Bringing an Add-on to Market
Last updated 26 May 2017
Table of Contents
For more information on the benefits of becoming an add-on partner, see the Heroku Ecosystem Partner Program page.
Add-on release stages
Every add-on progresses through three release stages: alpha, beta, and general availability (GA). As your add-on meets the requirements for each stage and advances, it becomes visible to a wider audience. Upon reaching GA, it can offer paid plans to Heroku customers.
|Release stage||Can offer paid plans||Visible in Elements Marketplace||Requires partner support|
All add-ons start in alpha. While in this stage, add-ons are still in initial development, and they have no feature or support requirements. They do not appear in the Elements Marketplace or in search results.
An alpha add-on is accessible only to its developers and to individuals that are explicitly granted access. These individuals might include internal testers or early adopters that you’ve invited in order to gather user feedback. Alpha users test your add-on by installing the free “Test” add-on plan, which is the only plan allowed during this stage.
Advancing to beta
Before your alpha add-on can proceed to beta, you need to complete the following set of tasks, mostly in the Heroku Partner Portal:
- Test the add-on with a minimum of 10 alpha users*
- Create documentation for the add-on and submit it for approval
- Provide your company’s details, including business, engineering, and contact information
- Provide a name and product icons for the add-on
- Prepare screenshots for the add-on’s marketplace listing
- Describe the add-on’s benefits (see below)
- Describe the add-on’s features (see below)
*You can obtain your add-on’s current user count with the Add-On App Info API.
After your add-on’s Dev Center documentation is approved, complete the add-on state progression intake form and submit it for review. These submissions are reviewed and processed twice per month, on the 15th and 30th of each month. If these dates fall on a weekend or US holiday, it will be reviewed on the next business day.
On the Benefits page of the Partner Portal, describe in moderate detail what your add-on provides to Heroku customers. This content appears as prominent paragraphs on your add-on’s marketplace page.
For example, the Heroku Postgres add-on specifies two benefits: “Connect, Use, and Develop” and “Scale and Grow”:
You specify your add-on’s features on the Features page of the Partner Portal. This feature list should at least include every aspect of your add-on that might differ across different plans. For example, Heroku Postgres lists items such as “RAM”, “Row Limit”, and “Connection Limit”, all of which differ across plans:
When an add-on reaches the beta stage, it is listed publicly in the Heroku Elements Marketplace (with a “BETA” label), and all Heroku customers can provision it.
Like alpha add-ons, beta add-ons have a single, free plan called “Test.” The beta stage provides the opportunity for you to gather insights and feedback from a larger collection of customers. Use this information to make any improvements or changes to your add-on before submitting it for advancement to GA.
Unlike alpha add-ons, beta add-ons must provide timely support. Beta add-on partners gain access to the Heroku support dashboard and must address customer support tickets that are assigned to the partner.
Partners are expected to acknowledge and respond to all Heroku customer tickets within 48 hours. Note that all issues are not expected to be resolved within this timeframe; technical issues can of course sometimes take significantly longer to address.
See Add-on Support for more information on support requirements.
Advancing to GA
Before your beta add-on can proceed to GA, you need to complete the following set of tasks:
- Test your add-on with a minimum of 100 active beta users*
- Ensure that your add-on is backed by production-ready infrastructure that can support thousands of paid customers
- Specify the details of free and paid plans for your add-on in the Partner Portal
*You can obtain your add-on’s current user count with the Add-On App Info API.
Additionally, needs to set up your supplier records to issue monthly payments when customers purchase your service. Please be prepared to submit the following information:
- The legal entity name of your business
- A primary contact name and related information (email and phone number)
Heroku uses these details to initiate the setup process with the Salesforce Vendor Management team. You communicate directly with this team to provide other required information for your company (business details, a W9 form, banking information, and so on).
When your beta add-on meets all requirements for advancement to GA, submit the add-on state progression intake form. These requests are reviewed and processed twice monthly, on the 15th and the 30th of each month. If one of these dates falls on a weekend or a US holiday, your request is reviewed on the first business day following the date.
General Availability stage (GA)
When your add-on reaches GA, the “BETA” tag is removed from its marketplace listing, and you can can offer multiple free and paid plans to Heroku customers.
After reaching GA, be sure to continue gathering product feedback and improving your service to meet your customers’ needs and drive additional adoption.
Add-on plans and pricing
Add-ons must define one or more associated plans before advancing from beta to GA. Each plan can specify a different price (including free), along with a different set of available features and usage thresholds.
Add-ons are priced in monthly, flat-rate tiers. Heroku bills customers by the calendar month, and add-on billing is prorated according to the amount of time a particular plan was active during the month.
Heroku does not currently support usage-based billing. Enforcement of any plan-specified usage thresholds is the responsibility of the add-on.
Commonly, add-ons with usage thresholds respond with a
402 HTTP status code when a customer attempts to take an action that would exceed their current plan’s associated threshold.
Modifying add-on plans
At some point after your add-on reaches GA, you might want to modify your available plans to better serve your customers’ needs. Any such modifications must be approved by Heroku before they are widely available.
Adding and removing plans
You create new add-on plans in the Partner Portal. Newly added plans must be approved by Heroku before they are visible in the marketplace. You can approve individual accounts to test out a new plan while you are awaiting approval.
Plan removals must also be processed and approved by Heroku. After a plan is removed, customers can no longer provision it. However, customers that already have the removed plan can remain on that plan until they change it themselves or remove the add-on altogether.
Complete the add-on plan change request intake form to provide more details regarding your add-on plan change request. These requests are reviewed and processed twice per month, on the 15th and 30th of each month. If these dates fall on a weekend or US holiday, it will be reviewed on the next business day.
Changing plan prices
Price change requests in the partner portal are a beta feature.
All add-on plan price changes must be approved by Heroku. To request a price change, submit your request in the Plans section of the partner portal.
- Navigate to “Plans” in the partner portal.
- Select desired add-on plan that you would like to reprice by clicking on the plan slug or plan name.
- Click the “Request Price Change” button to enter new price
- Enter new price desired for this plan
- Click “Submit Change” button
Price change behavior
Price change requests are reviewed and processed twice monthly, on the 15th and the 30th of each month. If one of these dates falls on a weekend or a US holiday, your request is reviewed on the first business day following the date.
The behavior of a plan price change differs depending on whether you are decreasing or increasing a price:
When a plan price is decreased, the new price goes into effect for all customers with the associated plan as soon as Heroku approves the change.
When a plan price is increased, you choose whether the new price should affect existing customers with the associated plan, in addition to new customers. Heroku encourages add-on partners not to increase a plan’s price for existing customers. If you do choose to increase a plan price for existing customers, the increase does not go into effect any earlier than the next billing cycle. Even then, Heroku reserves the right to ensure sufficient notice is given to affected customers before approving the increase.
Shutting down an add-on
In the event that you need to discontinue support for an add-on, please complete the add-on shutdown intake form to begin the shutdown process.
Add-on shutdown requests are reviewed twice per month, on the 15th and 30th of each month. If one of these dates falls on a weekend or a US holiday, your request is reviewed on the first business day following the date.
Below are the high-level steps of the add-on shutdown process for your reference:
- Add-on partner submits the add-on shutdown intake form
- Add-on partner fills out an add-on shutdown FAQ
- Heroku schedules a call with the add-on partner to review the FAQ and discuss shutdown details
- Heroku sends three customer communications regarding the shutdown, with the first being sent 60 days prior to the desired shutdown date
- Heroku removes all installations of the add-on from all Heroku apps