Why Salesforce for ISVs makes so much sense.

To help understand why Salesforce for ISVs makes so much sense here is a question; If software is all about solving a business problem why wouldn’t you want to develop and service your solution with a mature framework and delivery platform where the development and delivery problems have already been solved?

But my developers prefer [insert prefered] framework and the [insert prefered] hosting partner¦ they provide us with the flexibility, resilience, security and scalability we need.

Sure, I have heard that a hundred times over too and in fact just a couple of years ago I recall saying something similar and its true there is not one solution that fits all. My point in this post is to encourage independent software vendors (ISVs) or companies with a great problem solving software idea to consider the Salesforce platform, its huge suite of tools and its huge marketing potential. Salesforce for ISVs makes so much sense because Salesforce goes a long way to provide a toolset that suits almost any software application.

Let’s dip a toe in the Salesforce for ISVs water, I will try to keep it high level.

The Salesforce Platform as a Service (PaaS)

If you don’t follow Salesforce you might not know about the technologies they have to support ISVs. When you hear the name Salesforce most people immediately think CRM for salespeople¦ right? Salesforce worked hard to get that reputation and I don’t think thats going to go away anytime soon. Trouble is it can drive techies and development teams away, it doesn’t sound much like a platform as a service does it? And developers like funky names and pull faces when they hear corporate speak it’s just the way they are. A funky odd name and terminology helps elevate them above a level of normal understanding. I say that from experience, I am ( Replace(/am/i, was)) a developer and have worked with and managed a number of development teams in my time.

The thing is the Salesforce platform has a whole host of developer and delivery technologies primed and ready for companies who have a great software idea, or enhancement to, or integration with, the Salesforce application. And it’s worth pointing out straight away that doesn’t mean that a customer needs to see or interact with the Salesforce application at all. How that looks is entirely up to the ISV and something that would be based on the ISVs target audience.

Following is a list of Salesforce technologies that are designed to support ISVs when considering the question why Salesforce for ISVs, with a brief summary of each. The is by no means an exhaustive list or indeed a detailed summary for each but it hopefully gives you an idea of how things are glued together.

Salesforce1 (SF1)

This is Salesforce’s latest technology re-wrap. SF1 brings together the following technologies and platforms: Salesforce.com, Force.com, Heroku and ExactTarget.

SF1 is delivered to desktop computers but is designed to be responsive, which means the user interface scales and is optimised for mobile devices and tablets also.

Force.com

Force.com is designed to be a platform as a service (PaaS), it allows developers to create multi-tenanted add-ons that integrate into the main Salesforce.com application. As you would expect Force.com is hosted and delivered entirely from the Salesforce.com infrastructure.

In a recent release of Force.com the technology has been extended to include support for the open source Aura framework in a guise known to Salesforce developers as Lightning components. According to Salesforce this an alternative to but not a replacement for VisualForce pages.

Lightning

A recent addition to the family the Lightning App Builder is designed to aide rapid application development of responsive web interfaces for desktop and mobile devices.

VisualForce

The visual layer of an application or module designed to be integrated with the Salesforce application. VisualForce provides a markup style language allowing the developer to interact with the business logic, controller methods and data access to create custom pages that a customer interacts with. Technologies like HTML5 and CSS3 can be wrapped to create a responsive custom style.

Heroku

Listed as a component of SF1 Heroku, acquired by Salesforce in 2010, based on Debian Linux is a scalable cloud platform (PaaS) that supports several programming languages including Ruby, JAVA, Node.js, Scala, Clojure, PHP, and Python. Heroku has a Salesforce connector allowing Heroku apps to seamlessly synchronise Salesforce data bi-directionally making it simple to build customer facing apps that span both Heroku and Salesforce.

The Salesforce platform continues to grow and expand to support independence, providing what you would expect from a leading platform as a service. However, it may be important for your app to be tightly integrated and completely dependant on the Salesforce application.  The point is, there is a choice.

So why would you want to consider Salesforce for ISVs as an option? Consider the following benefits:

  • A completely managed platform with scalability, reliability, resilience and consistency
  • Military grade security and privacy
  • Rapid application development
  • Powerful application deployment
  • A mature and rich development toolkit for almost every major technology
  • Comfort knowing that you will be partnering with a global company
  • A marketing force like no other

.. to name a few.

The App Exchange

This is certainly worth a mention. What happens to your app after it has been developed is ultimately one of the most important things you will do. How will you get it into the hands of your paying customers?

The App Exchange, also known as the number 1 business app marketplace, is growing rapidly and if you app fits within the Salesforce ecosystem (most business apps do) then there is no doubt that you should be publishing your app on the App Exchange. You can take advantage of the platforms ability to market your application to the millions of users and companies around the globe already subscribed to the Salesforce application.

Consider this; of the 2,775 apps (as of June 2015) currently advertised on the App Exchange there have been more than 3 million installs applications such as LinkedIn navigator, integration tools for Gmail to DocuSign the global standard for e-Signatures. If your target audience is in the business world then there is no doubt that you will benefit from this window to the enterprise massively!

Conclusion

So to summarise, Salesforce for ISVs is real, and although this post only touches on some of the technologies that can be used to develop and deliver your application on the Salesforce platform the platform should be explored.

You can of course evaluate the Salesforce platform yourself but the team at apptituda would recommend that if you need help answering the question ‘why Salesforce for ISVs?’, that you reach out and talk to us about your plans. We have a team of experts at your disposal who have years of experience in delivering software solutions on the Salesforce platform as well as a team of marketing experts to help build your killer go-to-market strategy. As a premium service integrator we can offer very complete, cost effective, scalable packages to suit your exacting requirements.

About Apptituda

Apptituda helps software providers and Force.com customers get even better value from their Salesforce Applications so they can accelerate benefits realisation, plan with confidence for the future and focus on core business.

We provide an end-end implementation service from go-to-market strategy through design and Force.com development to AppExchange packaging and then in-market product support.

We build software following Agile principles using expert Salesforce developers and we prefer to work closely with our customers through regular stand-ups, demos and iterative sign-off, always with market and end-users in mind.  To keep costs low, we deliver through a blended offshore-onshore delivery model.

We guarantee success in the Salesforce Security Review and can offer fixed price packages at all phases from strategy to packaging.

Visit www.apptituda.com or call us to see how we can help you maximise Force.com for the benefit of your business.

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