Jacob Rouser
Sep 28, 2018

One of our favorite keynotes every year at Dreamforce is the AppExchange Partner Keynote and it kicked off DF18. The theme, “Harness the Power of Network Effects and Ecosystems,” echoed our findings in our 2nd annual State of AppExchange Partners Report which explores how network effects are continuing to power the growth of the AppExchange and its partners.

If you would like to see the keynote in full, here is a link to the recorded presentation. Below are highlights from the session and how they can help new and existing partners succeed.

Growth and Network Effects

Just like many of its partner organizations, the AppExchange continues to grow. In fact, the ecosystem is growing at an impressive 48%! This, combined with 88% of all Salesforce customers and 89% of Fortune 100 companies using at least 1 AppExchange product, has created the perfect environment for network effects to take place, which acts as a growth multiplier.

The engine driving these network effects and the AppExchange is composed of three main parts: customers, installs, and solutions.

The engine behind network effect

Salesforce has over 150K customers around the globe in nearly every industry and these customers are looking to solve specific business problems with solutions from the AppExchange. When a customer installs a solution, this creates a new connection between the solution provider (you), the customer, and Salesforce. As customers continue to install new solutions, new companies are incentivized to innovate on the Salesforce platform and the AppExchange. The net result: a harmonious cycle is created between all three parties.

This harmonious cycle has enabled the AppExchange to surpass 6 million installs.

AppExchange surpasses 6 million installs

As we found out in our 2nd Annual State of AppExchange Partners Report, 82% of respondents are seeing an increase in both top line revenue and revenue growth rate, which means they are experiencing growth due to these network effects.

Because an application solves business problems on and with Salesforce, customers expect to see the same level of innovation from your apps as they do from Salesforce. Mike Rosenbaum, EVP Product at Salesforce urges you to leverage the latest technology for your apps and incorporate the newest features.

Salesforce explains how partners can achieve this innovation in two ways:

  • Enhance what you already have. Make your application(s) richer and stickier for your customers
  • Extend your applications in new ways by building new solutions on the AppExchange.

Expand your business with ISV technology

Industry vs Horizontal Solutions

It should come as no surprise that the next big thing that Salesforce is focused on is industry solutions — specifically seven core industries: Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail and CPG, Government, Transportation and Hospitality, and Media & Communications.

Salesforce Industry Solutions

A partner thinking about new ways to work with Salesforce has two ways of approaching these core industries:

  • Look to industries outside of Salesforce’s focus.
  • Or dig deeper into Salesforce’s identified industries.

The second option is potentially more interesting as Salesforce is looking for ecosystems within each of these industries to help grow, creating an opportunity for your business to grow alongside them.

If you don’t offer an industry solution, but rather a horizontal solution, there’s no need to worry — Salesforce still loves solutions for every department and process. Salesforce is made up of horizontal solutions and feels there is no end to the business opportunity in this category.

AppExchange Updates

Heather Conklin, VP Product Management at Salesforce, shared exciting AppExchange updates that make gaining new customers, automating processes, and analyzing all aspects of your listing much easier.

She introduced a few quick wins to help customers find your app by using intelligent recommendations and guided learning paths.

Drive smarter engagement with AppExchange

While these updates will absolutely help drive customers to your listing, Partner Analytics presented a juicier offering to marketers.

Partner Analytics

The introduction of Partner Analytics is a long-awaited update that allows companies to have insight on all aspects of their AppExchange listings.

Introducing partner analytics

You’ll be able to see and analyze:

  • How customers got to your listing
  • What they did once they got there
  • What search terms they are using to look for your app
  • What search terms they are using when installing your app
  • And much more!

If you want to see the tool in action, you can go to 33:20 minutes into the recording of the keynote. You can also view Salesforce’s press release on the Partner Analytics Dashboard here.

Lightning Flows

Currently, 86% of installed applications are Lightning Ready. Plus, there are more than 700 features only available in Lightning. If all of this still isn’t enough to convince the minority of apps to switch to Lightning, the introduction of Lightning Flows most likely will be.

The brand new Lightning Flow Builder allows customers to automate really complex business processes in their org in an easy drag-and-drop functionality. Processes can also connect out to 3rd party systems.

Lightning Flow actions on AppExchange

LIghtning Flows enables ISVs to market solutions that are targeted to Admins, a key persona for ISVs to consider. Admins are incredibly important within the ecosystem as they are often charged with designing and implementing the business requirements of the business. These solutions leverage the power of Salesforce’s “Clicks not code” mantra and ISVs are now a key component of it. Companies like Twilio, Optum, and nCino rely on this functionality to support their implementations.

Lightning Flows can be put into your current application, or they can be packaged and sold separately on the AppExchange just like Lightning Components. Connecting your applications together is also possible with Lightning Flow Actions, creating a “connective tissue” that brings all AppExchange apps together.

TaskRay is a partner making the most of Lightning Flows, and they have been able to cut development time by up to 50%. But even more, their customers see a 20% or more reduction in their implementation of TaskRay to automate their processes. This eliminates the company’s need to write custom code to implement their app and allows them to focus on their core business.

You can see a demo of this great tool at 24:15 minutes into the keynote.

Appy Award Winner

At the end of the keynote, the winner of the annual Appy Award was announced. The Appy Award recognizes one AppExchange partner that is most representative of customer success, Salesforce technology, industry innovation, and the spirit of the Ohana. This year’s Appy Award winner was OwnBackup. Congratulations!


All of the insights and updates shared during this keynote demonstrate how rapidly the AppExchange is growing and how network effects are helping to drive the ecosystem forward. You can learn more about how network effects are driving growth in the partner ecosystem in our 2nd Annual State of AppExchange Partners Report.

If you are thinking about taking advantage of the opportunity the AppExchange presents, we are the only organization with 10 years of experience and 220+ applications brought to the AppExchange. Schedule a consultation today.

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