Dare Akande

So, what is AppExchange, really?

Before you browse AppExchange, read this.

When Salesforce professionals endeavour to describe the features of AppExchange, they often point out the shared similarities of AppExchange and AppStore.

The interesting part is—when Salesforce AppExchange started, it was named AppStore, even before Apple’s AppStore came to existence.  As March Benioff tells the story—when he began building AppExchange he was widely inspired by Steve Jobs’ advice to create an ‘app economy’ for Salesforce. Marc followed Steve’s guidance and built the Salesforce marketplace and named it ‘AppStore’. Later on, when Steve Jobs announced the app store for Apple, Marc gifted him the AppStore trademark name along with the AppStore.com domain.

It’s the story of how Salesforce’s ‘app economy’ became the Salesforce AppExchange.


What is AppExchange, really?

AppExchange is an app marketplace for Salesforce.


It is the central point where Salesforce Apps, components and other products such as bolt solutions and flows, are listed for users to install and add to their Salesforce instance.


The purpose of AppExchange is to provide ready-to-use solutions that boost or extend the platform functionality. Apps you find from the AppExchange can be installed directly onto your Salesforce platform for a seamless experience.


Currently, AppExchange hosts over 5000 products, and so far it’s counting product downloads in millions.


And to make it even more attractive—there is absolutely no limit on the number of downloads you can have from the AppExchange.


Who is exchanging the apps on AppExchange?

The most common providers of AppExchange products are independent software vendors or ISV’s. 


Independent Software Vendors are product partners that use the Salesforce platform to create a new application that will provide specific functionality that does not come out of the box with Salesforce. The application can range from a simple dashboard to a more complex holistic solution that solves a  specific industry-related need.


Also, in some cases, you can find solutions that were provided by Salesforce developers, or even Salesforce employees that come together in the form of Salesforce Labs.


The Salesforce Labs apps are free solutions developed by Salesforce employees to assist users in their challenge-solving endeavour. The applications built under Salesforce Labs umbrella are usually unmanaged packages, which gives the users a chance to build upon them and customise to fit their specific need.


To make it simple and easy for new Appexchange users, here are the top 3 things you must know about AppExchnage before you go searching for the product that fits your needs.


3 simple things to remember before you get on AppExchange


  • If you would like to try an app—you can.


Each app runs on only one instance of Salesforce, so you can install the application in your sandbox and have a go at it. You can use it to run tests or train employees, without worrying it will impact the production environment.


  • Some apps will cost you. 


There are few different pricing models available; some are subscription-based, some are a flat, one-time cost and some are free. That said, while some advertise as “free”, they can hold hidden costs if you decide to increase your usage or go over a specified limit.


  • Use the AppExchange to guide you to the right solution.


AppExchange provides personalised recommendations to advise on the best options available, in the form of a Salesforce character called ‘Appy’. In addition to this, you can browse through ‘AppExchange collections’ to find an industry-related or specific departmental app. Finally, you can dig into the AppGuides –  a knowledge-based section that sums up the apps recommended by users themselves.

Final thoughts

We enjoy spending time browsing through apps on AppExchange, and we find it inspiring to watch AppExchange grow.  As you may have read on our blog in the past, we already shared some of our favourite apps and will continue to experience the freshest apps as they are added daily to the AppExchange.


We will continue to share our thoughts as we go along, but in the meantime, share with us—what are your favourite AppExchange products?


About Dare Akande information

Daré is a Salesforce 18 x Certified Salesforce Application & System Architect with over a 
decade of experience working with the 
platform including implementation across 
several household name brands

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