Following a path laid out by companies such as Salesforce.com, risk-compliance software vendor Archer Technologies is opening up the Archer Exchange, an online marketplace and community site for applications built with its development framework, SmartSuite.
While Archer is primarily known for applications centered around risk and compliance, customers began to find the framework was suitable for developing other types of programs as well, such as customer relationship management (CRM), said Archer CEO Jon Darbyshire.
"Now we're going to the CIO," he said. "The IT group has started to see they can use this for things besides compliance."
The exchange, launching Monday, had been in beta for roughly a month with more than 1,000 registered users kicking the tires, according to Darbyshire.
Archer charges customers US$8,000 per on-demand application license, which has no user limit. Quantity discounts are available, and customers can test an application in nonproduction form before committing it to a paid license. Customers who develop custom applications for the exchange can charge a separate royalty fee if they desire.
Anything that goes on the site -- which has clear echoes of Salesforce's AppExchange -- must first pass a "200-point" certification process, according to Darbyshire.
In addition to registered users, a group of about 10 workers at Archer is now focused on talking to customers and building applications they'd like to see, he said.
Beyond the applications, the Archer Exchange site has departments for certified consultants, data integration needs and third-party providers of specialized content.
The service will have 60 applications when it goes live Monday, according to Darbyshire, who predicted that figure will grow to 150 within six to eight months. "We're just being inundated by our customers with things they want to publish on the exchange."
Jeff Jenkins, vice president of information security governance and compliance at First American Corp., said his company, a large financial services provider, is an existing user of Archer's platform.
While the platform doesn't require heavy-duty programming skills, it delivers real functionality, he said. "The program is so flexible, we've kind of been fighting the good problem of holding back the reins."
Jenkins called the exchange "a particularly interesting concept."
"You can almost get lost sitting around thinking of ideas and how to do them. It's nice to have a sounding board of other customers to bounce ideas off of," he said.
First American plans to begin putting up its custom modules on the site, and the notion of garnering some royalty money from the applications is appealing, Jenkins said. "Given the time and effort we spend building something in Archer, it would be nice to recoup some of that effort."