Tomorrow, Salesforce will roll out Private AppExchange. Developed in response to customer demand, the program allows companies to create customized app stores that will allow them to manage their employees' applications and ensure secure delivery and use across the enterprise.
With the service, employees could self-install all the company-approved applications they need. They could also request access for unapproved apps. IT departments, which up until now have used a ticketing system to set up installations, can either approve requests manually or set up workflows that will allow for automatic approval.
"At the end of the day, this product is all about empowering the CIO to say 'yes,'" says Sara Varni, Salesforce’s senior director of product marketing. "They don't want to create bottlenecks, they want to give instant access to the users."
The AppExchange is also a step towards bringing the ease of consumer app stores to the enterprise. Instead of a few clicks to Candy Crush, Varni illustrates, it will be tap and install for a salesperson to install Docusign. The applications will also work with Salesforce Identity, eliminating the need for multiple log-ins for more than one application. That will be particularly helpful for customers working across mobile, tablets, and PC. "I think people want to be able to get apps in their work lives just as easily as they can in their personal lives," explains Varni, noting that there will also be Chatter reviews of apps, just like consumer app stores.
The Private AppExchange will also encourage discovery among employees, a potential boon for app developers trying to gain visibility for their applications. Employees will be able to see all applications, including ones not in their permission set. "The huge thing here is that you are going to uncover applications that people in the enterprise might not have even known existed before," Varni confirms.
A report from Gartner earlier this year, "Enterprise App Stores Can Increase the ROI of the App Portfolio," projected that a quarter of enterprises will have their own app stores by 2017, but noted that it will require a shift in control that must be embraced by IT professionals.
Enterprise-level customers will receive access to the Salesforce Private AppExchange for free. Other users can be added for $5 per month per user. Salesforce did not do a beta version for the AppExchange, instead relying on the feedback of current clients. The Private AppExchange for Web and mobile apps will go live Nov. 1.