A Salesforce App is for life... Not just for Christmas

A Salesforce App is for life... (not just for Christmas)

In this post, I'll run through a few of the considerations you might want to consider before installing a new Salesforce app.

An App for everything - AppExchange

One of the biggest strengths of Salesforce.com is the number of Apps available on the AppExchange which has been running for 10 years now. 

Salesforce puts a huge amount of effort into maintaining their eco-system of partner developers who create Apps that extend the core functionality of the platform.

AppExchange was 10 years old January 2016

At the latest count, Salesforce customers had installed over 3 million apps from the AppExchange and the number of Apps available has just passed 3,000.

AppExchange stats showing on AppExchange September 2016

Check the numbers

With the ease of installation and the number of apps available growing daily it is really tempting to think 'app first' for any new functionality needed.

However, there are a few considerations I would recommend you think through before deciding on a new app.
  1. How many users will need this app? 
  2. Does the app charge a license per user or one license for the entire organisation?
  3. How long will you need the app for?
  4. Will the app delivery all the functionality you need or will additional apps be required?
  5. Can the app be easily removed at a later stage?
  6. Is Salesforce likely to deliver this functionality in future?

A fictional example

Universal Containers (who now have their own Twitter account) need to automatically order new Paint for their containers whenever a new one is sold.

Let's imagine that there isn't an easy way to do this in Salesforce out of the box, but you've found a cool app called NewPaint2Go which does this.

  • The app costs $20 per month per user.
  • So, if your sales team consisted of 20 people your run rate for the app would be $4,800 dollars per year.
  • If you needed the app for the next 3 years you'd be looking at an overall investment of $14,400.

Buying versus Building

Going back to the previous example of NewPaint2Go, if a freelance Salesforce Developer estimated they could custom build the functionality required for $10,000 you may well have opted for the much-cheaper app.

However, in this instance the $10,000 investment would have paid back in just 2 years. Would that change your decision on buying an app versus building?


Apps offer a huge amount of flexibility and speed of deployment. You can very quickly take advantage of powerful new functionality that a whole team from a dedicated Salesforce partner has worked on rather than reinventing the wheel each team.

It's always worth running the maths and comparing costs against customisation particularly if no app completely meets your needs, or whether your functionality is required for a large number of your users.

Happy 'Apping!

Icon from Iconfinder, artist Pixan