Intuit Evolves Beyond Packaged SoftwareBy Carolyn April | Print
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The personal finance software maker jumped on the software-as-a-service bandwagon with the Intuit Partner Platform, a cloud-based platform that serves up its applications and those from third-party partners to small business customers.
Intuit has come a long way from the days of shrink-wrapped QuickBooks. Last October, the personal finance software maker jumped on the software-as-a-service bandwagon with the Intuit Partner Platform, a cloud-based platform that serves up its applications and those from third-party partners to small business customers.
The company also unveiled Federated Applications, a native stack of tools for developers who want to make their existing applications, written on another platform, available via the Intuit Partner Platform. By federating the applications, developers can integrate their applications into the Intuit platform without having to rewrite all their software code, according to Alex Barnett, group manager of developer relations at Intuit.
Finally, this week Intuit launched an open-source community site, code.intuit.com, where it provides infrastructure and a hosting service for open-source projects to be built and collaborated on by developers.
"We want to provide really great services that solve real business
problems," Barnett said. "We have our own solutions but we are also
partnering to bring applications to market and we need to make sure we
can be as broad of a tent as possible and a great experience for
Intuit’s goal with its SAAS platform is much more modest than a company such as Apple has for its applications store, Barnett said. Intuit's looking to be highly targeted and host applications that meet specific needs of a small business, defined by Intuit as companies with fewer than 500 employees.
The company has 30 applications available as a service from third-party partners today, and would like to get that number into the "hundreds," Barnett said.
"If a developer has a great idea to solve small business problem,
they can go ahead and build from scratch on our platform or federate to
us," he said. "We have open arms."
One of the hallmarks of the Intuit Partner Platform is that customers have single sign-on capabilities to any of the applications they choose to subscribe to as a service. Many customers combine applications such as CRM with e-mail or an accounting solution, he said. Also, when a customer changes data in one application, such as a mailing database update, that data change is propagated automatically to all the other application services they are using, he said.
From a business model perspective, Intuit bills the customer on a monthly basis and then funnels a percentage of the revenue back to the third-party partner in a revenue-sharing agreement.
"Customers are demanding more and more connectivity between the
solutions they work with," he said. "We want to provide a foundational