AppExchange Woodson Martin in conversation with Anusha Ashwin

AppExchange is seeing a lot of demand right now from the healthcare and life sciences vertical: Woodson Martin

Who would not know Salesforce’s TrailheaDX conference! Regarded as a must-attend conference for the software developer community, it brings the aspiring Salesforce community under one roof.

On its maiden TrailheaDX conference in India from December 19-20, 2019, Salesforce’s top global heads of all wings made it to Bangalore. At the event, Voice&Data got the opportunity to meet and interact, Woodson Martin, EVP and GM, AppExchange at Salesforce. Martin answers precisely giving an insight into the business of AppExchange with specific details to its India business.

AppExchange is rightly positioned to serve the hyper-competitive telecom industry in India, where differentiation in customer experience is the difference between winning and losing in the marketplace.

Few excerpts:

Voice&Data: How is AppExchange powering the business of Salesforce, with specific reference to its business in India?

Woodson Martin: AppExchange is the fastest and easiest way to extend Salesforce. With thousands of our solutions that can be installed in just a few clicks, there’s something for every business challenge. Fundamentally, the marketplace, at the heart of the Salesforce economy, is the AppExchange, where thousands of applications provided by thousands of our partners from all over the world are available to our hundreds and thousands of our customers who can find solutions to business problems that they can solve using the AppExchange platform. Just this weekend, AppExchange crossed seven and a half million installations of those applications into customer environments around the world. So, AppExchange is a thriving marketplace recording about 5,000 installations per day. It is gratifying that Salesforce is creating a vibrant ecosystem and is also growing in numbers by the day.

Just this weekend, AppExchange crossed seven and a half million installations of those applications into customer environments around the world. So, AppExchange is a thriving marketplace recording about 5,000 installations per day.

In India, especially, we have hundreds of exciting partners who are contributing immensely to the Salesforce ecosystem. India, according to me is the fastest growing software factory. And in terms of consumption, India is a large market for Enterprise software solutions. Young developers here are turning entrepreneurs with the AppExchange platform and creating really interesting companies. Over this week in India, I have met several entrepreneurs leveraging AppExchange. They are just blowing my mind with the innovation in creating really interesting companies using Salesforce platforms.

Voice&Data: At the end of the day, what is it that users leveraging AppExchange platform want to accomplish and which industry vertical do you see a lot of demand in App uptake?

Woodson Martin: Customer experience or user experience! SMS Magic, for example, can build great messaging tools that our customers use to communicate through SMSs. This App has found great usage in highly regulated markets and industries like the Pharmaceuticals, where the content in the form of messages need to be carefully delivered. We are seeing a lot of demand right now from the Healthcare and Life Sciences vertical. I don’t know why but this is a trend we have observed and we are seeing a lot of traction in this market. There seems to be a lot of expertise here in India and a lot of people who are innovating in customer experience for healthcare.

We are seeing a lot of demand right now from the Healthcare and Life Sciences vertical. I don’t know why but this is a trend.

Probably because healthcare companies are very customer-driven, where they’ve got patients who are on prescription medications and one of the most important things is the adherence required for those patients. Elderly people who have medications that need to take regularly or children, who need help from their parents to administer their medicine regime. So, around this need, we’re seeing super exciting applications are built to help maintain adherence and making sure that they’re dropping text message reminders to their users. These SMS can typically say: Okay, it’s time to take the next medication! Hey, it’s time to contact your physician! Time to refill the prescription! India especially is seeing a lot of innovations in this space. The change in user experience is happening here in India and AppExchange is proud to be an enabler of such innovations.

Another interesting company is Tavant that makes warranty management applications for manufacturers very easy. Salesforce makes it easier to deliver amazing customer service here. Tavant Warranty On-Demand (TWOD) is the only native warranty management app on the Salesforce platform that enables closed-loop warranty management, helping clients reduce warranty costs, increase supplier recovery and improve aftermarket efficiency. This has also witnessed increased traction on our platform, especially in India.

Voice&Data: Overall, how do you feel about India’s young developers and what effort is AppExchange doing to penetrate tier 3 and the tier 4 cities of India, realizing Digital India plans?

Woodson Martin: We are at the very beginning in India. There are so many opportunities and when I think about India that has a place given its history of the last few decades so much technology talent has been built, which is into doing consulting projects for companies all over the world, developing domain expertise, and developing specific business problems in different industries.

I see a huge opportunity for innovation to come from India, which is a thriving market.

And now it’s exciting to see so many of those people turn their attention to building brand new businesses, building products and technology to help them capitalize on that experience. I see a huge opportunity for innovation to come from India, which is a thriving market. We are talking to so many exciting, both new and existing, companies who want to make their way into the Salesforce economy. And, I feel we are going to have a lot of great exciting partnerships come out of India.

And answering to empowering the tier 3 & 4 city young developers, AppExchange is doing some amazing work. Well, the beautiful thing about our model in the cloud model. With this model, place or location does not really matter much today than it did before.

