This post is part of an occasional series on the AppExchange as Salesforce.com celebrates the seventh anniversary of its launch. The series will focus on some of the most interesting AppExchange applications of the last year.
Bracket Labs is a good example of a native AppExchange company. Founded in 2010 in Boulder, CO, Bracket is dedicated to making simple and powerful applications that enhance the Salesforce user experience. Their native Salesforce Platform apps improve business processes and operate across traditional functional areas of business and CRM. The two products in market at the moment include TaskRay an app for project management and a shared marketing calendar for managing Marketing Campaigns.
Don’t be fooled, these apps are not simply reincarnations of paper based management systems. Both incorporate Chatter functionality and leverage data captured in the Salesforce CRM system.
So, for example, TaskRay is useful in a project management situation but instead of relying on paper based Gant charting techniques, the system leverages Chatter to determine what part of a project demands the most attention now and which elements can be done in sequence later. Chatter captures input from the team involved at every point in the process and through collaboration and drag and drop techniques users prioritize effort and solve challenges ensuring that the project is managed to goal.
This approach gives TaskRay a flavor of what Salesforce often refers to as a “scrum,” in which the needed people and resources converge on a problem and participate in creating a solution and then leave to do something else that’s equally important. Using Chatter ensures that the team will have a full record of the process in the Salesforce feed and Chatter also provides a convenient platform for sharing documents and other files needed to support the project.
Campaign Calendar does much the same for marketing projects. The company likes to say that Campaign Calendar helps users to visualize the campaign through calendars and timelines that are color coded for easy reference. It then supports team collaboration and campaign management through Chatter and by capturing and managing the campaign details. This helps the team to share everything about the project or campaign and provides a concise history of the campaign.
TaskRay and Campaign Calendar are two examples of long tail applications. In this case, neither is hard to conceptualize and many companies have built their own versions of these systems in spreadsheets or loose paper files. But neither of those approaches make it easy to maintain communication within the group and they can waste time and resources through inefficiency.
Until the AppExchange and the Salesforce Platform came along however, there was no good and affordable way to automate these processes. But with the Salesforce Platform, this type of application is easy to make and maintain. These applications save a great deal of time and resources by making information sharing easy and that’s one of the most important benefits of long tail applications.