Early Gut Reaction to the Salesforce AppExchange Partner Program Changes

May 3, 2017




For those of us that have been involved with the Salesforce partner ecosystem for a while, Salesforce's re-imagination of the AppExchange Partner Program on 5/2/2017 was no surprise. Salesforce has been tweaking the program on an annual basis for as long as I remember, but I think that this particular tweak is a good one.


The most impactful change, particularly for new partners, is the reduction of revenue sharing from 25% to 15%. This is a reversal of last years’ increase, which as expected, was not received very well by the community. I believe that allowing partners to keep more of the revenue generated supports a more entrepreneurial environment that can produce more innovative applications.


Salesforce DX was first announced at Dreamforce 2016, and recently became available in beta (I believe that expected GA is June 2017, perhaps tied to TrailheaDX). For years, the Salesforce developer community has been screaming for better development, collaboration, source control, and release management tools. Although not all the features are currently ready for prime time, Salesforce DX is attempting to do all those things, which will simplify and streamline the development process - especially for complex enterprise or AppExchange projects.


I'm not sure how the onboarding wizard is going to work, but it is clearly a good idea. The partner program is complex at times and includes several and sometimes parallel tracks, so any way to simplify that process is welcome. It will also benefit SI partners that specialize in PDOs. For example, when we build AppExchange apps for our clients, we always take the time to review the different paths and what they need to know, so they can prepare early on. It would be great to be able to refer to a more formal plan and add our knowledge of the process on top of it.


Lastly, the new AppExchange scoring is an interesting change, although I'm not sure yet how it will impact app partners. Differentiation on the AppExchange is difficult, and to date, AppExchange reviews have been an important aspect of that. I'd be interested to see how the scoring affects search results, and whether Salesforce will create a pay to play option, which I think is a bad idea if the goal is to surface better quality apps.

Overall, I'd say that I am pretty encouraged by this batch of changes to the AppExchange Partner program. I'm looking forward to getting more details about certain aspects of it, and evolving the CRM Science best practices to enhance our PDO client's experience.

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