As a Salesforce Developer, Architect, and Partner of a Force.com consulting firm, I've leveraged the Force.com platform over and over. It's one of the best rapid business application development tools available, and the power and simplicity of Salesforce's built-in functionality often covers at least part of our clients’ needs. But Salesforce is, at its core, a multi-tenant environment. It's like living in a really nice apartment: it may be beautiful and the landlord provides all the maintenance, but you can't play loud music. And you certainly can't knock the wall down to get more square footage.
That's when you need to build a house.
Until now, the jump to expanding Salesforce applications on external servers has generally been more of a leap of faith than a step. Heroku Enterprise has dramatically simplified much of the process. Heroku's ability to spin up and rapidly duplicate full, secure, cloud-hosted server instances removes a lot of the entry barriers for clients wishing to grow beyond Salesforce's tightly-controlled workspace. And Heroku Connect interfaces its databases with native Salesforce objects in near-real-time, making it a straightforward task to tie new stand-alone applications back to Salesforce. Yet the same open-ended capability that makes Heroku so incredibly useful also makes it terrifying: there is no Community Cloud, no Sales Cloud, no Marketing, Pardot, Analytics, or IoT Cloud. Once you spin up that first dyno, you've got a platform that has the potential to do anything, but does absolutely nothing out of the box. You still have to develop an application from scratch -- an application that will need to look, feel, and function as well as the Salesforce environment.
We've built a successful Heroku practice by filling that void, and as one of the earliest adopters of Heroku we've had the opportunity to test a variety of techniques to build Salesforce-connected web-based and mobile applications on Heroku's platform. Over time, we've developed a sizable library of best practices as well as a carefully curated set of commercially-supported code libraries to handle as much of the "grunt work" (database integration, API handling, etc.) of app-building as possible. We've even integrated these libraries together into what we call our Heroku App Accelerator -- pretty much everything anyone needs to start building beautiful, modern apps in easy-to-use and an easy-to-support language.
We use the Accelerator when we build client apps, but we are also releasing it publicly in the very near future. Hopefully, it'll help knock down that last entry barrier to digital "home ownership" and help businesses already invested in the excellent Salesforce architecture further leverage their existing value.
If you're interested in finding out more about Force.com/Heroku use cases, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for our release of the free version of our application stack and a sample application on the Heroku Partner Showcase very soon!
We teamed with The Carlyle Group in order to assist them in conceiving, customizing and developing a comprehensive and highly automated client on-boarding process in the Salesforce.com environment with a complex data model, multi-layered investment paths and in a highly restrictive regulatory environment.