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Salesforce is releasing a free package of code that lets enterprises build their own app stores

Salesforce is releasing a free package of code that lets enterprises build their own app stores

Salesforce has announced the launch of AppExchange Store Builder, a platform for enterprises to develop and customise their own app stores.

The company is releasing a free package of code based on Salesforce’s own AppExchange to let users customise the look and feel of the app store, which can be used to distribute apps internally to employees as well as externally to customers and partners; the app stores support AppExchange apps, custom apps built on the Salesforce1 platform, or third-party Web or mobile apps, and users can also add third-party payment processors.

The package also comes with dashboards to let admins monitor app store usage.

“Every company is becoming an app company, but until now, they haven’t had the option to centralize app management and distribution,” said Jim Sinai, senior director, AppExchange and platform, Salesforce. “With AppExchange Store Builder, any company can quickly create a completely customizable storefront for its users.”

The USDA is already using the app store builder to create an app store for internal stakeholders and partners.

“We’re working to quickly create a fully customized and transparent app inventory for our key stakeholders,” said Todd Schroeder, business systems management director, USDA. “With AppExchange Store Builder, we will bring stakeholders and apps together in a self-service business solutions marketplace that allows the USDA to more broadly share success.”

The platform offers a few benefits above what Salesforce is already offering with its AppExchange. Beyond offering flexibility in terms of deployment models and the look and feel, the custom stores will be able to support a range of apps – not just those that integrate with or are built on the Salesforce platform. This could be a benefit assuming there’s resource in place to support maintenance, and licensing for the software being deployed is fairly flexible.

But those already familiar with the AppExchange (and app stores more broadly) may have an easier time selling the platform to internal business users and partners, often a key challenge in itself.

Enterprise app stores have grown in popularity over the years, typically going hand in hand with the increased reliance on self-service IT more broadly, and Gartner predicts that by 2017 about a quarter of enterprises will be running an internal app store of some kind. The research and analysis firm believes enterprise app store adoption is also being driven by BYOD and increasingly BYOA, and could be used as an effective platform to monitor internal demand for apps.