Do You Need A Custom Solution Instead Of An AppExchange Application?

• Date: January 2018 •
Salesforce is a CRM with a customer base of over 100,000 corporate clients around the globe. What makes it so popular is of course, the great functionality it provides, and also its universal nature – companies from virtually any business domain can make use of Salesforce to manage customer relationships, be it a small retail business, financial corporation or a non-profit.

However, with customer relations there just can't be a one-size-fits-all solution. CRM users require a wide range of third-party apps for basically any business process – document management, reporting, marketing campaigns, reps performance tracking, and the list goes on and on. Companies pick different solutions based on their functionality, budget and time requirements. Most companies opt for readily available AppExchange applications and then if possible, slightly customize them to the needs of the company. Another option is to build an application from scratch. The question is how to decide between buying an AppExchange app and Salesforce custom app development. Let's check out the specifics of each option and see how they compare.

Pros of AppExchange Apps

Fast deployment

The undoubtable advantage of choosing an AppExchange solution is that you don't have to wait till your app is developed. And that is a fairly long process – take into account selection of a Salesforce customization consultant, aligning costs and timeline, the actual design and development, documentation development, and QA. Meanwhile, with an out-of-the-box app all you need is to press the Get It Now button. Well, sometimes you can download a demo, but still, this is much faster.

Documentation and customer support

AppExchange apps come with documentation which in most cases is easily decipherable. Besides, whenever you have issues with the application, you just need to get in touch with the vendor. This however depends on a specific app, but anyway you can check out the support options available in advance. They may include email, phone, knowledge base, or simply terms and conditions – in various combinations.

Regular upgrades at no extra cost

Most certified Salesforce Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) strive to keep their offerings up to date. If the vendor itself or the solution's users report any bugs, the ISV is likely to solve the issue in the next few upgrades. Moreover, with Salesforce, nothing is carved in stone except for constant change, which is a good thing though, as it requires ISVs to constantly keep pace with innovations and thus make their products better. By the way, this also encourages developers to make the apps customizable and scalable to fit possible changes in future.

Quality assurance and security

In order for an app to be listed on AppExchange, it needs to be of good quality, meaning it is well-tested and most bugs and glitches are fixed before the release. Also, security scans are a must for any application being registered on AppExchange, and Salesforce security experts hand-check the code before granting approval.

Why Still Choose Salesforce Custom App Development?

This said, it may be hard to believe that anyone would think of going for Salesforce custom app development. Still, many do, and the reason is the same as that which has made independent software vendors develop all those apps for AppExchange in the first place – there is simply no solution like that out there, yet. To address the need that is unlikely to go away or can't be fully met by any other solution, companies choose to hire a development team to build a tailor-made application.

To actually decide between an off-the-shelf application and a custom-built solution, follow this simple roadmap:
Draft a list of requirements with an extra few desirable features which are not a must. Think about all use cases and write them down too.
Take your time to sift through Salesforce AppExchange for suitable options. Don't be too picky – an app with ⅘ of your list of indispensable reqs may be a good option that deserves considering.
If you're thinking of choosing a ready-to-use solution which doesn't cover all of your needs, think about how you're going to meet the remaining.
Before making a decision, think about all the costs that go into custom development, and how to satisfy the need while the app is under development.
Ask your end users for their opinion – both when making a list of the desired functionalities and when making the final decision. After all, different apps have different learning curves and require some adjustments of your business processes.
The major advantage of choosing a custom application is that it is developed based on your requirements and has all the functionality you require, with no need for further customization after the deployment. But this is the ideal world, and often this is not the case. A company looking for a Salesforce customization consultant may actually make a wrong decision while choosing one. As a result, the development process might linger on for long after the scheduled release, the documentation might be poor, the application might not be ready for future scaling, or whatever bedrocks there might be.
If you need a dependable Salesforce custom application development team, check out the Twistellar team.
Having developed dozens of custom architectural solutions for Salesforce and received positive feedback, we have the necessary expertise to elaborate on your requirements and transform your a idea into a truly stellar workable application with opportunities for further customization and scaling. We provide Salesforce solutions consulting for small businesses and large enterprises.
Contact us today to discuss your ideas!