Intuit Developers Network: Why Programming for QuickBooks Is HOT

Creating an ecosystem of independent software programmers who can create add-on software to extend the features and usability for their core products is important to software companies.

Shannon Adkins, group manager for the Intuit Developer Network and QuickBooks Solutions Marketplace gives us some more insight into what’s going on with Intuit’s QuickBooks Solutions Marketplace.
The number of developers and add-ons for a product, is one indication of how popular the product is. A developer is not going to spend her time creating a program for a program that has 10 users! She wants to create software for a product with a sizable number of users.

When Intuit launched the QuickBooks Solutions Marketplace as part of the Intuit Developer Network (IDN) in November 2001, it offered 60 software applications that integrate with QuickBooks.
Today, the Marketplace offers more than 400 solutions that solve critical industry-specific and unique small business needs such as:
Staff scheduling, estimates and bidding, and property management tools for business owners in health care, construction and real estate
Electronic document management tools to unite QuickBooks transactions to business documents, making it simpler to file, share and locate documents
At the heart of the IDN are the nearly 12,000 active developers who make the plethora of Marketplace applications a reality. Intuit helps this community of independent software developers be successful with a variety of support that helps them test their products and attract more than three million small business to the Marketplace each year.
Here’s my interview with Adkins:
60 to 400 software applications – what a jump. Why are more developers writing for Quickbooks?
We launched the program in 2002 with 60 packaged applications available to customers on the QuickBooks Solutions Marketplace, and have seen a steady increase since that time. The most compelling reason for a software developer to integrate with QuickBooks is the market opportunity. As the market share leader for small business software solutions, we offer third party software developers with a rich market in which they can create and market applications that solve important customer jobs, and extend the power of QuickBooks. Within our developer network, we have more than 15,000 active members.
Tell me about the developers – do they just write for IDN or do they write for other applications such as, stand alone Windows apps or etc
The developer profile is mixed. About 30 percent develop packaged software applications, about 30 percent consider themselves custom software developers, and about 30 percent consider themselves consultants. About 10 percent are in-house software developers. On average, they have been in business for 10 years with 40% of their business associated with QuickBooks. All other business management software combined, represent less than 10% of their business. Sixty percent expect their QuickBooks business to grow, and 38% expect it to stay the same in the coming years. Fifty-five percent are delivering some element of the solution via the web today, and a remaining 20% expect to do so within 2 years.
Do IDN members sell direct to customers are rely on the QB Marketplace to do the selling for them
We do not sell developer applications directly on behalf of our members. Rather, we provide an information site that helps end customers narrow their choices before approaching the software developer directly to complete the transaction. We drive more than 150,000 visitors to the Solutions Marketplace on a monthly basis, and in some cases deliver ëleads’ to our members in the form of traffic to their web site that exceed 1,000 visitors per month. Our best, most successful members leverage the Solutions Marketplace fully, but also pursue their own marketing efforts, such as trade shows, web and search engine marketing, and effective use of the channel.
qaIs there a market for custom developed QB apps or are most of the apps needed already developed and/or being developed
There is a market for custom developed apps. Most of our Custom Software developers report that the average custom implementation for a QuickBooks customer is approximately $3500. The most common types of custom developer QB applications are:
Building custom reports
Inventory management
Integrating QB with legacy app
Order management software