AppExchange 101 – Become One with AppExchange!
AppExchange is the marketplace for all things Salesforce! The items on the Exchange include Apps, Lightning Components, Flow solutions and Bolts. Wait! What? Bolts? What is a Bolt? Did the word give you a jolt? No worries, keep reading to learn and grow!
One of the objectives of AppExchange is to help you resolve the dilemma between ‘Buy vs Build’. Most of us have become accustomed to Amazon for our online shopping! AppExchange is no different, just a bit better! This is because, unlike at Amazon, on AppExchange, you can avail yourself to free apps, ‘Try before you buy’ and, most importantly, reach out, directly from AppExchange itself, to the Success Community! There, you can tap on trusted fellow Ohanians – who may have posted reviews of the Apps on AppExchange – and learn more about Apps before you buy! This is just one of the great features of AppExchange and there are many more!
Indeed, the name AppExchange does not accurately reflect the fact that the marketplace has grown exponentially from offering just Apps. Now, one can hire a Consultant, download a Flow Process, Lightning Components, Lightning Data and yes Bolts and more! Oh, Bolts again?!
Well, let us pause here and unravel the mystery of Lightning Bolts. Bolts are Industry-specific solutions that are built by Salesforce Partners. But, what sets Bolts apart from Apps, in addition to the fact that the Bolts are tailored to an industry/sub-industry specific use case is that, industry best practices are baked-in the Bolts!
So, to align itself with the changing nature of AppExchange, and thereby, improve user experience, Salesforce now describes AppExchange as consisting of two kinds of listings: Solutions and Consultants. As a result, an App would fall under the Solutions Category and, hiring an expert to design a tailored solution for your business use case can be found under the Consultants Category. Growth of AppExchange, and its impact on users and business entities alike, is difficult to overstate. And, hence, it prompted me to write the blog!
When one is under pressure of a looming deadline and project backlog, it is tempting, and understandable, to jump on the AppExchange and start searching for an App by typing a few words in the search bar that, you may think, would render names of few apps that magically turns out to be just right for your business use case! Resist the temptation to save time! Salesforce spends an enormous amount of time to curate apps on AppExchange! Leverage the structure to streamline your AppExchange experience by availing yourself to either ‘Recommended for You’ Tab or ‘Solution by Type’ Tab. Use these tabs as starting points (see image below).
Great! Nice to know that you were able to resist the temptation – congrats! After exploring Apps suggested under the ‘Recommended for You’ tab, you find a handful of Apps that seem to be a good fit for your business use case. So, how do you select the one that is right? That is correct, we are now all used to it – rely on reviews!!!
People like you and me, past users of the Apps, post their reviews on AppExchange regularly. Keep in mind that most of these folks are active on the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. Their words hold value as their reputation in the community is tied to it!! So, once you like an App, hover your cursor on the bottom right corner of an App’s image/listing and then click on ‘More’.
Once there, read about Apps details. But, more importantly, on the ‘Review’ subtab, read reviews.
Know that the AppExchange is integrated with the Salesforce success community! That means that, from AppExchange, you can directly jump on to the Success Community! So, from the review page, you can click on a reviewer’s name and check them out on the success community! More likely than not, you may be able to ask the reviewer questions about the review! As you well know, Ohanians are known to go above and beyond to oblige each other! And Voila! You elicit the needed information to make an informed decision to design a solution for your business use case! Happy Appying!
Yes, you are happy! You finally found an App that aligns with your business use case. But, now what? How do you start using it? Well, you can download the App either in your Sandbox or directly into your Production (not recommended!). Below is a quick tutorial on how to download an App on your Salesforce instance.
To download the App, click on the ‘Get it Now’ button on the App of your choice.
Next, you will be presented with three choices: (1) Install for Admins Only; Install for All Users; or, Install for Specific Profiles…
At this point, it may be prudent to not only install the App in your Sandbox but to also opt for ‘Install for Admins Only’ option. Once you are sure that the App is a keeper then, you can share access to the App to either all Users or to specific Profile(s) based on the needs of your business. That is it, it is that simple!
So, next time you are at a fork of ‘Buy or Build’ don’t panic! Test drive the Buy option by leveraging Apps on the AppExchange. Do your homework and due diligence before installing an App. Yes, doing due diligence