August 14, 2015
In a move that promises to greatly simplify integration between the Salesforce Community Cloud and third-party e-commerce applications, Salesforce this week announced an update to the cloud platform that make it possible to include a Buy Button within an online community.
While that may not be a particularly new capability, the fact that Salesforce is making use of Salesforce Lightning Components to let end users directly drive that integration in a matter of minutes is. Previously, integration with third-party e-commerce applications would have required months of professional developer effort over several months. Now, Mike Stone, senior vice president of marketing for Salesforce Community Cloud, said users can invoke a series of Salesforce Lightning Components to literally drag and drop connections to Salesforce e-commerce partners such as CloudCraze, Demandware and Bigcommerce.
Launched earlier this year, Salesforce Lightning Components are created using rapid application development tools created by Salesforce. Once those components are registered in a repository, end users can drag and drop them into an existing Salesforce application or platform to add additional functionality.
In general, Stone said digital marketing efforts are rapidly shifting from static Web sites to online communities that organizations deploy in the cloud. As a cloud service the communities are not only easier to manage, Stone said Salesforce envisions making it possible to use components to extend functionality within those communities in almost any direction. For example, Stone said Salesforce is looking at developing components for adding video feeds and channel management tools to the Salesforce Community Cloud. Given the fact that most organizers of online communities are trying to find ways to monetize those interactions e-commerce components made the most natural place to start, said Stone.
For solution providers the most significant thing about these additions to the Salesforce Community Cloud is that they allow IT organizations to embrace new features and functions without having to write any code. For independent software vendors (ISVs) that means for all intents and purposes Salesforce is a new channel. On the downside, solution providers that make money writing code to integrate applications may soon find demand for their services starting to slacken.
Whatever the ultimate outcome, integration in the cloud is rapidly evolving. A new class of “citizen integrators” will take advantage of frameworks such as Salesforce Lightning Cloud to integrate any number of applications without any help from either an external solution provider or internal IT organization. The one thing they will need help with, however, is figuring out exactly where to apply that functionality, which ultimately may require more business consulting advice than actual technical expertise from their trusted solution provider partners.
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