Paul Bryson is Head of Operations at Ribbonfish. He is experienced at building and leading strong teams to effectively deliver change and business growth.

Salesforce is best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) product. However, over the past few years, AppExchange – the world’s leading business app marketplace – also run by Salesforce has provided ready-to-install enterprise solutions for every publishing department, including sales and rights, marketing, customer service, and more. Ribbonfish has built a number of apps, the most recent app is for Rights professionals – RightsZone – which is available on the Salesforce AppExchange

Are your publishing teams missing out by not having Salesforce Apps? From our wealth of experience building apps, here is our guide to getting started.  

Firstly, you will need to become a Salesforce ISV/OEM Partner (and pay the appropriate fee). This applies even if you are an existing Salesforce consulting partner.
The next thing to consider is whether you want your market place to be beyond customers currently using Salesforce.

There are 2 approaches as a Salesforce partner:

ISV (Independent Software Vendor): with this approach you can only sell your app to existing Salesforce customers. These apps are typically designed to augment Sales Cloud or Service Cloud business functions.

OEM: this comes bundled with an embedded Salesforce organisation, so it is licensed only for the system on which it is installed. This route allows you to sell Salesforce licenses directly to your customers and does not require them to already be a Salesforce customer.

Deciding to go ISV or OEM is a big decision that has significant implications down the line so you need to do your research and decide which approach is right for you and your product.

In essence, an ISV license allows developers to upload their apps on the AppExchange and for users to download such apps and enhance their Salesforce experience. An OEM app license, on the other hand allows developers to use the platform to develop a fully customised application. From the user perspective, ISV apps allow users to get more from their existing platform, whereas an app with an OEM license works only for the specific intended use of the app. It is possible to leverage both these models simultaneously, with different products.

Salesforce support
We have found that Salesforce support throughout the build process is excellent. Be sure to reach out early to your Account Executive prior to scoping out your App ideas, we were allocated a Salesforce app account manager and a technical evangelist. These relationships have been invaluable and we have used them as a sounding board on a number of occasions.

As well as the support team, the Salesforce development team have been able to respond to some really technical issues on our behalf. You are only able to raise 3 technical tickets per year, you can get sufficient support without paying for the premier support option.

In addition to Salesforce employees, there is extensive documentation, training (via Salesforce Trailheads) and the community portal allows you to ask questions and gather further information. There are webinars for specific issues which commonly need trouble-shooting and the forum allows you to interact with other developers, clients and partners. We have found these facilities to be invaluable.

At the start of the project it is paramount to establish and define your project methodology, your principles and processes for ensuring quality delivery.
Salesforce has an abundance of information, ensure that during the design phase that you reference their requirements checklist.

Salesforce security reviews
This is a vitally important part of the process. As you would expect Salesforce has exacting standards, your app has to be compliant with their security policies and standards. It is paramount that this is fully considered at the design stage of the project.

The Source Scanner shows you the results of your security review. This can be run prior to submitting to Salesforce. However you can only run 3 reports per org, per version, per year. We found the best use to run this at code complete, prior to submitting to Salesforce and then post after bug fixing following Salesforce review.

The process of submission is relatively simple: 

*Complete the document for security review, this is quite detailed requiring step by step instructions with corresponding screen shots;
* Then give them access to an org with corresponding profiles.
* Pay the fee, approximately £2,000.

Salesforce will then review the app and provide feedback for you to fix or explain why a false positive. As with all Salesforce development your code coverage needs to be greater than 75%.

The length of time this takes will be dependent on the amount of development within the app. We experienced an initial 3 week response time. It is possible to organise a screen share meeting to discuss the app and demonstrate to the Salesforce team.

To find out more about RightsZone, or about building and working with Salesforce Apps in general, please get in touch.