Salesforce adds enhanced functionality to its app store and eyes the 7m download milestone

Salesforce Logo on wall of office Reception

Salesforce has unveiled a range of improvements to its AppExchange marketplace, each designed to help its ecosystem of customers and partners make data-driven, informed decisions much more efficiently.

There are two key tenets to the changes, one focused on consultant acquisition and the other designed to provide better insight for partners.

The first, dubbed Consultants on AppExchange, is essentially an enhanced search functionality that matches customer requirements with the appropriate results - whether that be location, expertise, rating and so on.

This search element is live as of now on the AppExchange and was delivered in response to growing demand from customers wanting the information it now presents - previously, the data was only easily located internally, meaning customers had to contact their Salesforce account managers. Now, however, it is very much self-service, Woodson Martin, general manager, of the Salesforce AppExchange told Cloud Pro today during an interview at Salesforce World Tour London.

The second element, called AppExchange Partner Intelligence, provides higher levels of insight into how customers and potential customers are interacting and consuming what the app marketplace has to offer. For example, partners can see if someone has downloaded a trial version but not used it.

Martin, who has been with Salesforce for 14 years but was appointed to his current role in March, told Cloud Pro: "One of my early observations in the role is that the ecosystem is vast and incredibly rich. One of the questions I've been asking is 'What can we do to open up and make visible more of the richness of the ecosystem to make it easier to do the job of TrailBlazing.

"Our customers are trying to solve problems in their business and we just need to make it easier for them to do that. So, everything that we're announcing today is aimed at that objective. Customers are very excited about it and the partners are also excited because in an ecosystem as rich as this one, how do you find your way? And how do you stand out? This is a great opportunity for all players."

Given that there have been 6.5 million installations from the AppExchange thus far, the ability to derive greater insight into what happens post download will be of great value to many. The app-specific analytical element will be made generally available - with security approved apps - from June, while wider marketplace analytics will arrive this summer.

"Magnet360 has long been dedicated to ensuring our customers can succeed on the Salesforce Platform, and as the Salesforce economy grows, so has the demand for implementation expertise," said Matt Meents, CEO and Founder of Salesforce Platinum consulting partner Magnet360.

"With nearly 90% of Salesforce customers using at least one AppExchange app, making our consulting services available and easily searchable through AppExchange opens the door for us to help more companies with their Salesforce needs."

While the 6.5 million download figure was - correctly - quoted at the time of Salesforce's AppExchange announcement, during Martin's interview with Cloud Pro he said that the firm had celebrated the 6.8 million mark this week. The next milestone? Seven million downloads, which is fast-approaching, according to Martin.

"If you go to the homepage of the AppExchange - down at the bottom - it will tell you exactly how many people have installed applications. You can actually see, in real time, what's happening in the ecosystem," he said.

"It's pretty exciting because last night it crossed 6.8 million. That's a milestone and we're excited about getting to seven pretty soon."

With more than 5,000 listings - ranging from apps to solutions, components, templates and more - the AppExchange has evolved considerably in its decade-plus life so far. There are more than 65,000 Salesforce-accredited consulting professionals providing guidance to the Salesforce ecosystem via the AppExchange and other routes and the cloud giant is hoping to swell this figure to 250,000 by 2022 - the continued evolution of the AppExchange will play a critical role here, according to Martin.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.