Welcome back to this mini-series on the AppExchange! Part 1 looked at what the AppExchange is and how it can help your org and career. Part 2 provided tips on finding and selecting apps. In this final part, I’ll share some of my personal favourite types of Apps. Hopefully some of these gems will help you with your implementation. Let’s begin!
Benefits: Protect data and metadata against accidents & threats. Reduce downtime. Compliance.
Having a robust backup process for data and metadata is key (click here). Whilst there are out-the-box tools, they often have limitations. For example, lacking scalability, frequency, or insufficient recovery time.
There are many AppExchange products which can reduce these risks. For example: OwnBackup, Spanning, Odaseva, CloudAlly, etc. Click here for more information.
- Last year, Salesforce announced a new offering; Backup & Restore. This is also worth a look.
- Backup solutions can have useful add-ons. For example, sandbox seeding and data anonymisation
- DevOps solution often offer backup add-ons. See below for more information
Benefits: Productivity, efficiency & resilience. Reduce call handling time. Improved reporting & auditing.
CTI & Contact Centre solutions can provide many benefits. Efficiently handling calls can save money. It can also improve customer satisfaction. Features such as click-to-dial and screen-pops can boost productivity. Automated call recording and logging can help reporting, training and compliance needs.
Such solutions can also have call routing capabilities. This helps ensure that calls go to the right people. Not only does this reduce waiting times; it can improve customer relationships and issue resolution.
Lastly, can CTI helps your team work from anywhere. Whether your team is field or remote based or you are considering business continuity, CTI can help.
Given the many benefits of integrating a phone system with a CRM, there are many to choose from. For example, Vonage, RingCentral, Natterbox and Fastcall, Click here for more information.
Benefits: Quicker & higher quality release management. Scalability. Potential for source control and rollbacks
In recent years, DevOps tools have become increasingly prominent in the Salesforce world. Standard, out of the box tools for deploying changes, such as change sets, fulfil their purpose. However, they aren’t without their limitations. This can make changes prone to error and time intensive. DevOps addresses these, and many other challenges. For example:
- Faster and more automated deployments
- Repeatability (i.e. no manually recreating change sets)
- Source control (e.g. integrate into Git repositories)
- Easier identification of dependencies
- Higher quality and reliability in deployments
- Potential for automated testing
- Rollback capabilities
There are various DevOps solutions available on the AppExchange. Click here for more information.
Benefits: Productivity, efficiency, and consistency (reduce errors!)
Over the past 11 years, virtually every org I have seen has used a document generation app. Easily generating documents can save your business a lot of time. Select a template, output format (e.g. Word document, Powerpoint, Excel, Email, PDF, etc) & merge. Voilà, you have a merged document! Some products even allow you to automate template selection and generation. This can really streamline processes!
The AppExchange has many great apps to choose from. For example: Conga, Formstack, Nintex, S-Docs & Docomotion. Click here for more information.
Benefits: Productivity. Secure & paperless. Enforce data standards & reduce errors. Auditability.
Arguably part of document generation. However, I feel e-signing is worthy of its own section. E-signing can have a transformative impact on processes. For example, a recent article from DocuSign reports that:
- 80% of e-sign agreements sent on its platform are signed in less than a day
- 44% are signed in less than 15 minutes!
Benefits: Streamline business processes. Reduce paper. Potential integrations (e.g. payment collection).
Almost every business needs to capture data. Whether it is from employees, customers, suppliers, or anyone else, it often forms the backbone of processes. However, data captured over the phone or post is problematic. It can be time intensive and expensive to process. There is also a risk of error (e.g. typos). In contrast, capturing data via electronic forms can remove most of these risks.
As with e-signing, I have seen form building solutions have a transformative impact on businesses. Send a form, capture the data needed (and validate it) and then synchronise direct into Salesforce. This can reduce a lot of your team’s administrative effort. Furthermore, electronic forms can have even more benefits. For example, imagine sending a form to a customer, capturing the data and collecting payment in one go. This frees your team to start the work quicker and deliver the experience your customers expect.
Products such as FormAssembly, Formstack, Form Titan and 123FormBuilder have been around a while. Each offer an array of great features to help your data capture needs. Click here for more information on Form Building solutions.
Benefits: Explore options and ways to improve your system, for free!
There are many different types of free apps available. Use the filters within search to see the options available. More on this here.
I would especially recommend checking out apps by Salesforce labs. Salesforce labs is a programme which allows Salesforce employees to share apps they’ve created. Whilst not supported by Salesforce, they are worth a look. In particular:
- Time Warp: A CRM gives us a 360-degree view of our stakeholders. That said, it can be difficult to get a timeline of events. This is where Time Warp comes in. This relatively new app allows you to map out related records, on a timeline. I am hoping to write a post about this soon, so stay tuned!
- Salesforce Adoption Dashboard: This simple app can be invaluable if you are at the beginning of your Salesforce Journey. It includes a number of Reports and Dashboards to help you track how Salesforce is being adopted in your business
- Round Robin Assigner: Assigning records evenly to different people is a common request. This App helps automate this process and is able to be used in Process Builder and Flow. Worth checking out!
- Multi-Factor Authentication Dashboard: All Salesforce customers are contractually obligated to use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) by the 1st of February, 2022. Click here for more information. Depending on your approach to MFA, this Dashboard can give you helpful metrics to check you are on track
Benefits: Faster responses from stakeholders. Auditing. Deflect calls. Improve scheduled meeting attendance
Emails aren’t always the best way to contact your stakeholders. For example, an article by Forbes in 2019 claimed:
- Text messages have a 98% open rate. This compares with 20% for email
- 90% of people open and read texts within 3 minutes of receiving it
- These headline statistics are quite eye-opening. I have also seen how effective such platforms can be first hand. Of course, their effectiveness will depend on your audience and your approach. However, if appropriate, messaging through SMS, WhatsApp and Messenger can make a huge difference. This applies for sales, marketing and service.
Integrating solutions into Salesforce can be very powerful. For example, automate reminders. You can also use these tools to interact with customers on a 1:1 or 1: many basis, etc. There are many use cases.
Summary: your journey has only just begun...
I cannot possibly summarise all of the options available on the AppExchange! For example, I have not touched upon Outlook integration, marketing, business analysis tools and duplicate management. There are so many possibilities. Nonetheless, I hope this series of posts has given you a taste of the opportunities available in the AppExchange!
I hope this has been useful! If it has, please join the SFDC Penguin LinkedIn Group for regular tips and updates!
Until next time, thanks for reading! Richard
Bonus Penguin Fact
Emperor Penguins are the largest species of Penguin alive today. When hunting, they can hold their breath for 20-30 minutes and can reach depths of 457 meters! However, what is even more interesting is how they prepare to ‘launch’ out of the water.
Check out this video to learn how Penguins use air in their feathers to propel themselves out of the water; at as much as twice their normal swimming speeds!
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