A handful of Salesforce partners revealed their Salesforce1 apps this week at the annual Dreamforce convention in San Francisco, including Evernote, Box, LinkedIn, DocuSign and about a dozen others. But that doesn't mean they are ready to use.
Some Launch Partner Apps Not Ready
Dropbox had one of the highest profile partner launch apps and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff cited the company by name in his keynote address. But the Dropbox app is only a demo, as it turns out. The final product won't be ready until the first or second quarter next year, a Dropbox spokesperson told CMSWire at the conference.
Confused? You are not alone. The whole tech world is scratching its head this week after Salesforce announced Salesforce1, a system that appears to be about simplifying the app building process for the company's numerous business customers.
We checked in with some of the launch partners and found their stories didn't quite match up with what Salesforce executives had been telling the world all week. The image above shows the icons of 16 companies that appear to be official launch partners, but some partners were left out. Perhaps their logos aren't recognizable enough — or maybe there just wasn't enough room on this slide. But the inconsistencies don't stop there.
Because Salesforce1 seems to be very much about making Salesforce more mobile, naturally there is a section of the App Exchange that has these Salesforce1 ready apps. The problem is only four appear to be available now. The rest are labeled "coming soon for Salesforce1."
Furthermore, the apps vendors told us about are not the same as the ones appearing now in the Salesforce1 App Exchange. They appear to be placeholder apps taken right from the App Exchange.
Salesforce1 went live at the beginning of Dreamforce 2013 and is said to be freely available to all paying customers. LinkedIn Sales Navigator customers can view a Salesforce Contact Record's LinkedIn profile to get an introduction, but not necessarily to pull in phone numbers or other information.
Salesforce1 Unifies Customer Experiences
By our count, there were 18 launch partners included in the Salesforce1 debut: Apttus, Box, Concur, DocuSign, Dropbox, eVarient, Evernote, Fileboard, FinancialForce, Hewlett Packard, Kenandy, LinkedIn, ScanBizCards, ServiceMax, TAS Group, Vidyard, Workday and Xactly.
Let's start with Vidyard. This was a really interesting choice for a launch partner because it is a three-year-old startup — very different from DocuSign or Apttus, which have longstanding relationships with Salesforce.
Vidyard is a video marketing provider based near Toronto, Ontario. "Vidyard went live on the App Exchange about three weeks ago, so we were able to build both our Salesforce1 and App Exchange apps at the same time," Devon Galloway, Vidyard cofounder, told us.
Vidyard's logo is not in the title image above, but its video was in the Salesforce1 demo during Benioff's keynote.
"We are a rapid development team, so we were able to show Salesforce our working product right away," Galloway said. "Plus video looks good in a demo."
Apttus, meanwhile, is listed in the "coming soon" section of the Salesforce1 App Exchange. However, Apttus didn't have to build a separate Salesforce1 app because it is built natively with Force.com. That means Salesforce was able to port the Apttus App Exchange version right into the Salesforce1 version with no extra work on the Apttus team's part, said Ryan Donahue, an Apttus sales engineer.
Salesforce is actually a customer of a couple of the launch partners. Salesforce uses both DocuSign and Xactly internally, one for signing documents (obviously) and the other for managing its sales team commissions.
When Salesforce customers need to provision more users, for example, they need to sign an agreement with Salesforce to spin up those users. When they do that, they use DocuSign, said David Roscheleau, an enterprise solutions engineer at DocuSign.
In the case of Evernote, Benioff is a friend of CEO Phil Libin, so that likely didn't hurt its chances of being included in the Salesforce1 launch. Additionally, Salesforce had a clear need for a more functional note taking app than what is included out of the box, so a tool like Evernote fits in there nicely.
The rest of the apps appear to be chosen for more strategic reasons like recognizability. Box and HP come to mind here. The others were likely picked to showcase particular use cases or industry needs like ERP (Kenandy), sales enablement (TAS Group), healthcare (eVariant), billing (FinancialForce), expense management (Concur) and sales presentations (Fileboard).
As Salesforce takes on more Salesforce1 apps, this gives us a kind of baseline to see how the ecosystem grows. What will really be interesting to see is how that ecosystem looks at Dreamforce 2014.