The Salesforce Economy

The phrase app store is synonymous with Apple, right? Right. But actually wrong. The tech giant has used it since it launched the iTunes App Store back in 2007, but the phrase was first created and trademarked by and then gifted to Steve Jobs by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Salesforce created its own app store, called the AppExchange, and in the world of cloud-based business software, it’s the biggest app marketplace aimed at businesses. Companies using can download and install apps that enhance their experiences or add specialised functions that apply specifically to their lines of business.

Needless to say that the yoof (and not so-yoof) who are keen to download the latest fruit and veg/fizzy-pop/sweet-based Saga and account for a sizeable chunk of the App Store’s tens of billions downloads, aren’t clabbering to download the latest CRM gadgetry. But that aside, the AppExchange is entering a period of predicted rapid growth.

It recently hit three million. And while that seems like a pretty small number, especially when you realise it has existed since 2006, consider this: The download of a single app — there are about 2,700 — might affect hundreds or thousands of individual users across a company. That makes it hard to quantify exactly how many individual users there are using these apps.

We do know this: More than 70 percent of Salesforce customers — again, customers are typically companies not individual people - are using apps, and about half have installed at least two. And as is the case with popular apps on the App Store, a few successful companies are built entirely around AppExchange apps. Examples include ServiceMax, a cloud-based service that companies use to manage field service personnel, and Kenandy, a cloud-based application for running a company’s finances and operations.

The AppExchange is growing faster than before. It took six years before the AppExchange reached its millionth download in 2011, then two years to break the two million mark. This latest milestone took 18 months. We're looking at exponential growth with the four million mark not far off.

Research from IDC has forecast that “The Salesforce Economy” will drive more than £5.6 billion of incremental revenue to the UK’s GDP and create 50,000 new jobs by 2018.

Europe is Salesforce’s fastest growing region on a constant currency basis, and has delivered revenue of more than $1 billion over the last 12 months. The AppExchange is where its at… watch this space.