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The App Exchange Delivers Both Good and Bad News

I had the opportunity recently to attend the Salesforce.com event in Chicago. The event confirmed that companies and institutions continue to focus on customers and constituents and that the CRM is at the core of how they do it. Solutions available are plentiful and vendors like Salesforce are extending the delivery of functionality through developer networks. Vendors, both large and small, are addressing gaps and improved thought processes through the development of apps. At the Salesforce event, vendors with a myriad of solutions to enhance the Salesforce engine populated the trade show floor. Yet, the App Exchange, and the overall abundance of apps it delivers, brings a mix of good and bad news.

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First, the good news:

  • The Salesforce App Exchange has 2,281 apps available today
  • More apps are being developed every day
  • Excitement is generated by new ideas
  • Apps increase the speed at which functionality can be realized
  • App Exchange Apps are tested and verified to work with the Salesforce engine

Now, the bad news:

  • Users see apps as a quick way to try something new
  • Desire to move quickly outweighs defining business need
  • “There is an App Store Attitude.”  I can try it and if it doesn’t work, I’ll move on to something else
  • Adding new functionality can be a distraction from ensuring the basics are taken care of
  • There is a limited sense of financial impact

The App Exchange is a fantastic tool and the collective mind share that is being utilized to create subscription-based functionality is impressive.  But the group or individual who owns your CRM deployment must be certain that acquisition of any functionality is evaluated for need and fit before moving it into an enterprise CRM environment.

Before jumping on the app train, be certain that your organization:

  • Articulates business needs
  • Ensures the app fits into an enterprise deployment
  • Conducts a cost/benefit analysis to understand if you will get value out of the app
  • Understands the impact of rolling out additional functionality
  • Defines how you will measure the benefits of using the app
  • Avoids chasing the next bright idea and wasting investment
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