Introducing Salesforce’s Heroku
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ll know that apps are becoming a vital part of everyday life. We use them for everything from tracking fitness to ordering taxis. It’s easy to overlook that the useful tools we rely on are in fact tightly packed parcels of computer code, which need somewhere to live.
What’s more, they need a means to be managed and delivered to our devices. Heroku is a cloud-based scalable solution that allows the easy management and deployment of apps on the internet. In plain English, if you’ve built an app, this is what you’d use to get it out there so your users can download and enjoy it. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Every app is made up of thousands of lines of source code, written in various programming languages. Heroku can work with apps written in many of the most popular programming languages, including Ruby, Java, Node.js, Scala, Clojure, Python or PHP.
If this is blowing your mind, imagine that source code is a set of instructions, e.g. how to build a piece of flat-pack furniture, and that computer languages could easily be replaced with English, French, German, etc. In this example, Heroku would be a multilingual person capable of deciphering how to build the furniture from any of the given languages. Being a multilingual platform allows developers more flexibility with the coding they use.
This is where Heroku really comes into its own. Whilst it’s certainly possible for the developer of an app to create it on a home or office computer in their programming language of choice then host and manage it themselves, this is definitely not the best way to do things. Aside from being incredibly time consuming, if the app is popular, it wouldn’t take much for the server to become overloaded with customers downloading and using it. This could happen at anytime so it could literally go bump in the night and crash, possibly without the owner knowing.
This is why most companies host their apps on more powerful, managed servers. One of the great benefits of using Heroku is that once an app is uploaded, it’s fully scalable. This means if lots of people are trying to access an app, Heroku will adjust the amount of servers used to host and manage it, so it stays online and is accessible for users 24/7. This allows developers to spend more time improving their apps and less time managing them.
An important abbreviation to understand when talking about Heroku is CRM or Customer Relationship Management. Simply put, this is an app that helps companies to have better relationships with their customers, past and present. Salesforce is one of these apps and is intrinsically linked with Heroku.
Salesforce has pioneered a technology called Heroku Connect. This is where an app can link with and use customer information stored in the CRM system to allow the company to improve its relationship with its customers. For example, the app might be a location guide in a shopping mall. By asking for an email address on sign up, and using the Heroku Connect system, that data is sent to the company’s CRM. This allows the company to send users of the app offers relating to the shopping mall via email. Not only has the shopper found the location guide app helpful, they now have a money-off voucher enticing them back, and the company has the means to continue to contact the user with relevant information. Moving forwards, this will undoubtedly improve their relationship with their customers.
For companies wanting to expand their services, Heroku is a means by which to decode, store and deploy newly designed apps into the stratosphere of cyberspace. By using Heroku, app developers don’t need to monitor whether an app is online or not, so they can give more attention to making it useful and more exciting for their customers. With its links to Salesforce, Heroku cleverly keeps customers in the know about the products and services that are relevant to them.
All these aspects make Heroku a key player in the world of technology and marketing.