June 03, 2009, 12:14 PM — Intuit will enable software developers to make applications available to small businesses via a capability being added to its Intuit Partner Program.
The platform-as-a-service offering is called Federated Applications. Developers can write applications in any programming language and connect them to Intuit Partner Platform without any lock-in, Intuit said. The Intuit program could rival the Salesforce.com AppExchange platform, which also features software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based applications.
Small businesses, the company said, are using SaaS for application needs but often face challenges such as maintaining multiple logons and entering the same data several times. As an alternative, Intuit offers the opportunity to use connected Web applications.
Intuit delivers federated applications through the company's online portal, Federated Workplace. Applications can be accessed using a single user name and password.
"Small businesses simply want the best products available that solve their problems, save them time and money, and help them grow their business -- and they want those products to work together," said Alex Chriss, business leader for the Intuit Partner Platform, in a statement released by the company. "By opening our platform to all developers and technologies, we're helping solve small businesses' most critical needs under one unified and seamlessly connected ecosystem."
Through Federated Applications, Web applications are published to Intuit Workplace and marketed to nearly 25 million employees in small businesses that use QuickBooks. Developers can configure applications to work on the Intuit PaaS without having to rewrite them. Integration points are offered for data, login, user management and permissions, and navigation.
Developers define their pricing plan when packaging an application for Intuit Workplace. Applications now available include the following:
- VerticalResponse for Intuit Workplace, providing sales and marketing tools and accounting capabilities for QuickBooks
- Dimdim, for Web conferencing
- Rypple, for getting feedback from colleagues, clients, and advisors
- Setster, for online calendaring and appointment books
- ExpenseWare, for automating travel and entertainment expenses
Free trials are available for the applications.