It is really awesome to see how companies here in India are serving the needs of some of the world’s largest corporations located in countries all over the planet and this has been made possible by the shift to cloud computing.

There is so much exuberance and passion to learn among India’s talent pool. I have been to Hyderabad last week and this week in Bangalore meeting potential partners all over India who have that willingness to learn and build on-demand technologies like TrailHead. Our Trailblazers learn from anywhere. We heard some amazing stories of personal growth from tier 3 & 4 cities of the country at the keynote address at India’s first TrailHeaDX conference.

Thus, Salesforce is enabling a model that really does help us allow talent from anywhere to bring what they know and bring their energy and their enthusiasm and innovate from their very own locations. It is really awesome to see how companies here in India are serving the needs of some of the world’s largest corporations located in countries all over the planet and this has been made possible by the shift to cloud computing. Trailhead and this open learning environment are also helping so many people build new careers and achieve their true potential creating world-class skilled Trailblazers.

V&D: There is a lot of buzz about Salesforce’s Low Code, No code, Pro Code model. How is this critical to addressing the skill gap?

Woodson Martin: Salesforce has built upon its CRM expertise to deliver a powerful, metadata-driven low-code application development framework, housed entirely in the cloud. The lightning platform provides users with the advanced tools they need to create whatever apps they want. Low-code application development also helps keep IT teams small, agile, and focused on more innovative and complex tasks. By using existing talent from throughout the organization, businesses eliminate the backlog of applications that IT is responsible for. Most importantly, low-code application development framework solutions allow IT departments to unload certain development projects onto other teams, letting them transform customer and employee experience by spending more time on innovative capabilities such as AI, IoT, machine learning, and conversational interfaces. Additionally, low-code development can help bridge the skills gap.

There is no need for all that now and you can literally drag and drop or use the plug-and-play applications. This interoperability is opening up a whole way of innovation.

One of the nicest things about the Salesforce Customer 360 platforms is that it supports all of these codes of application development. If you think back even 20 years or less even 10, a model like this never existed. In order to build solutions that could be used by dozens or hundreds of different customers on a specific business, the application is now possible with our platforms. You would need to write custom code delivered on a CD integrated to each environment. There is no need for all that now and you can literally drag and drop or use the plug-and-play applications. This interoperability is opening up a whole way of innovation.

Voice&Data: When you say plug-and-play, interoperability does it not call for increased data security. How is AppExchange ensuring security on its platform?

Woodson Martin: Trust in terms of Security is synonymous with Salesforce AppExchange. With no compromise on security, it is an absolutely critical part of our ecosystem. And the security of our customers and their data and their processes is the most important factor for us. Our AppExchange model is based on a model where we review every application through an extensive security process. It is very rare that any partner application passes on the first go on our ecosystem. It is a rigorous process at our end. We put in place a security system to ensure that our customers can trust the App and the entire ecosystem of applications. Security is an absolutely critical part of any Enterprise Cloud Marketplace and I think AppExchange really does set the standard in the industry in that regard. So very proud of our work there.

Voice&Data: How is AppExchange positioned to serve the Indian telecom industry?

Woodson Martin: AppExchange is rightly positioned to serve the hyper-competitive telecom industry in India, where differentiation in customer experience is the difference between winning and losing in the marketplace. And, so, there is an incredible opportunity for telecoms companies to take advantage of the Salesforce Customer 360 platform to deliver the kinds of connective intelligent customer experience, which is in great demand.

Today’s consumers want to take advantage of the dozens of applications that our partners have built and published on the AppExchange platform to help them deliver increased kinds of experiences.

The reality is that the customer experience in the telecoms industry is evolving because customer expectations are changing every day. At AppExchange we are building Apps to help meet those evolving customer experiences. Today’s consumers want to take advantage of the dozens of applications that our partners have built and published on the AppExchange platform to help them deliver increased kinds of experiences whether it’s about reducing time to resolve customers’ queries or managing specific business processes or delighting customers with incredible mobile experiences and their apps. This is why we’re incredibly excited about the telecom industry and our opportunity to help innovative telecom companies win on the basis of customer experiences. From basic messaging apps to chatbots, our developers are working on several innovative ideas to deliver the user experience.

We want to create an ecosystem to empower young software developers with the required skills and employ them or transform them from software developers to startup entrepreneurs.

Voice&Data: What are the key takeaways from this first time ever India’s TraiHeaDX conference?

Woodson Martin: As said, India has a large pool of software developers, admins, and testers. Salesforce wants to develop and also take advantage of the talent pool that is available in India. We want to create an ecosystem to empower young software developers with the required skills and employ them or transform them from software developers to startup entrepreneurs.

TrailheaDX provides these young software engineers the lead to Salesforce’s latest products and also interact with the company’s heads to get that hands-on-experience and learn new strategies that are current and also envision Salesforce’s future roadmap. So, this event will look at creating the world’s most talented Trailblazers community from India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *