing, media, nonprofits, professional services, real estate and retail. It allows customers to rapidly locate the best content for themselves

It is no longer just about apps

When Salesforce Lightning was launched the App Exchange also included some Lightning components. The store now includes far more. What is really useful is the introduction to Trailhead. At times Trailhead courses will appear to deliver information about specific subject areas. Selecting Service Cloud displays the trail: “Empower Managers and Agents with the Service Cloud Platform.”  What will be interesting is how far Salesforce extend this. At the moment there is little learning available for the different industry segments, though this may come.

We also quizzed Leyla as to whether partners would be able to add their own trails to the app exchange, or to their entries. These might be added in the future. It will be interesting to see whether partners want to invest.

Customers now have access to several different components. Lightning Bolts are out of the box solutions that contain industry process flows. They are templates that contain apps, Lightning components and communities. It will be interesting to see if vendors such as FinancialForce add industry specific templates for their solutions. There is also access to Lightning Data elements. These are trusted data sources such as MCH strategic Healthcare Data. There are currently only a few of these but expect more to be added.

Benefits to partners and customers

Partners have been given the opportunity to enhance their app store information pages. Fred Studer, CMO FinancialForce commented: “Being one of Salesforce’s largest ISVs we’re always on the leading edge of all of their technologies. The AppExchange is one of the things that we get great value from and we welcome the changes with new personalisation tools and intelligent search results. It will give us more access and clarity to Salesforce prospects and customers and help us better optimise for those prospects looking for a customer centric ERP. It will also give us the chance to improve the type of content and a more enriched experience for people looking for business applications like FinancialForce.”

Some have taken the opportunity to embed videos into the listing. There is also more information readily visible about what the content includes. For example, the number of customer objects, the target market and release information. All reviews are transferred across and it is possible for users to update reviews. While the average star rating isn’t weighted, this means that customers can update their rating if they become happier or unhappier with the solution.

What does this mean

Salesforce updates the AppExchange every couple of years. This release is definitely cleaner and easier to find components that customers might want. As the use of Einstein develops, expect to be told what you want next before you know you want it. This could become a great advert for the power of Einstein. If it can increase sales of Apps the IDC report next year might show a further jump within having to look two years ahead.

There are several really good improvements with this release. The segmentation by industry is one of them. Will Salesforce add to these segments? Does it also let companies indicate which verticals their applications apply to?

Administrators and customers should be able to find that elusive app or component faster. It will be interesting to see what the feedback is amongst the administrators when they meet up at Dreamforce.



After posting the article, Salesforce contacted us to say we had the date wrong on the IDC quote. We have now corrected that from 2020 to 2022. We have also added a new image of Leyla Seka provided by Salesforce.



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