Building Salesforce ... With Salesforce!

September 24, 2018 Glenn Weinstein, CIO, Appirio



With its App Cloud platform and AppExchange, Salesforce revolutionized the idea of add-on applications for enterprise software. In the old days, building plug-ins for SAP, or Oracle, or Peoplesoft meant getting your app to work in every customer's specific installed instance. With Salesforce's multi-tenant cloud approach, it was suddenly possible to build a plug-in just once, and know it would work with any customer's instance.

This was one of our biggest motivations for starting Appirio back in 2006. In addition to building a consultancy, we wanted to become a new kind of independent software vendor (ISV), tailored for a market where you only had to build and troubleshoot your software once, and you could be confident it would work for all customers. We wanted Appirio to be the first of a new breed of partner, where we supplied consulting services and products to customers of Salesforce.

Back to our roots

We started our ISV journey with AppExchange apps for syncing Salesforce with Google's G Suite and Amazon's S3 storage cloud. At one time, Appirio's apps all held positions in the Top Ten AppExchange apps. We still sell and support those products today.

Next we turned to Professional Services Automation (PSA). Our consultancy was growing rapidly, and we'd built a custom PSA on Salesforce's App Cloud, because we thought it was important to have your PSA running on the same platform as your CRM. So we decided to commercialize our PSA, and sell it on the AppExchange too.

We ended up selling the PSA product line to FinancialForce back in 2011, and they've done a great job enhancing and selling the product beyond our wildest dreams. Around that time, we also launched CloudSpokes, a crowdsourcing platform we eventually merged with Topcoder. Our consulting business really took off, and we started to focus mostly on consulting. But in our hearts, we always thought of Appirio as an ISV, too.

We still believe customers are best served by consultancies that also offer their own products. And pure cloud architectures like Salesforce's enable this vision. Now, Appirio is getting back to its roots as a Salesforce ISV. We're commercializing another product we originally built on Salesforce for our own use — the Cloud Management Center (CMC) — which manages and measures your Salesforce cloud development projects.  

CMC offers something a little different from the other developer tools in the Salesforce market, and it's really helped our consultancy to deliver thousands of projects with a high degree of repeatability and collaboration. Just as other companies have benefited from using our PSA, we think others could benefit from using CMC.

Other Appirio tools

We're also commercializing some other internal tools Appirio has always relied upon, like our Estimator, which we use to build level-of-effort estimates for our projects. Of course, Estimator runs on the Salesforce App Cloud platform, too.

And we're taking a hard look at some of the industry-specific applications we've built over the years for our customers, and figuring out what we can commercialize for the benefit of others.
Salesforce made me a believer in cloud platform-as-a-service development back in the 2000's with Apex, Visualforce, and SOQL. A new generation of developers has emerged in the 2010's with Salesforce's increasingly sophisticated development platform. We love being a Salesforce ISV, and we think ecosystems like Salesforce's AppExchange are the best way for ISVs to deliver value to enterprise customers.

Learn more about what Appirio can offer your organization on the Appirio Hub. And if you’re attending Dreamforce in San Francisco this year, pop by our booth in Moscone South to get expert knowledge on our ISV status and how it better supports your success.


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