The Salesforce AppExchange can be an overwhelming place to visit. In total, there are well over 2,500 apps to choose from, including hundreds designed for project management.
How can you choose the best Salesforce app for your business?
Here’s one thing to look for: apps that are 100% native to Salesforce.
Integrated vs. Native: The 2 Types of Apps in the AppExchange
Every app in the Salesforce AppExchange falls into two categories:
● Native applications
● Outside services that integrate with Salesforce
To give a more technical definition, native Salesforce applications are built on the Force.com platform, which is owned and maintained by Salesforce itself.
Integrated applications live elsewhere. They pass data back and forth between their environments and the Salesforce environment.
That might not sound like a big deal, but in practice there are a number of problems you might run into if you choose an integrated app instead of a native one.
Fully Native vs. Partially Native
Inside of the AppExchange, when you look at an individual app, it will say whether it’s native or not.
Something to watch for, however, is that an app in the AppExchange can be listed as native, even if it’s not fully native.
Sometimes companies offer managed packages of services, including some applications that run on the Salesforce platform and some that run on their own platforms.
There are two ways you can tell if an app is fully native or not:
● Fully native apps will usually say “100% native” or something similar in the description. Krow is 100% native to Salesforce, so we highlight that advantage in our product description.
● Apps that are not fully native will usually ask for permission to send data outside of Salesforce. That’s a sign the app is relying on third-party servers.
5 Headaches of NonNative Apps
Here are five significant issues you need to be aware of when considering apps that integrate with Salesforce, but are not native to the Salesforce platform:
1. They Don’t Share the Salesforce Database
A native app works directly from your Salesforce database. It doesn’t have to sync, push, or pull data to work. That means your data will always be up to date. A nonnative app passes data back and forth using Salesforce’s API.
It must try to keep its data in sync with your Salesforce data, all the time.
If your data gets outofsync, different people in your company will be making their plans and estimates using different data, a recipe that almost always leads to trouble.
2. They Might Not Be as Stable
With native Salesforce apps, if Salesforce is available, the app is available. That’s because they both run on the Salesforce infrastructure, which is one of the most stable in the business. A nonnative app could be built on any kind of infrastructure. If it becomes unavailable, you’ll have to deal with error conditions while it’s down, plus reconciliation problems once it comes back up.
3. Security Can Be an Issue
Native Salesforce apps share the existing Salesforce security model. If your IT team has already given the ok to use Salesforce, you shouldn’t have to engage them again if you decide to use a native Salesforce app as well.
Nonnative apps will have completely different security policies and protocols. They may pose a security risk for your business, or they may not. Either way, you or your IT manager will need to take a look before you trust your data to the outside provider.
4. Data Counts Against Your Salesforce API
Native Salesforce apps work entirely within the Salesforce environment and don’t have to pass data through the Salesforce API.
Applications that integrate with Salesforce have to use the API to transfer data back and forth. Depending on your service level with Salesforce, those data transfers might lead to additional charges for you.
5. They Might Not Be Fully Committed to Salesforce
Finally, there’s the business model to consider. An outside service provider may not be fully committed to supporting Salesforce integration for the long term.
Companies with fully native Salesforce applications have given a strong sign that they’re committed to Salesforce for the long term.
If you’re considering an app from the Salesforce AppExchange, we think you’ll gain tremendous benefit from using one that's 100% native to Salesforce.
If you’re not sure if an application is fully native, just ask the developers of the app you’re considering.
Choosing a 100% native app will save you from headaches, and it will ensure your data remains current, secure, and useful to anyone in your company who’ll be using the new functionality.