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Native vs non-Native Salesforce Solutions

TL;DR: This chapter distinguishes between native and non-native Salesforce applications, highlighting that true native apps are entirely built within the Salesforce ecosystem. It emphasizes the importance of verifying native certification, discusses the advantages of native apps, and provides strategies for optimizing their adoption.

Native vs non Native Salesforce Solutions guide

Understanding Native Salesforce Applications

Whether it's data validation & verification or duplicate management, one topic that comes up a lot is "native" vs so-called "non native" solutions. When discussing native Salesforce apps, we're referring to applications constructed entirely within the Salesforce ecosystem. Unlike non-native apps that need to integrate with Salesforce through its API, native apps reside entirely within Salesforce, eliminating the need for integration. Salesforce applications are built using Apex, which is a proprietary Java-like programming language. Beginning in 2015 the "Lightning Components" framework has been supported.

To simplify all this, just consider your phone's apps: many of the native apps are applications that were built specifically for the phone, for instance, the app to receive and respond to SMS messages. These apps live primarily within the ecosystem of the phone, just as native Salesforce apps live and operate within the Salesforce ecosystem.

All Native Apps Are Equal – But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Contrary to many claims, it turns out that most Salesforce apps aren't always entirely native, and this might be the reason we see some confusion around this topic. The truth is many apps claim to be native despite being partially developed outside Salesforce. Others might tout their native status by leveraging the fact that their application runs on Salesforce. You should always look further into any claim that a solution is “native”. The term has been somewhat abused, and at this point it’s thrown about by everyone without really understanding what it means. It’s almost like seeing something in the supermarket labeled as “health food”, the term is broad, and the actual healthy food might be hard to identify.

So, How Do You Identify a Native Salesforce App?

Certified native Salesforce apps bear a "Native App" icon on their AppExchange product page. If Salesforce hasn't certified an app as "Native App," it's not entirely native. That’s how simple it is.

If you're uncertain about a Salesforce app's native status, ask three simple questions:

  • Is the app 100% or partially native to Salesforce?
  • Where is the app hosted?
  • Where is the app data stored?

If the answer to any of these questions isn’t Salesforce, then the application is by no means native.

*Some functionally in certain applications can NEVER be 100% native. For instance, when it comes to many validation checks, a query has to be sent to an external server because Salesforce does not host this data.

Now that we know how to identify a native Salesforce app, it’s time to look at some advantages of choosing a Native Salesforce App. Native Salesforce applications offer several advantages that stem from their deep integration with the Salesforce platform. Let's elaborate on these points and provide examples for each.

Advantages of choosing a Native Salesforce App:

  • Security: When you use a native Salesforce application, your data remains entirely within the Salesforce ecosystem. This setup reduces the risk associated with data being stored or processed on external servers, which might be more vulnerable to security threats. For instance, a native Salesforce app for customer relationship management (CRM) will store all customer data within Salesforce itself, ensuring it is protected by the same robust security measures Salesforce uses.
  • Accuracy: Native apps benefit from real-time data updates. This means that any changes in your Salesforce data are immediately reflected in the app. For example, if you're using a native project management tool integrated with Salesforce, any update in project status or customer details in Salesforce is instantly available in the project management tool, eliminating any discrepancies due to data syncing delays.
  • Speed: Native applications do not require syncing with an external database, which often speeds up processes like report generation. Consider a sales reporting tool that's native to Salesforce; it can quickly access and process data directly from Salesforce, providing faster report generation compared to a tool that needs to sync data from an external source.
  • Expertise: These applications are specifically designed for Salesforce, meaning they are likely to offer more specialized features and better integration compared to versatile non-native apps. A native Salesforce marketing tool might offer more advanced integration with Salesforce's lead tracking and management features than a general marketing tool that supports multiple CRM platforms.
  • Trust: Since native apps are built within the Salesforce environment, they adhere to its best practices and security policies. Users can trust these apps in the same way they trust Salesforce. An example might be a data analytics tool developed natively for Salesforce, ensuring it follows Salesforce's guidelines for data handling and privacy.
  • Simplicity: With native apps, users don't need separate log-ins; they can access these apps directly through their Salesforce interface. This simplification streamlines user adoption and training. Imagine a Salesforce-native document management system; users can access it directly through their Salesforce account without needing to remember additional credentials.

Enhancing the Benefits of Salesforce Solutions with Effortless Integration

To optimize the benefits of native Salesforce data management solutions and facilitate easier integration, Salesforce organizations need to prepare strategically. This preparation involves understanding the inherent advantages of native solutions and addressing common integration challenges. By doing so, organizations can better leverage the streamlined integration and enhanced capabilities that native solutions offer. Here are key strategies for optimizing the adoption of native Salesforce data management solutions:

  • Assess and Align Business Processes: Before adopting a native solution, it's crucial to assess current business processes and ensure they align with the capabilities of the Salesforce platform. This alignment helps in leveraging the full potential of Salesforce's native solutions. Organizations should identify processes that can be optimized or automated within the Salesforce ecosystem, thus making the transition smoother and more effective.
  • Data Clean-Up and Preparation: One common issue with complex integrations is the handling of legacy data, which may be inconsistent or formatted differently. Before integrating a native solution, organizations should clean and standardize their existing data. This preparation reduces the challenges of data migration and ensures that the data works seamlessly within the Salesforce environment.
  • Training and Change Management: The success of adopting any new solution depends significantly on user adoption. Providing comprehensive training and change management support is essential. Employees need to understand how to use the new native solutions effectively. This training not only helps in smooth transition but also ensures that the organization can leverage the full range of functionalities offered by the native solution.
  • Customization and Configuration: Native Salesforce solutions offer a high degree of customization and configuration options. Organizations should take advantage of this to tailor the solutions to their specific needs. Proper configuration ensures that the solutions work in harmony with existing workflows and business processes, thereby enhancing efficiency and productivity.
  • Regular Review and Optimization: Post-integration, regular reviews and optimizations are vital. Salesforce continuously updates its platform, and native solutions often receive updates that can further enhance their capabilities. Staying on top of these updates and adjusting the solutions accordingly ensures that the organization continually reaps the benefits of the latest features and improvements.
  • Leverage Salesforce Ecosystem: Utilizing the broader Salesforce ecosystem, including its extensive community, AppExchange, and support resources, can provide additional insights and tools for optimizing native solutions. Engaging with the community can offer practical tips and best practices, while the AppExchange provides a plethora of complementary apps that can enhance the functionality of native solutions.

In summary, by aligning business processes, preparing data, focusing on training and change management, customizing solutions, conducting regular reviews, and leveraging the broader Salesforce ecosystem, organizations can optimize the adoption of native Salesforce data management solutions. These strategies help in overcoming common integration challenges and provide a significant edge through streamlined integration, enhanced efficiency, and maximized return on investment in the Salesforce platform.

The primary way to optimize Salesforce solutions is by streamlining business processes to align with the platform's native functionalities. This approach ensures that the full range of Salesforce features is utilized effectively, reducing the need for external tools. For example, Salesforce's native reporting and analytics tools can be used to their full potential, minimizing the need for third-party reporting software.

Now that we've explored the distinctions between native and non-native Salesforce solutions and delved into the advantages of choosing native applications, it's time to shift our focus to a crucial aspect of implementing any technology solution: calculating the return on investment (ROI). We will visit the powerful concept known as the 1-10-100 rule. What’s that you ask? Head on over to the next chapter as we embark on a journey to uncover the financial implications and qualitative benefits of investing in the cost of quality within the Salesforce ecosystem.

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