Molly Walsh
Jan 18, 2018
In this series, we’re breaking down key findings from our 2018 State of AppExchange Partners Report, highlighting how successful SaaS companies leverage the Salesforce AppExchange. Download the full report here, or check out these other posts for insights:

Part 1: Product and Company
Part 2: Growth


Our 2018 State of AppExchange Partners Report offered valuable context into how ISV partners succeed and grow.

A crucial piece of that growth is how a company builds and develops to get their solution to market. Because of that, a focus area for us when gathering information was on the technologies and platforms ISV partner respondents are leveraging to deliver apps.

Here are the main findings:

Heads are in the Clouds

While Salesforce’s flagship Cloud remains the most popular, we’re increasingly seeing ISVs develop products on multiple clouds.

Unsurprisingly, 69% of respondents are building through the Sales Cloud, Salesforce’s signature offering and its longest running cloud service. Many expand and differentiate from there, as 61% of respondents are building on more than one cloud for their offering.

Optum Analytics is a great example of success on a specific cloud. The company, which provides a data intelligence solution for health systems, leverages the Health Cloud to provide a superior customer experience. The company’s VP of Product, Sarah London, explains:

“Thinking of patients as consumers is fundamental in how we move forward: patients must be at the center of how we design products,” London said. “Salesforce’s Health Cloud data model and framework allows us to accelerate our roadmap, focus on our clients’ business needs and integrate other AppExchange products and partners to generate a better, more coordinated experience for patients.”

Timing is Everything

The #1 reason why all partners chose to build on Salesforce is time to market, with 36% of respondents indicating it as a primary factor. It’s interesting that while Salesforce enables ISVs to go live relatively quickly, many (especially first-timers) can find the launch process confusing to navigate. Product Development Organizations (PDOs) provide guidance and lend experience to help SaaS companies launch smoother and faster.

If you’re interested in learning more, let’s chat about how our AppExchange Accelerator could help shave a month or more off your launch date.

Don’t PaaS on Heroku

Survey respondents reported that their companies’ composite apps are built with the following: 29% AWS, 13% Heroku, 9% Azure, and 8% on premise. Outside of the AppExchange, AWS has a significantly larger market share for SaaS businesses than alternatives.

That being said, Heroku is a strong second choice for composite applications, showing that the combination of features (like Heroku Connect), discounted pricing, and increased security are differentiating Heroku as an attractive composite-app alternative.

One partner that found a great use case for Heroku is Node; CEO Falon Fatemi chose to deliver her company’s data solution as a Connector partner on the AppExchange, supported by Heroku.

“99% of Node’s application is off-platform,” Fatemi says. “We leverage Heroku for processing data, which our customers prefer as the data remains within the confines of Salesforce.”

For more on Node or about how partners are leveraging the AppExchange, stream our Dreamforce partner panel -- it features Fatemi and other thought leaders talking success strategies and tactics.

There’s Hype Around New Releases

New releases, including Lighting, Einstein, and Salesforce1 Mobile, are generating buzz among leading partners.

These charts add context into partners’ perception on which may be important in building product or generating business outcomes. You’ll see that OEM partners are generally the most bullish, which makes sense: they’ll be among the first to leverage the new functionality. Checkout partners don’t weigh these features as valuable since they tend to be light applications from smaller companies. (Note - Einstein was only recently made available to partners to incorporate into their products at Dreamforce last year, which is reflected in the chart.)

Lightning Development Insights from the State of AppExchange Partners Report

Einstein Development Insights from the State of AppExchange Partners Report

Salesforce 1 Mobile Insights from the State of AppExchange Partners Report

If you’re feeling inspired or need help determining your best technology stack within the Salesforce ecosystem, we’re your go-to resource! Happy to assist where we can in your process if you get in touch with us. Keep an eye out for the next posts in this series or download the report to skip ahead.

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