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Summary

Salesforce launched its AppExchange in 2006, taking a lead over more established software vendors, which have since developed their own ecosystems. On May 2, 2017, Salesforce announced a new AppExchange Partner Program, designed to help it accelerate innovation and increase the relevance of its CRM platform by unlocking the potential of Einstein on a massive scale.

Salesforce turns on the innovation afterburners for AppExchange

The value of a growing and thriving co-innovation ecosystem is that, when well directed, it massively broadens and accelerates innovation for the ecosystem leader, in this case Salesforce, and opens new opportunities for the ecosystem partners (ISVs and developers) to grow their businesses.

Salesforce continues to innovate and augment its CRM platform and now, with the advent of Einstein, has repositioned it as the Intelligent Customer Success Platform. The battle for in-app intelligence has been spurred on by enterprise demand to engage with customers in contextually relevant ways across any combination of interaction channels. Leading CRM suites are morphing into intelligent customer engagement hubs. Among the leading vendors is a fierce battle to take the omnichannel high ground, and that requires embedded artificial intelligence to drive those contextually relevant interactions.

The introduction of Einstein in 2016 and continuous modernization of the Customer Success Platform places Salesforce at the top table for the omnichannel fight. Under the new AppExchange Partner Program, Salesforce makes it much easier to attract and onboard ecosystem partners and direct their innovation focus, through its new points system, to where the market is heading – intelligent, real-time, and orchestrated customer engagement to create a differentiated experience.

By speeding up the onboarding process and providing access to Salesforce technology training, transparent incentives and lower participation costs, and a $100m war chest for investment in AI-driven solutions, Salesforce hopes to increase its relevance beyond the traditional departmental CRM domain. It has, in effect, turned on the innovation afterburners.

Appendix

Further reading

"Salesforce ignites co-innovation to support purposeful digital transformation," IT0020-000269 (March 2017)

"Salesforce makes a relatively big splash with Einstein," IT0014-003259 (April 2017)

Salesforce Customer Success Platform – Through the Omnichannel Lens, IT0020-000238 (December 2016)

Author

Jeremy Cox, Principal Analyst Customer Engagement Practice

jeremy.cox@ovum.com

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