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The Enterprise System Spectator

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Salesforce.com's AppExchange proving its viability for developers

Bruce Richardson at AMR Research notes the rapid growth and adoption of new applications available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange platform.

By way of review, AppExchange is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) infrastructure and application development platform on which Salesforce.com runs. Salesforce.com has also made this platform available for software developers to write, market, and sell new applications that can be integrated by means of SOA with Salesforce.com itself, with other apps on AppExchange, or even with external applications that comply with SOA standards.

Richardson writes,
When [AppExchange] went live [in January 2006], there were more than 150 applications available. More than 1,500 applications were installed in the first week, and customers took more than 75,000 test drives to try them all out.

By April 20th, AppExchange had grown to 188 applications, with 7,100 installations and more than 100,000 test drives. The current numbers are 317 applications, nearly 14,000 installations, and more than 143,000 test drives. One executive said that the Kieden deal has focused a lot of eyes on AppExchange, providing a sharp boost to downloads and test drives.

The AppExchange site maintains a list of the five most popular applications. Maybe it's the free price, but four of the most popular are provided gratis by salesforce.com. These include dashboards to track user adoption, project and issue management, sales quote support, and advanced call scripting.
Are all these new products built on AppExchange just toys? It doesn't appear so. According to another AMR research note, by Robert Bois, a start-up called Kieden launched a search marketing application earlier this year on AppExchange, which "allows users to buy Google ad words directly from within the CRM application and then track the closed-loop process for identifying productivity of leads from the campaign, all the way down to account level."

Kieden started in development in January, funded entirely by the founders own cash. This month the firm was acquired by none other than Salesforce.com. Whatever the price, which was not disclosed, going nine months from start up to acquisition sounds like a pretty good deal and it would seem to be a proof case for SaaS as a new route to value for enterprise software developers.

Related posts
Computer Economics: The Business Case for Software as a Service
SAP and Salesforce.com: opposing application platforms
Salesforce.com offers development sandbox
Salesforce.com set to strike out with AppExchange?

by Frank Scavo, 8/27/2006 05:09:00 PM | permalink | e-mail this!

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