Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Develop your own AppExchange Strategy
  • Successfully navigate the AppExchange
  • Install an app from the AppExchange

Introduction

The AppExchange is an online marketplace where you can browse, test drive, download, and install pre-built apps and components right into your Salesforce environment. There are apps on the AppExchange for every department, role, and budget, including many that are free.

When you’re looking to solve a business problem and you’re evaluating your options, the AppExchange should be on your short list of options to explore. Instead of having to build a solution from scratch, you might find a low-cost or free app that solves your business problem at hand, plus other valuable apps you didn’t even realize existed.

Let’s start with preparing your overall AppExchange strategy.

AppExchange Strategy

Developing a strategy for apps you plan to install is a best practice. This is why we’re purposely starting here instead of taking you shopping on the AppExchange right away. Without an overall strategy, next thing you know, you’ll have three different apps for the same purpose installed in your org.

Follow these steps to develop your AppExchange strategy:

  1. Identify the departments using Salesforce (either now or in the future). These are your primary stakeholders for AppExchange app installations.
  2. Research AppExchange apps for the business cases provided by your stakeholders. Interview your stakeholders thoroughly to gather the requirements needed to select and evaluate the apps. Some good questions to ask include:
    1. What business problem are you trying to solve?
    2. What are your main pain points at present?
    3. How many users?
    4. What is your budget?
    5. What is your timeline?
  3. Download apps into a sandbox or Developer Edition org for preview and testing. An important step is to ensure that the app you’re installing doesn’t interfere with any customizations you’ve done or other apps you’ve already installed. This is also a good time to ensure you don’t already have an app installed that provides the same functionality.
    Note

    Note

    Sandboxes are copies of your organization in a separate environment. They are used for development and testing. See Sandbox Overview.

  4. Evaluate your choices. Consider budget, app functionality, and any feature gaps. Consider inviting your stakeholders into the sandbox or Developer Edition org to preview the app functionality, or invite your stakeholders to a demo of the app.
  5. Execute and document. Prepare your users for the change in user experience (if any), including providing training or documentation as needed.

Navigating the AppExchange

With the AppExchange user interface, you can browse by a number of different groupings, search by keyword, and filter your results. Let’s start by getting to know the interface.

The components of the AppExchange.

[1] Search for apps by keyword.

[2] Return to this home page by clicking the Home link.

[3] Browse free apps.

[4] View Collections, including app collections for Salesforce1, Gamification, Small Business, and Getting Started (for customers new to Salesforce).

[5] View Categories, including Sales, Service, Marketing, Finance, and Analytics.

[6] Browse by Industry, including Nonprofits, Financial Services, Healthcare and Life Sciences, and Media.

[7] Click on any app to view details about that app.

[8] Preview the average rating and number of reviews for the app.

[9] Easily identify if the app is free at a glance.

Once you click on any of the left-hand navigation links, you’ll be directed to a detailed page, which includes optional filters for price, edition, rating, and language. You can also sort your results by popularity, rating, release date, name, or provider, and view results in tile or list view.

The AppExchange detail menu.

When you click into any app, you’ll get a detailed view of that app.

[1] View tabs for a high level overview, details on the app, customer reviews, and information about the provider.

[2] View videos and screenshots for the app.

An app's detail page.

[3] When you’re ready to proceed, click the Get It Now button to install the app.

Installing an App

Once you click Get It Now, the installation wizard will guide you through the steps. During the installation process, you’ll need to make a few decisions. Some of the key ones are:

  • Where should I install, production or sandbox?
    • In general, an AppExchange best practice is to install first in a sandbox or Developer Edition org. A few considerations:
      • Some of the packages come bundled with custom fields, objects, Apex classes, and more.
      • All of these customizations have names, which may conflict with existing names in your org.
    • Now that you know what specifically you’re installing, you can decide where you want to install it.
      Note

      Note

      You can preview all of the components in the package during the installation process.

  • Do you want to give permissions to admins only, all users, or specific profiles?
    • Who should have access to these customizations? This is an area where you may want to do a bit of pre-planning before you install, so you don’t have to make updates to profiles and sharing settings after you install.

Once your installation is successful, you’ll receive an email confirmation. Now you’re ready to go!

Accessing Installed Packages

Great! You successfully installed your app. But wait, where is it?

Here’s how to find what you just installed:

  1. From Setup, enter Installed Packages in the Quick Find box, then select Installed Packages.
  2. Click on the name of your installed package, this will be the same name on the page where you downloaded the package from the AppExchange [1].
    The Installed Packages page.
  3. Click View Components [2].
    The Package detail page.
  4. This opens the Package Details page where you can see all of the components, including custom fields, custom objects, apex classes, and more.

Other Considerations

As you’re exploring the AppExchange, be sure to check out free apps from provider Salesforce Labs. You’ll see these apps when browsing the ‘Free’ section of the AppExchange. The great thing about Salesforce Labs apps, besides being free, is that they’re open source, which means you can customize them as needed, and peek under the hood to see how they work. To that last point, Salesforce Labs apps can be a great resource as you’re learning how to configure and customize the platform.

In addition, some apps contain tabs, fields, objects, and more. There are governors and limits in Salesforce, which your org is subject to. Apps can either be managed or unmanaged, and your overall limits are affected in different ways depending on which one you choose. When you’re installing any app, keep your limits in mind. You can learn more about this topic by viewing the AppExchange Installation Guide.

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