From Garage to Glory: How to Build the Next Big App for the Enterprise

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The enterprise app revolution is here and transforming the way we work. With a great idea and the right go-to-market strategy, you can build a revenue-generating business in record time.

Attend Business App Bootcamp, a free event in San Francisco on January 29, to hear from influential thought leaders including Pat Grady from Sequoia Capital and Derrick Harris from GigaOM about trends they are seeing and get advice for building the next big app for the enterprise. 

I interviewed Blakely Graham, who is the Co-Founder of Bracket Labs, to hear her thoughts on this app revolution. She will be speaking at Business App Bootcamp on Tuesday so make sure you register.

Blakely GrahamQ: You are speaking at Business App Bootcamp in a session called "Garage to Glory." Tell us how this session describes your story and why you decided to build on the Salesforce Platform.

A: "Garage to Glory" is an apt description of Bracket Labs and we're very proud of our garage roots. We founded the company in 2010 with the desire to not only build awesome productivity apps for business, but also to do it on our own terms.  This meant bootstrapping with no outside investors, keeping the team extremely lean, and getting fanatical about customer satisfaction.

We built on the Salesforce Platform because we knew it had no limits. Increasingly businesses are demanding solutions delivered as apps that can "plug in" to their existing infrastructure investments. These apps need to be highly modular, highly connected, highly usable and they must deliver high value. Given these requirements, the Salesforce Platform was the only viable choice for the apps we wanted to build. It's the clear leader in not only platform technology but also in delivering enterprise apps through the AppExchange marketplace.

In the past 3 years, we've gone from sketching our app ideas on napkins at coffee shops to having thousands of users around the world, and 5 star ratings for our apps. We've enjoyed crazy growth in the past 12 months and it shows no signs of letting up.

Q: What is your advice for an app entreprenuer who is just starting out?

A: Well obviously there's no substitute for building great products. Great products come from great user experience design, so I'd tell you to really focus on getting the experience right. There's a ton of great resources out there to learn about usability and user experience design, so spend some time thinking about how to make your product great. And once you've got a great product, remember that part of the enterprise app revolution is in the purchasing experience. If you're not optimizing that you're missing an opportunity.  We've all had experiences dealing with companies that just wanted to extract money from us, I'd urge you not to be one of those. Don't hide your pricing, make sure you give a free trial, support self-service models for the customer who wants to buy your app but doesn't want to talk to you about it ("doers" as Jeff Lawson from Twilio calls them), offer outstanding customer support, and in general, do the right thing.

Q: In your opinion, what is the hottest or most in demand type of enterprise app right now?

A: Two kinds of enterprise apps are really hot right now. The obvious answer is any app that introduces social dynamics to business problems, and we see great examples from folks like LevelEleven and Get Satisfaction. Our apps, Campaign Calendar and TaskRay fit into this category as well. Less obvious but just as hot (just ask any of their rabidly loyal customers), are the apps that are helping to make data itself more social. Conga Composer is a great example of one of these apps, with its amazing ability to move and transform data between various other platforms.

Q: Why should enterprises care about apps? Why should developers work on enterprise vs consumer apps?

A: Apps, ultimately, provide tremendous value. Whether you're measuring TCO, user adoption or productivity gains, the app model for delivering solutions is incredibly effective. With careful selection of an app portfolio, enterprises can easily tailor solutions for their business needs that just a few years ago would have been cost prohibitive. The opportunity to fundamentally change how people work is not only huge, but also really exciting.

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To hear more from Blakely Graham and VCs from some of the top firms in the Valley, register for our FREE App Bootcamp!

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