Magazine article CRM Magazine

Vendors Grow Their Partner Ecosystems: The Integrated Cloud App Platform Will Be a Top IT Trend for 2013

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Vendors Grow Their Partner Ecosystems: The Integrated Cloud App Platform Will Be a Top IT Trend for 2013

Article excerpt

Enterprise business application markets are booming. The growth of the integrated application marketplace, such as Salesforce.com's AppExchange--which at press time included 1,739 apps created by third-party developers and partners--has led Gartner to identify the enterprise ecosystem as one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013.

Gartner predicts that app stores will facilitate 70 billion downloads of mobile apps per year by 2014. While most are consumer-driven today, the market for enterprise apps will gain momentum as well, according to Gartner.

"With enterprise app stores, the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support entrepreneurs," according to Gartner's predictions for 2013. "Enterprises should use a managed diversity approach to focus on app store efforts and segment apps by risk and value."

Many CRM vendors already have enterprise application marketplaces, with software delivered in the cloud. Gartner says the resulting robust ecosystem is a draw for independent software developers. In addition to cloud-based marketplaces from Salesforce.com and Microsoft, SAP is building a partner ecosystem using a set of open application programming interfaces (APIs) for its Sales OnDemand application.

One of the newest entries in the business apps space is social collaboration tools provider Yammer, which was recently acquired by Microsoft. Yammer deployed an App Directory, featuring third-party applications that make it easy for enterprise users to discover and install apps that have already been approved by Yammer. NetSuite's SuiteApp directory offers customers a venue to search reviews, try out solutions, and ultimately buy SuiteApps that integrate with and enhance NetSuite solutions. Social marketing platform HootSuite hosts a spate of partner extensions and applications from partners--including Get Satisfaction, Reddit, and Zendesk--enabling users to build a customized social dashboard.

Vendors and developers interested in hosting or joining a third-party app marketplace have plenty of opportunities. The market is currently in "a phase of rapid innovation, with plenty of best-of-breed, purpose-built solutions," according to Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research. …

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