We discuss how Salesforce citizen developer tools like the Lightning Platform and the AppExchange enable the citizen development program at your organization.
In our previous blog post we discussed how the Salesforce Lightning Platform enables citizen development. There, we also defined citizen development as the recent trend of businesses identifying non-IT workers who can create apps to solve business and technology issues, even if they may not know how to write code and have no formal schooling in computer science or technology.
Here, we will go a bit deeper and introduce some of the tools available from Salesforce and their partners that help citizen developers create apps — in collaboration with the IT department, while also reducing the burden on them.
The tools available natively to Salesforce citizen developers can enhance the development experience, reduce effort and delivery time, and improve quality. These tools enable the “clicks over code” (low-code) approach to application development. These tools are meant to enable application development that provides business value and aligns with an organization’s application design and development governance policies.
Salesforce Citizen Development Tools
Salesforce comes with many tools that enable citizen development, and while we cannot present an exhaustive list here, we would like to expose you to some of the variety that is available, including support for mobile development.
Lightning Object Creator allows anyone to turn spreadsheets into modern apps with clicks. For example, you can drag and drop business data from spreadsheets into the Object Creator for publishing in a digital form, available on desktop or mobile. In Salesforce, users can then further analyze the data or add it to existing records, with support for Search, Notes or Files within Salesforce.
Lightning Flow Builder is one of the Salesforce citizen developer tools that empowers business users of any developer skill level to automate processes for customer or employee experiences. It is elegant, efficient and easy to use – with simplified toolboxes that seamlessly find workflow elements connected to customer records.
For example, when customers submit support cases to the business, automation spearheaded by citizen developers can route the case to the appropriate responders and notify them immediately. This results in quicker resolutions and happy customers that will continue to provide the company with their business as well as a better experience for those involved in supporting the case. Additionally, Lightning Flow Builder includes:
- Flow Actions – These are pre-built, reusable components for industries and specific use cases that add powerful new layers to automated business processes, including the ability to accept credit card payments or add a video player.
- Einstein Next Best Action – This is available to Salesforce Admins, this tool provides the ability to recommend flows, leveraging the power of rules-based and predictive models to provide sales, service and marketing agents with intelligent, contextual recommendations for customers.
You can further abstract many of these processes to support a wide variety of use cases while tweaking minimal flow components, resulting in more reusable logic and less time spent on application development.
Mobile Application Development Support
Salesforce also includes specific tools to support mobile development, a necessity in today’s business environment. These development capabilities include:
- Mobile Builders – This allows Salesforce administrators to turn traditional business data management tools, such as spreadsheets, into mobile applications – all using point-and-click functionality with a simple user interface. Mobile Builders users can also take advantage of many ready-made components via the Salesforce AppExchange.
- Mobile Services – This aims to simplify the addition of backend services to applications. Whether users want to take advantage of native Salesforce services or simply integrate with third-party data, this tool is designed to streamline the process.
- Mobile Publishers – This handles the entire lifecycle of packaging and submitting applications to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
AppExchange Extensions for Salesforce Citizen Development
The Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s largest business applications marketplace, provides more than 3,000 apps and related components to enhance and extend the power of Salesforce. More Salesforce customers than ever are using AppExchange, and it is constantly updated with applications from Salesforce and partners.
In addition to allowing you to search for solutions, the AppExchange has intelligent recommendations, including a “Recommended for You” page that lists suggested solutions based on customer location, install history, profile data and more. For example, as soon as your admins search for or install an app for online appointment scheduling, AppExchange will offer recommendations for additional changes.
Profiles of other customers who have searched for or installed similar solutions also inform AppExchange recommendations. That means as more citizen developers use AppExchange, the better it becomes. It allows businesses who are innovating and using Salesforce with a particular AppExchange application to benefit from the collective work of thousands of others worldwide with tailored and intelligent recommendations.
In other words, as more and more businesses turn to citizen development, the AppExchange grows exponentially with valuable resources. Imagine a scenario where a citizen developer is struggling to put the finishing touches on an application. By visiting the AppExchange and finding a similar application, even if it may not be the perfect solution for their business use case, they can understand the logic and structure that has worked for someone else.
Consequently, they may be able to apply that logic to their own application, with some small variation for their specific use case to get their work done. In this way, the AppExchange facilitates the development process itself, along with its role of serving as a hub for pre-packaged applications you can plug into a given customer’s Salesforce organization to extend its capabilities.
Salesforce supports citizen developers not only with content and training via Trailhead, but also with the AppExchange and the powerful, out-of-the box tools that come as part of the Lightning Platform. Citizen developers can build, share, customize and also swap their Salesforce applications globally through the cloud, effectively collaborating to develop the latest and greatest solutions for their business needs.
In this way, the Salesforce Lightning Platform can support and aid almost any organization, their uses cases and the development and maturity of their citizen developers. We encourage you to get started today!