In the world of cloud computing, some very innovative offerings have flown under the hype radar. An example of this is Intuit's launch of an open source community for developers interested in creating online applications. In essence, it's a community for building and deploying cloud-based software for fun and/or profit, aimed at the small business.
The reality is that SaaS, while being widely adopted now by the larger enterprises and governments, had initial success within the world of small business. If you can't afford a datacenter or even a few servers, SaaS was a logical option, and guys like Intuit, Salesforce.com, and other older SaaS players had their initial success within small business. Indeed, cloud computing today, while on the lips of almost every Global 2000 company and most government agencies, is finding the most success within small business where the value is almost always there.
The Intuit community allows developers to work with Intuit and others to build and deploy SaaS applications for small business. The platform's Federated Application capability allows developers to write applications using any programming language.
After you get the application up and running and place it on an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider, you can connect them to the Intuit Partner Platform and market them to Intuit's small-business customers. It's pretty cool and a win/win, considering that Intuit will have ready access to a number of innovative on-demand applications that it can rent out, and the developers will have access to an active channel.
The larger trend here is the leveling of the playing field for those that have a good idea, but not the capital fund of an R&D and marketing team. The cloud computing concept not only provides access to free, or almost free, development and deployment infrastructure, but the ability to market and distribute those applications as well.
This is not the first of this type of program, and I suspect that more will appear, driving the number of innovative applications up and the cost of those applications down. It sounds like a good idea to me, and it shows the real power of cloud computing.
- Intuit's open source play is all business
Intuit open-sources components that help partners develop against the Intuit closed source platform more rapidly and effectively