I was able to attend a Salesforce1 Elevate class this week at the AT&T Executive conference center on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
The big message at the beginning of the day which resonated with me quite a bit was “Salesforce.com is a platform company. Period.”. Now while this was a statement from Alex Williams at TechCrunch, what it calls out is Salesforce.com is and has been moving away from being thought of as a simple CRM application company. A monumental shift from my early days using Salesforce.com in 2007. In the class, we covered a lot on Salesforce1, the basics of development and building out applications with some custom development in mind. Also in the class we discussed the basics about the Salesforce1 (security, API ect) platform and building out custom force.com applications for your business. Across the enterprise industry there is a lot more momentum in getting custom force.com apps build in house vs ‘home grown’ apps or new costly self-contained applications. The advantages are enormous to building out force.com custom apps. During class breaks I talked to some people that worked at larger enterprise companies and many sited cost savings and reduced risks in relation to security as the number one reason to move to building out a force.com practice within their companies. Back to the class, we also covered declarative logic, security and how to use the API logic that is all over the place with Salesforce1, all of which brought the foundation of the platform together.
Overall I thought it was a great class, but the highlight was the simplicity of making this all work on the mobile platform (also called Saleforce1). You can build out a force.com app, put some workflow rules and such and make it mobile in as quick at 15 minutes if you know what you are doing. Even if you are new to Salesforce.com and this technology, you can build out a simple mobile app in about a few hours and have it working in production that same day. To even write the previous statement is hard to believe, but the platform has enabled the business to move and adapt like never before. Also with announcement of Salesforce1 in November at last years Dreamforce conference, this made it much easier. If you are a company considering going to Salesforce.com and simply want to take advantage of the force.com platform, you can really justify the cost savings in this model.
My recommendation if you are interested in learning about how to build out custom force.com applications within the platform is to go to developer.force.com and create an account for yourself. Next, take the tour through the tutorial on the basics of building out a force.com application. Once you have a good idea of how to build out the structure, then create a basic application for yourself. In addition, you still have to consider the data model, the architecture and the security model (profiles, roles ect) for your organization, but once the framework is set up and the governance process is in place, you can empower your business community to build away! As you know the technology can only do so much, before you really get down the path of building out a custom application or tool for your business, you really need to understand the use cases and business needs as always first. If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hector Perez Jr