Kevin White is a Senior Programme Architect at Salesforce, advising CIOs and programme teams on Salesforce strategy and business transformation. He joined Salesforce in July 2020 from Capgemini, where he was the UK Head of Salesforce Architecture forming alliances with strategic ISVs to deliver customer outcomes. He was first introduced to the power of the AppExchange when working for an end-user 9 years ago. In this article Kevin discusses 4 Ways CIOs are Using AppExchange to Innovate
There has never been a more challenging time to be a leader in technology. The bottom line is critical; CIOs need to enable revenue generation as much as support existing revenue streams.
At the same time, rapid inventions in technology are reducing the need to solve fundamental structural problems such as hardware maintenance and front end server scalability, with technology services now commoditised and consumed.
This evolution has enabled technology leaders to assemble services that flex and scale with the ever-changing demands of customers. They empower their teams to experiment, iterate, and develop deep partnerships with business stakeholders that coalesce technology decisions with measurable business value.
By 2022, 40% of CIOs will co-lead innovation within their organisations.
As a result, successful technology leaders have become bold decision-makers, trusted to keep their business ahead of the curve and predict customer expectations. By 2022, 40% of CIOs will co-lead innovation within their organisations.
This means it is vital that technology leaders back a platform that supports agility and enables their entire organisation to innovate while keeping business value at its core. As an Architect delivering digital transformation, I’ve seen how the Salesforce platform plus AppExchange creates flexibility and innovation — aligned to business value — to support the goals of technology leadership around the world.
Here are four ways you can lead the change — instead of managing it — with the help of AppExchange.
Empower Your (Whole) Team to Experiment
In an industry where skilled technology professionals are in high demand, acquiring and retaining talent is hard. 79% of IT leaders have never found it harder¹. By creating a culture of experimentation, your team learns new skills while showcasing creative ideas, keeping them engaged and motivated.
Your workforce can experiment with thousands of apps via an AppExchange trial as they innovate. It takes minutes to create a sandbox copy of a Production org, but with no live data or risk of affecting your live systems.
This enables more than your developer community to experiment; admins and BAs can too, as you don’t need to code to use the AppExchange. If you want to level-set your team’s capability to work with the AppExchange, Trailhead can help too.
An empowered team is a productive team, likely to stay together.
Use your CRM Data to Drive Decisions
If you’ve found an idea that works, you’re a few steps away from launching it to part of your customer base in an A/B style test. Unlike procuring a standalone app, you don’t need to build a link back to your customer data. A native AppExchange offering is integrated to your CRM data model.
Your workforce can experiment with thousands of apps via an AppExchange trial as they innovate.
Successful customers experiment with an AppExchange offering and a segment of their customer base. As it links back to your CRM data, you can see whether it’s made a difference to the bottom line and provide a data-driven business case for further investment. If it’s not delivered benefit, it’s easy to reverse without regression.
The need for businesses to pivot has never been greater; technology leaders must support the business with platforms that let them try something new with a clear method to measure value for customers.
Take Inspiration from Your Peers, Competitors, and Alternative Industries
There are many success stories from AppExchange partners and customers — you only need to take a look at the Industry ISV booklets, or the Salesforce events and roadshows that happen globally, for example. ISVs with a deep specialism in their domain are a fruitful source of use cases within your industry.
It’s a great opportunity to see what the competition is doing, plus widen your horizons to gain insights from other industries. All CIOs are juggling the challenges of integration, digital transformation, and innovation. Seeing how they solve these common challenges is sure to seed ideas for your own industry and enable you to challenge the status quo.
Tip: Not sure if an app will work for you? Take advantage of any offered free trial or test drive to experiment and use CRM to make data-driven decisions on your next steps.
Take Innovation to Your Organisation
By 2024, 80% of digitally mature organisations will replace the traditional ‘IT as an enabler’ approach with a self-service model. Provision of a library of tools that are accessible and require low or no code enables your business to respond to market changes without needing to call on IT every time.
Since its launch 15 years ago, the AppExchange supports this approach. You don’t need to write a line of code to enable a new service or capability, delivering an elevated level of agility to support a changing business.
By 2024, 80% of digitally mature organisations will replace the traditional ‘IT as an enabler’ approach with a self-service model.
As an AppExchange offering is a self-contained, functional module, CIOs can bring demonstrable innovation to their peers within the organisation. Are Sales teams struggling to prioritise the right deals? Install a Sales intelligence app and overlay the capability to your opportunity process. Work with the VP of Sales to understand how to maximise the innovation; re-model your Sales forecast and demonstrate the value.
It’s never been a more challenging time to be a leader in Technology. The bottom line is critical; CIOs need to enable revenue generation as much as support existing revenue streams. So it’s vital to back a platform that supports agility, enables your entire organisation to innovate, and keeps business value at its core.
: “Enterprise Technology Trends (2010)”, Salesforce Research, May 2019.