Widgets, Widgets Everywhere

December 11, 2006 Appirio

We’ve written before regarding the impact of user adoption on realizing value from IT investments, particularly in applications like CRM. Salesforce.com provides a very good CRM user experience – with lots of built-in flexibility – right out of the box. But with Salesforce’s robust web services interfaces, the “very good” becomes great. Sales Sleuth, the free Yahoo! Widget from Appirio, allows sales teams to access their Salesforce.com data instantly, using a desktop widget.

What is a Widget?

Webster’s dictionary offers “an unnamed article considered for purposes of hypothetical example.” Today, with the explosion of widgets from Yahoo!, Google, and the Mac on users’ desktops, widgets are no longer hypothetical.

Today widgets are portable plugins, easily installed on a desktop or in a browser, directly usable without technical knowledge. Users can even connect widgets together to create mini- applications.

What changed to create the recent surge in interest for widgets? In Business 2.0, Om Malik describes the consumer impact in “Suddenly Everything’s Coming up Widgets:”

Consider a typical MySpace user’s page, studded with widgets that pull from video goliath YouTube or photo services such as Slide. Everyone’s a winner here: MySpace, because it becomes stickier; YouTube and Slide, because they get the traffic; and the user, because he or she gets it all on one page.

For enterprises, widgets mean:

  • Increased employee performance, by enhancing usability for a population with very specific user experience needs
  • A measure of how well your web services strategy is working – widgets are the perfect test for leveraging your investment in web services
  • Leveraging the consumerization of the web – allowing employees to bring insights from the larger web/consumer world to your business

Salesforce.com provides businesses the opportunity to experience cutting edge trends like widgets in a safe, pragmatic and useful way. Here at Appirio, we will provide more widget examples, and post them to AppExchange.

Best of all – widgets are fun – so users want to use them! We have been getting a lot of feedback from our customers – who tell us that sales managers are watching Opportunities close via their Opportunity Knocks widget. We’ve also been hearing from Salesforce.com sales reps and SEs, who are starting to use Appirio’s widgets in their sales demos!

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