The vision: every developer a SaaS vendor

Salesforce's Heroku unit to sell and host third-party developers' Salesforce add-ons.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Great developers aren't necessarily great marketers, so one cloud vendor is offering to provide all the services that will help get applications out to enterprises, app store style. 

Part of this vision is helping all developers become a Software-as-a-Service provider in their own right. That's the goal of Salesforce.com's Heroku unit, as recently explained by InformationWeek's Charles Babcock. The service seeks to provide developers with the online tools to quickly have add-on applications for Salesforce up and running. Heroku itself runs on the Amazon Web Services cloud. 

Heroku now offers 85 services from its hosting environment, Oren Teich, COO of Heroku, is quoted as saying, with another 80 in the pipeline. The company seeks to support developers' offerings with a new billing system that tracks add-on usage, then bills the user. Checks will be sent out at the end of the month.

Babcock describes how the interaction takes place:

"Heroku will ask add-on service producers to submit information about their code so the company can present it to potential customers. From long experience with developers using its platform, Heroku knows how to seek specific information about a new service's distinguishing features. In addition to listing different fee plans, Heroku also plans avoid what Teich calls a 'common stumbling block in offering SaaS' by describing each plan thoroughly enough for potential customers to understand the differences between them."

This is another step toward the evolution of networks of "MicroISVs" providing services and apps consumed by both individual users and enterprises. Increasingly, the technology space is fragmenting into entrepreneurial-driven service providers who are providing software through a variety of online channels. This is a good thing, it means more competition and choices. 

For a technical evaluation of Heroku, check out Jorge Hidalgo's (Dr. MacPhail) review here.

(Thumbnail photo: US Bureau of Labor Statistics.)


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