The App Powerhouse that Benioff Built

5 min read

Ten years ago today, Marc Benioff and his team launched the Salesforce AppExchange. At the time he noted,The iPod is to the iTunes Music Store what AppExchange is to the platform.” A combination of hardware and software, the AppExchange gave new market entrants the foundation needed to accelerate application development, time to market, and existing players a new avenue to build awareness and ultimately sales. Xactly was fortunate enough to be one of those companies. In fact, Xactly IncentTM was one of the first applications available on the Salesforce AppExchange following its launch on this day in 2006. Since then, the platform has remained a catalyst for connecting Xactly with hundreds of happy customers around the world. Today, Xactly’s solutions feature close to 200 reviews on the AppExchange with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating or better. But the benefits of the AppExchange go far beyond what it has done for Xactly. In fact, I believe it was a change agent for the entire cloud technology landscape in a number of ways. For starters it lowered the barrier of entry for new market players to build and launch applications. Prior, companies (including mine) had to raise funds to cover the price of hardware and other technologies needed to support their applications… often before development could even really begin. This was not only costly, but also time consuming. The AppExchange helped introduce the idea of “rent” in the cloud. New entrants could utilize the strong hardware and security foundation that Salesforce had built for the AppExchange as their foundation. This significantly reduced the cost, time, and effort to get new applications on the market. It also provided customers a single destination where they could go and “shop” for cloud applications. Not only were applications pre-vetted from a technology standpoint, they feature customer ratings and reviews. Think of how important role reviews play in researching and selecting consumer products such as mobile phones. This brought the same concept to the enterprise. This was transformational in the industry as it enabled customers to quickly and confidently find select applications they would have otherwise spent hours researching – if they even knew they existed. With this, customers could easily pick and choose the applications they needed to supercharge various business functions – and know they would work seamlessly together. For example, we have a number of customers who have leveraged the AppExchange to buy and integrate sales applications such as Salesforce for CRM, Xactly for Sales Performance Management, and SteelBrick for Configure, Price and Quote. For the first time, these linked applications offered organizations a clear view into their own customers and data from initial point of contact through to final sale and payment – this kind of insight has been game changing. But don’t take our word for it – read some of our customer’s reviews: Today, the idea of an “application store” has become mainstream – both in the consumer and enterprise worlds. But 10 years ago, the AppExchange was a revolutionary approach to connecting and furthering a growing cloud marketplace. Saleforce is one of Xactly’s longest standing partners, an amazing customer and even one of our earliest investors. Our AppExchange journey has been an exciting ride and we can’t wait to see what the next decade brings. Congratulations Salesforce and AppExchange!