Last week we submitted free versions of Instant Consulting Practice and Instant Legal Practice to the marketplace as a soft launch with no advertising other than this blog. For the next few weeks we will continue to give the basic apps away while we shake out the problems found by real users. This post is about what we learned technically and our experience with the marketplace.
Office 365 App Marketplace Stats
At the moment the listings are for English US which limits our target market a bit. The apps are new they aren’t on the first page of the store and so we had pretty low expectations for the first week. We were pleasantly surprised. According to the seller dashboard we had a total of 42 installations and 1341 browser hits and a review.
As expected, the Instant Consulting Practice had more downloads, but we were contacted by three organizations this week and two of them were small law firms. It seems our market research was valid and there are enough people looking at the store that we are getting views in spite of not being on the front page.
Most of the functionality of these apps is implemented on our servers. Since we generally don’t know who are customers are and don’t store any personally identifiable information, it is important that we have some decent analytics to understand usage and identify problems.
Of the organizations that tried the app, 20% used it more than once and most of them have used the app they downloaded several times. We figure that we have around a dozen active users after one week.
Unfortunately, 20% of the organizations that tried to install the apps did something we didn’t test for and their installations failed! Most of those who experienced the error did not try again.
Unfortunately, the big bug that affected the ~20% of installations that failed occurs when you attempt to install the app on a subsite instead of the root site of a site collection. Fixing this requires more permission than the original app packages have, but we identified the problem and implemented a fix. Because this affects the apps permissions we must repeat the app validation process with Microsoft to update the apps and prevent the problem from recurring in the future.
All in all, a great first week!