Salesforce Introduces Low-Code Tools, Intelligent Recommendations To AppExchange


Salesforce Thursday made it easier for partners to create custom apps and workflows on its development platform and find the best third-party apps for their customers in its online marketplace.

The CRM leader launched Lightning Object Creator, a tool that converts spreadsheets into apps without coding; and Lightning Flow Builder, which creates automated business processes.

The two low-code tools, along with new artificial intelligence-powered recommendation functionality in the AppExchange marketplace, are intended "to empower everyone to build or buy solutions, so they can deliver solutions very fast," said Hugh Minson, Salesforce's director for platform product marketing.

[Related: Salesforce Open-Sources Automated Machine-Learning Library Used To Build Einstein]

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The new capabilities should empower partners using the Lightning platform to deliver functionality geared for their customers' unique business needs, Minson said.

"It's really hard to find talented people who know how to code and build solutions from the ground up," Minson said.

Heather Conklin, Salesforce's vice president of product management for AppExchange, said the pioneering online software store was updated with a recommendation button that considers the company as a whole—from size and revenue to industry and past usage history.

That personalizes the experience of buying apps and ensures customers get the best software to suit their demands from Salesforce's vast ecosystem of ISVs.

Lightning Flow Actions, customized workflows built by Salesforce partners, will also be made available as installs that can be provisioned on AppExchange. Those make it easy for partners to create connections through third-party systems that can integrate into business processes.

Like they have with previous updates to the low-code development platform and online store, "consulting partners use that to show off the great things they can build, demonstrate their capabilities to the customers, and generate further interest in their professional services," Conklin told CRN.

Phil Weinmeister, vice president of product management at 7Summits, a Salesforce partner based in Milwaukee, Wis., said the Flow Actions are extremely useful services for bridging Salesforce and external systems.

"They absolutely unleash the potential for advanced, creative low-code development on the platform," Weinmeister said.

Enabling partners with a toolset to produce low-code applications on par with traditionally developed solutions has been an ongoing area of strength for Salesforce, he said.

"Flow Actions are at the center of a new wave of this innovation," Weinmeister said.

The AppExchange marketplace has seen a significant transformation over the past year, reflecting Salesforce's innovations in low-code development, he told CRN.

"I can’t underscore how immensely valuable and powerful tools like Flow Action are for partners who are looking to build flexible, modular solutions without dependence on a massive team of traditional developers," he said.